PETA submitted a complaint today to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pointing out that the Sustainable Fibre Alliance (SFA)—whose member companies include Burberry, J.Crew, and Madewell—is misleading consumers with its Cashmere Standard certification, which, despite claiming to “ensure the welfare of goats,” allows for many cruel industry-standard practices, including castrating goats, pulling out their hair with sharp metal combs, and slaughtering them. The complaint follows a recent PETA Asia investigation into cashmere operations in Mongolia, which revealed rampant cruelty—including by SFA-certified producers.

In the complaint, PETA notes that animal welfare experts at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Australia have called removing goats’ hair with sharp metal combs “a prolonged procedure that can lead to bruising and skin injuries, and cause unnecessary and extended pain, suffering and distress in goats.” The SFA’s current standard also doesn’t require pain relief for castration or injuries that occur during combing; allows for the slaughter of goats no longer desired for cashmere production, including kid goats; considers treating animals “humanely” prior to slaughter a recommendation, not a requirement, for goats and kids who aren’t needed for fiber production or breeding purposes; and permits blunt-force trauma to be used to stun goats prior to slaughter. Producers aren’t even required to comply with all the so-called “best practice” guidelines in order to become or remain SFA-certified.

“If consumers knew how goats suffer as they’re pinned down while workers painfully tear out their hair and bash them over the head before they’re slaughtered, they’d never touch cashmere,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging the FTC to prevent the Sustainable Fibre Alliance from duping consumers with misleading labels.”

A PETA Asia investigation documented that goats screamed in pain and terror as they were pinned down while workers pulled out their hair with sharp metal combs. Credit: PETA

PETA Asia’s investigation into cashmere operations included SFA-certified producers Khanbogd Cashmere LLC and ULEMJ Cashmere LLC, which both claim to be leading cashmere suppliers in Mongolia. Goats used for cashmere by these operations were pinned down by their legs and horns as herders pulled out their hair. The investigation also found a dead adult goat, a goat who was left to suffer from a bleeding wound, and workers who pulled off skin along with goats’ hair.

PETA’s complaint asks the FTC to require that the SFA remove all misleading claims from its marketing and issue corrective statements that reveal how the animals at its certified operations are actually treated.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

The post Buyer, Beware! Misleading ‘Animal Welfare’ Claims by Sustainable Fibre Alliance Prompt PETA Complaint to FTC appeared first on PETA.

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