PETA Asia filmed on cashmere farms and in abattoirs in China and Mongolia - the two countries responsible for 90 percent of the world's cashmere production.
The footage shows workers holding down goats, who cry out in pain as their legs are bent and their hair is torn out with sharp metal combs. It also shows animals being hit on the head with a hammer, and having their throats slit in front of others.
H&M ditches conventional cashmere
According to H&M, it will stop placing orders on cashmere by the end of 2020 in a bid to tackle what it describes as the 'environmental and animal welfare challenges of sourcing cashmere'.
"If the cashmere industry in the future would meet our sustainability criteria, we could consider turning to virgin cashmere again," H&M said on its website.
"Besides our work to improve the industry, we will also continue to look at alternatives with an equally great feel and value to customers as cashmere, but with less environmental impacts."
Goats are abused in the cashmere industry
"H&M – the second-largest clothing retailer in the world – has agreed to ban 'conventional' cashmere (the only kind that it sells) as a result of the investigation," said PETA in a statement sent to Plant Based News. "ASOS had previously banned cashmere following discussions with PETA, and after being sent the findings of this new investigation, the company took the final step of removing all remaining cashmere stock from its website."
"Frightened goats' hair is torn out, and then the animals are hit with hammers and hacked to death – all to make cashmere jumpers and scarves," added PETA Director Elisa Allen. "PETA urges all retailers to follow H&M and ASOS in dropping cashmere and asks consumers to leave cruelly produced items on the rack."
PETA suggests that retailers and consumers opt for vegan, lower impact alternatives to cashmere and wool, including bamboo, Tencel, hemp, modal, viscose, organic cotton, and soy cashmere, which is a waste by-product of the production of soy foods.