The National Council of SPCAs (NSPCA) has filed cruelty-to-animals charges against four angora goat farmers in South Africa, following an exposé of the industry.
The South African Police Service must now investigate the farmers – along with shearers and other farm workers – and will then submit the case to the national prosecutor.
The charges follow video footage collected by vegan charity PETA, which shows workers 'dragging goats by the horns and legs and lifting them off the floor by the tail... one worker could be seen slowly cutting the throats of fully conscious goats with a dull knife and then breaking their necks, hacking off one animal's head'.
PETA Director, Elisa Allen, said: "For the first time, charges have been filed against mohair-industry workers for cruelly handling and slowly killing panicked goats.
"PETA is calling on shoppers worldwide to reject cruelty to animals, and that includes never buying mohair, fleece, or fur."
Footage from PETA's investigation
According to PETA: "Each year, the mohair, cashmere, down, and silk industries exploit countless goats, geese, ducks, and silkworms, causing these sentient beings unnecessary pain and suffering.
"PETA revealed that angora goats reared for the mohair industry endured mutilation of their sensitive ears with tattoo pliers, which left them screaming in pain. Shearers – who are paid by volume, not by the hour – worked quickly and carelessly, leaving the animals cut and bleeding. Workers roughly stitched them up without giving them any pain relief."
Each of the alleged violations of South Africa's Animals Protection Act, 1962, is punishable by up to one year in prison and/or a fine of R4,000.