Asos, Marks & Spencer (M&S) and Next have become the latest retailers to halt production of angora products after an investigation by animal rights group PETA exposed "shocking" conditions in the industry.

As well as a ban on angora, online fashion retailer Asos has also removed from sale all products made with the fibre. 

In a statement sent to just-style today (16 December), Asos said it "will remove all Asos and third party-branded product that fails to meet the policy and no new orders will be raised containing angora or other rabbit hair". 

"Asos requires its suppliers to implement industry recognised best practice standards to ensure animal welfare is safeguarded at all times, and is committed to working closely with our suppliers to source alternative materials," the company noted. 

PETA UK associate director Mimi Bekhechi, praised the online fashion retailer, saying: "Asos has done the right thing for animals and consumers."

"Angora production is cruel, and PETA urges all retailers to follow Asos' example and show that cruelty to animals has no place in their stores."

However, M&S, H&M and Next are criticised by activists for continuing to sell off their current stocks containing angora, arguing that if they were truly committed to ethical and responsible business they would remove any angora from their inventories.

The move comes after video footage taken by the animal rights group in China, where 90% of the world's angora fur is sourced, showed rabbits having their fur ripped out or being injured while the fur was cut or sheared.

M&S, meanwhile, has said it is committed to the responsible sourcing of raw materials, including angora wool.

"Our animal welfare policy does not allow for any live plucking or tethering in our supply chain and we believe that it is being adhered to across the angora farms from which we source," a spokesperson for M&S said.

"We are now carrying out additional visits to these farms to be absolutely sure that this is the case. Also we will not place any further orders with our suppliers for products containing angora wool until we have concluded these visits and reviewed the findings."

Last week, Topshop instructed its suppliers to halt the sourcing of product containing angora fibre while it investigates alternatives. 

Similar moves have also been adopted by Hong Kong-based Esprit, Swedish fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), and IC Companys

Esprit said it does not accept methods such as live plucking within its production. H&M immediately stopped the production of all angora products, while IC Companys' has imposed a ban on the fibre starting with its summer 2014 collection.

Gap Inc, however, has been criticised for failing to take action, and according to PETA "will bear the brunt of their soon-to-be-ex-customers' anger." The clothing retailer has not yet responded to requests for comment.