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P&G to stop selling badger hair brushes on cruelty concerns

[NEW YORK] Procter & Gamble Co has agreed to stop selling badger hair brushes because of concerns about animal abuse by suppliers in China.

P&G will immediately stop using badger hair in its Art of Shaving business, which will sell its remaining inventory of shave brushes and switch to synthetic bristles. Most high-end shaving brushes are currently made from varying grades of badger hair.

"While we have no evidence that any of our suppliers are engaging in these types of methods, we believe we can play a role in helping to stop such practices," Scott Heid, a spokesman for P&G, said in a statement Wednesday. "In addition, while we finish selling our existing inventory of shaving brushes, we will accelerate our efforts to develop even better alternatives for the future."

The activist group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals investigated badger-hair farms and brush factories in Shijiazhuang, China, and shared its findings with P&G in August. Videos taken by PETA, reviewed by Bloomberg, show badgers being beaten over the head and having their throats cut.

The Art of Shaving, acquired by P&G in 2009, sells high-end men's grooming products, from US$300 straight razors to US$22 hair gel, at more than 100 stores across the US and on its online shop. US$250 Silvertip badger hair brushes are listed as one of the best-selling products on its website.

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Luxury companies have been slowly moving away from animal furs, hairs and hides in recent years. Over the past eight months, upscale fashion labels Burberry, Versace, Tom Ford and Maison Margiela each committed to stop using fur in their collections, joining brands like Hugo Boss, Armani and Stella McCartney.

Most commercial badger hair comes from China, as a result of animal protections elsewhere. Brush-making hair was excluded from the US list of tariffs on Chinese goods set to be levied on Sept 24.


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