Caught Wearing An Aborted Lamb Fetus Karacul Hat!

karacul hat lamb fetusGreen Prophet’s founder (that’s me) caught on camera wearing a controversial karacul hat.

My husband’s people come from the Silk Road region of Tajikistan, where the elders pride themselves on wearing grey or black karacul hats. Football shaped, with soft fur, they give a man a look of distinction. On a recent outing to a flea market my husband stopped by a Bukharian clothes shop, where the owner had just brought back a pile of supplies form Tashkent. Upon finding a hat that reminded him of his grandfather, my husband immediately shelled out the $50 for the hat, and came home excited to show me. I put it on and he said I looked like a supermodel. Admittedly, I kind of felt like one, and started wondering where I could wear this hat. Until I read how it was made.

Feeling the “fur” of the hat, it seemed to be sheepskin, but a kind of animal skin I have never really felt before. Heading to Google I looked around using various word combinations and was aghast to learn that the hat is made from the fur of aborted lambs. The fact that the lambs are not permitted to be born gives the fur an extra “virgin” quality.

A Karakul (Qaraqul) hat (Urdu, Pashto, Persian: قراقلی) is also known as Jinnah Cap in Pakistan for its frequent use by the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Fox News reports on the problem with karacal hats back in 2002.

Shepherds in northern Afghanistan slaughter the mother and then remove the fetus, whose downy fur is incredibly smooth because it has never been exposed to the air or sun. Sometimes shepherds wait for the ewe to give birth before killing the lamb.

afghan sheep farmer

In defence, a local is quoted in the same story criticizing the way Americans slaughter and eat cows.

More info about these hats and the culture of them are needed. It would be strange to see PETA throwing paint on Afghanis wearing karacul hats, but wearing them certainly goes against PETA’s mission to safeguard animal rights.

In Afghanistan, for instance, where the karacul hat was in fashion, people have started to wear turbans instead to stop the unnecessary killing of fetal lambs according to one source I read (can’t find link).

But this could be a story where western values clash with traditional ones. Some questions I have about karacul hats remain unanswered. Unlike mink stoles, where the minks are bred just for fur, wouldn’t local Afghanis and those in the region eat the meat of the fetal lambs they kill? And if so, does it make karakul hats so bad? What should we do with the hat we now own? Should we keep it since it’s been bought, or should it be returned for the next fetal lamb fur buyer to make the faux pas?

Lower image of Afghan sheep farmer from Lizette Potgieter/Shutterstock

About Karin Kloosterman

Karin Kloosterman is an award-winning journalist and publisher that founded Green Prophet to change the world. She does not wear rose-colored glasses, but has shown through her work that positive, inspiring dialogue creates action that impacts people, business and planet.She has published in thought-leading newspapers and magazines globally, and has also founded flux (, a technology company to help people everywhere grow hyper-local, sustainable food. Through flux, she is the managing director of Mars Farm Odyssey (, a global impact network to grow food in space and on earth.Reach out directly to [email protected]

35 thoughts on “Caught Wearing An Aborted Lamb Fetus Karacul Hat!

  1. Leon

    Enjoy the hat, and think of it as a gift from your loving husband. I can understand if you choose to not purchase another, but you won’t be changing the past. (And it really looks quite nice on you!)

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  13. Annette Schaeffer

    Whoops… forgot to add the green thing! I used to wear a synthetic fleece cap from Patagonia in Russia (I’m in Russia volunteering to teach them how to be green – surprisingly, a lot of interest in that here) to stay warm and then recently switched to a shepherd-style karakul hat. It’s a lot warmer than the Patagonia cap and it is not made from petroleum. Yeah, sure, Patagonia likes to rap on about how their synthetic fleece is recycled from milk jugs or whatever but, hey, we all know that’s just pap for weak thinkers. Better not to get hooked on petroleum in the first place. Unlike petroleum, karakul is a renewable resource like nobody’s business. It’s true that sheep emit climate-changing gas when they, ahem, pass gas, but not remotely as much as cattle. So until we all go vegan you’re doing a favor for the climate but encouraging a shift from cattle to sheep, and doing your thing just like the Native Americans to not let even a little bit of that sheep get wasted. Be green! Wear karakul!

  14. Annette Schaeffer

    Unbelievably cruel to slaughter an animal in the womb? Ooops… you’re going to have to ask for your Obama donations back, unless, of course, you don’t consider humans to be “animals.” After all, we wouldn’t want to question a woman’s right to choose, true? That’s what my wonderfully upstanding guy Barack cited as his reason why he voted in the Illinois legislature to make it absolutely OK, not murder at all, for a physician to kill a newly born human infant by withholding care (such as keeping the infant warm and not allowing it to expire in a cold metal sink) if the baby was born alive after an attempted late-term abortion. Of course in civilized countries throughout the ages killing babies through exposure has always been regarded as infanticide, and in many civilized countries a physician has a special duty to save a human life when possible. Part of that oath they take or whatever. But not in Illinois and not in Barack’s book! So sure, keep the hat and wear it with pride. If you contribute money to people who think it’s just hunky dory to kill human kids just before birth or to commit infanticide by killing babies through exposure, well, what sort of hypocrite are you to ooze guilt over terminating a sheep pregnancy? By the way, in the case of your hat if it was fetal it would have cost more like $500, not $50, and it would have had far tighter and silkier curls. You have a typical low-quality, but perfectly useful, hat made from lambskin of Karakul lambs that are a few days old to a week or so old and are routinely slaughtered for meat production with the karakul sheepskin being a by-product. But you still can wear your hat to pro-Obama rallies with a sign “I support a woman’s right to ewes!”

  15. Jason Scott

    You have to remember that you aren’t slaughtering an animal in the womb. If these animals are being raised for slaughter then the Ewe is likely going to be slaughtered regardless. The unborn fetus probably wouldn’t survive outside of the womb at that time so it’s not like they are slaughtering it in the process and like you said, some of them allow the fetus to be born before hand, so what is more cruel, allowing the fetus to be born and then slaughtering it and it’s mother or slaughtering the Ewe ahead of time and sparing the fetus the anguish of being born only to be slaughtered?

  16. Bill Pickering

    Personally I don’t think it is anyone’s place on this planet to try and impose their personal morals, views or agendas on others. We are after all just animals, all subject to the laws of survival. People will do in their environment what it takes to survive.

    Having said that, I certainly wouldn’t buy a hat such as this and I don’t think it has anything to do with survival. I do wear leather shoes and boots and I don’t suppose the cow they came from walked down to the slaughter house of it’s own free will on my accord. I agree with Karin, we all use/abuse animals in some form or (Hat) fashion.

  17. Tinamarie Bernard

    If we were all humane, we wouldn’t use any animal products that caused death or suffering. I wonder how indigenous people who rely on animals for survival – say the Eskimos in Alaska – reconcile this. We could learn from them.

  18. Karin Kloosterman

    Most parts of the lifecycle processes that feed our modern way of life destroys nature -through processes we cannot see. It’s easy to look at an old custom and a hat, and criticize when individuals in the west, thanks to rampant consumerism, do much much worse than kill lamb fetuses for hats. Yes, hats off to us all…

  19. robyn

    Charles Waller is a person who would defend slavery because it’s tradition. Please get rid of this hat. It’s unbelievable that you would consider keeping it. I have a t shirt that reads “what kind of asshole eats a lamb?”. Of course, this hat requires a new saying: “What kind of fucking selfish person kills a mother and steals her unborn baby?”

    Please contact the Humane Society as they have a program where donated furs are given to orphaned babies. Do the right thing.

  20. Charles Waller

    I don’t see why you should have a problem with the hat. It reminds your husband of his grandfather. The animals are raised for slaughter. I don’t think there is anything inhumane about proper animal husbandry, and PETA can blankity blank. =)

      • suleman

        Dear Karen,Thank you for your comments. I am a customs officer, have just located a Karakul selling shop and am going to do my best to give the owners a taste of justice. Let no one try to distort our judgement by providing a counter argument. Truth, beauty and justice comes natural to us and a judgement call in any of these cases is not difficult. Cruelty, in any form is ugly and will remain so, no matter how many explanations are added to the basic fact (truth). Best wishes. Suleman


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