Humane Society battles against loophole in faux-fur laws

Caroline Laska

The Humane Society of the United States is continuing its ongoing investigation against the fashion industry after discovering that many coats included dog fur.

In January, the society conducted tests on more than 25 fur-collared coats. Twenty-four of the 25 tested positive for dog fur.

The Humane Society is proposing a bill, which will require proper labeling.

“There are loopholes in the fur trade industry,” Anti-fur Campaign Manager Kristen Leppert said. “China found a way to send over raccoon dog fur-collared coats without proper labeling. The trend then flourished, and it needs to be stopped.”

According to the society’s Web site, a loophole in the existing law allows a jacket trimmed with $150 worth of fur to be sold without a label. Animal fur is often sheared and dyed to look fake, and an unsuspecting consumer who thinks they are buying faux fur could actually be purchasing animal fur.

“We are hoping Congress will act swiftly on our new proposed bill,” Leppert said. “The way these animals are treated is cruel and very unnecessary.”

The new bill would protect raccoon dogs, according to the society’s Web site, as well as discourage manufacturers who might think they can slip dog and cat fur into unlabeled jackets. The new bill would require all fur garments to be labeled, and it would close the loophole in the Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951.

The Humane Society has found some of the biggest names in fashion selling mislabeled raccoon dog fur trim on jackets. The investigation also turned up coats with domesticated dog fur.

According to the Humane Society Web site, the investigation found mislabeled coats being sold by retailers and brand names — including Burlington Coat Factory, Macy’s, Dillard’s, D.E.M.O, DKNY, Lord and Taylor, Ross, Rocawear, Baby Phat, Tommy Hilfiger, Neiman Marcus and J.C. Penney.

“People have the right to know what they are buying, whether they are for or against fur,” Leppert said.

Contact social services reporter Caroline Laska at [email protected].