Washington: The Humane Society of the United States is reporting that it purchased coats from upscale stores such as Nordstrom, or online stores such as Tommy Hilfiger’s ShopTommy.com and Andrew Marc’s MARC New York, sold on Bluefly.com, and found out that the coats contained fur from domesticated dogs. Other coats contained fur from raccoon dogs, which are a species native to Asia. In one case, wolf fur was found. All the coats were advertised as containing only faux, or fake, fur.
Further investigation revealed that most of the fur originated from China.
The Humane Society’s investigation began after it received an anonymous tip from someone who bought a supposedly faux fur coat that felt like real fur. Kristin Leppert, head of The Humane Society’s anti-fur campaign, began buying coats from various upscale and brand-name stores. She and her team then sent samples of the “faux” fur to a mass spectrometry lab for protein mass and sequence analysis.
Test results indicated that many of the coats had been mislabeled, and contained dog fur trim.
The retailers responded immediately. Hilfiger stopped all further sales of its faux fur coats, pending full investigation of the matter. Nordstrom called many of its recent customers who had purchased faux fur vests, inviting them to return the vests for a full refund. Nordstrom also announced that it had stopped conducting business with the vendor that sold those vests.
Andrew Marc disagreed with The Humane Society findings, putting forth a statement that the faux fur in its coats was really fake fur. Furthermore, any fur marked as raccoon was not raccoon dog but actual raccoon, which had been farm-raised in Finland.
The Humane Society has not recanted its research findings, however. The Society was also quite pleased with the quick response time of the merchants, mentioning that many clothiers, like their customers, are fooled by fraudulent fur vendors.
Importing and selling of either dog or cat fur were federally outlawed in 2000, with punishments going up to a $10,000 fine for each violation. The trafficking of raccoon dog fur is not currently illegal, though animal right activists contend that raccoon dogs are a type of dog too.
This latest development comes on the heels of the Christmas 2006 investigations into J.C. Penney and Macy’s faux fur coats, which were also discovered to contain dog and raccoon dog fur. While Macy’s removed its coats from stock immediately, J.C. Penney initially complied, but then had employees blot out the labels of the coats with magic marker and re-stock the coats.
Burlington Coat Factory also was investigated, ending up with the store removing many of its mislabeled coats. Even rappers Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jay-Z, once
investigated, were found to be selling coats with raccoon dog fur. Both rappers immediately removed the offending coats from their Sean John and Rocawear stock.
The Humane Society estimates that over 2 million cats and dogs are killed for their fur annually, with the furriers operating mostly out of China and southeast Asia. Animals bred for their fur usually live in squalor, and are often skinned while still alive.
Sources: Cat and Dog Fur Facts http://www.idausa.org/facts/catdogfur.html
Is Your Coat Fur Fake, or is it Fido? http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070223/ap_on_re_us/dog_fur