Faux No: When Fake Fur Isn’t


Raccoon dogs are bred, tortured, smashed to the ground and skinned alive in China. The unspeakable methods used amount to animal abuse in the most inconceivable way possible and you might be unwittingly endorsing it by simply buying a so-called faux fur jacket at Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Burlington Coat Factory and dozens of other stores that simply ignore the Federal Fur Products Labeling Act.


It seems it’s easy for retailers to slide by the labeling clauses of the act, despite the fact unsuspecting buyers might be opposed to the slaughter, not to mention allergic to animal fur.


This has prompted at least one California leader to take action to change the system. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, has followed in the footsteps of New York and four other states by introducing a law requiring  “conspicuous” labeling of all garments that include real fur. Ma announced the measure at a news conference joined by  Pierre Grzybowski of the Human Society’s Fur-Free Campaign.

small fiona

Grzybowski says China’s lax animal welfare laws allow raccoon dogs to be raised by the millions and skinned alive and the fur is rarely disclosed on labels. He also paraded jackets, boots and other items purchased at Bay Area stores that contained rabbit and raccoon dog fur not listed on the labels.

The Humane Society fights against loopholes in existing laws which allow jackets trimmed with $150 worth of fur to be sold without labels. Since animal fur is often sheared and dyed to resemble synthetic coats, consumers are essentially being tricked into buying the real thing.

The need for labeling is clear, since we have no idea what we are getting from even the ritziest stores. For example, last summer, Neiman Marcus was caught misrepresenting a pair of Manolo Blahnik $1,495 boots – which it had advertised as “natural ocelot fur” – an endangered wildcat. Turns out the boots were actually common goat fur patterned with ocelot markings. If it had been ocelot it would have been a crime. Was it a crime that it was goat? Not yet.

Labels on clothes are as valuable as labels on food, which help consumers make choices for themselves. And the campaigns and state laws are moving retailers to shun fur all together. Among them is Overstock.com, which boasts revenues exceeding $700 million. It became the 100th on the Fur Free list of retailers and designers to commit to a no-fur policy.

Image: Jeremy Barwick, All Creatures; Democrats.Assembly

Image by: mandydale

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.