European Commission votes to ban dog & cat fur
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 2006:
Brussels–The European Commission on November 20 adopted a
proposal to ban the import, export, and sale of cat and dog fur
throughout the European Union.
“The draft regulation will now be considered by the European
Parliament and the Council of Ministers for adoption by the
co-decision procedure,” explained the EC announcement.
“There is evidence that cat and dog fur is being placed on
the European market, usually undeclared as such or disguised as
synthetic and other types of fur,” the EC announcement summarized.
“The vast majority of the cat and dog fur is believed to be imported
from third countries, notably China.”
Fifteen of the 25 EU member nations have already individually
introduced legislation against cat and dog fur. “The proposed
regulation adopted today addresses EU citizens concerns, and creates
a harmonized approach,” the EC announcement stipulated. “It also
establishes a system of information exchange on the detection of cat
and dog fur.”
“The Commission has been informed,” the EC announcement
added, “that such fur has been found not just on clothing, but also
on a number of personal accessories, as well as children’s soft
“Just the idea of young children playing with toys which have
been made with dog and cat fur is really something we cannot accept,”
European Consumer Protection Commissioner Markos Kyprianou said.
“Kyprianou stopped short of calling for every product containing fur
to have a label detailing its exact origin,” wrote London Times
European correspondent David Charter, “because he said it would be
too punitive for producers of smaller, cheaper goods.
Both the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers had
asked the EC to draft a ban on cat and dog fur.
“As there is no practice of cat and dog fur production in the
EU,” the EC announcement asserted, contradicting some activist
allegations, “third country (especially Asian) imports are
considered to be the origin of such fur. Therefore, a complete ban
on the imports of cat and dog fur accompanied by a ban on
intra-Community trade in such fur will assure consumers that it will
no longer be sold anywhere in the EU.
“Enforcing this ban on cat and dog fur,” the EC acknowleged,
“will require good detection methods that can differentiate between
cat and dog fur and other fur, even when the fur is treated or dyed.
The proposed regulation states that Member States should regularly
exchange information on detection methods for cat and dog fur, and
share details of the tests which are most efficient, so that fur
imports and products on the market can be checked.”
“I think it will help. It’s a very important signal to the
Chinese government, and there’s no way they can’t notice it,” China
Small Animal Protection Association vice chair Zhang Dan told
Associated Press writer Alexa Oleson.
“Cat and dog fur is mainly used for lining gloves, and as
trim on boots and coats, as well as on keychains and to cover animal
toys,” Oleson wrote.
But Liu Ning, of the fur import/export firm Furshion in Hebei,
China, told Oleson that “Rabbit is the cheapest fur in China. If
they use cat or dog instead of rabbit, it doesn’t make sense. If the
European Union and Americans don’t like cat and dog fur and don’t use
it,” Liu Ning added, “then China won’t produce it. But if they use
it, there is a market.”
Liu Ning told Oleson that rabbit skins cost $1.00 to $4.00 in
China, cat pelts sell for about $2.00, and dog pelts go for about
“For many years the European fur trade has not traded in cat and dog
fur,” an International Fur Trade Federation spokesperson told
Charter, of The Times. “In 2002 our members signed a voluntary
agreement not to trade in dog and cat fur.”
However, Liu Ning acknowledged that “Often, cat or dog fur
is dyed and passed off as more expensive fur,” Oleson wrote.
Dog and cat fur clothing “has been found on sale in EU countries
including Italy, France, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic,
and Germany,” recalled Charter. “A BBC documentary featuring Lady
Heather Mills McCartney found that fur trimmings on sale at market
stalls along Oxford Street in London were made from dog and cat
Lady McCartney has twice visited the European Parliament to
campaign for the ban proposed by the EC.