HSUS catches major retailers selling dog fur

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 2007:
NEW YORK CITY–The Macy’s fashion store chain on December 22,
2006 withdrew from sale two styles of Sean John brand hooded jackets,
after mass spectrometry testing commissioned by the Humane Society of
the U.S. revealed that “imitation rabbit fur” and “faux fur” collars
were made from the fur of tanuki dogs, members of the domestic dog
family with raccoon-like markings, native to China and Korea.
“A Sean John snorkel jacket on sale for $237.99 at Macys.com
specifically identified the materials used as ‘Nylon/faux fur/goose
down,'” HSUS said. “When investigators purchased the coat, they
found that the labels read ‘Made in China’ and ‘genuine raccoon fur.'”

“I was completely unaware of the nature of this material. As
soon as we were alerted, the garments were pulled,” designer Sean
“Diddly” Combs said through publicist Hampton Carney. “I have
instructed our outerwear licensee to cease the production of any
garments using this material immediately.”
Macy’s “has a long-standing policy against selling any dog or cat
fur,” spokesperson Orlando Veras told Associated Press business
writer Anne D’Innocenzio.
“Other mass spectrometry tests on a range of fur-trimmed
jackets revealed that most of the jackets labeled as ‘raccoon’ or
‘coyote’ from China in fact contain fur from” tanuki, said an HSUS
media release. “Of ten garments tested, nine tested positive” as
mislabeled tanuki fur, a violation of the federal Fur Products
Labeling Act.
Retailers selling mislabeled tanuki included, besides
Macy’s, Burlington Coat Factory, Bloomingdale’s, J.C. Penney, and
Saks Fifth Avenue. Among the designers and clothing lines found to
be using mislabeled tanuki were Baby Phat, Andrew Marc, MaxMara,
and Calvin Klein.
Burlington Coat Factory on December 11, 2006 agreed to pull
misleading signage from stores nationwide, and make refunds to
customers who inadvertently bought “faux” fur jackets with internal
labels that identified them as “Raccoon Fur of China Origin,” not
possible since raccoons do not live in China, or “Genuine Coyote
Fur of China Origin,” not possible because coyotes do not live in
China. Jackals, close kin to coyotes, do inhabit the Chinese
western desert.
“This is an industry-wide problem,” said HSUS president
Wayne Pacelle. “Our investigation demonstrates that retailers and
designers are not paying close enough attention to composition of the
fur trim they are selling. It’s especially problematic when the fur
is sourced from China, where domestic dogs and cats and raccoon dogs
are killed in gruesome ways, even skinned alive. The safest course
of action is for Sean Combs and other designers and retailers to stop
using fur trim. That single act would solve the problem.”
Because tanuki occur in the wild, though the overwhelming
majority are raised in captivity for fur and dog meat, they are
considered wild animals under U.S. law.
“HSUS is also calling on Congress to amend the Dog and Cat
Protection Act–which bans the sale of dog or cat fur in the U.S.–to
include” tanuki, said HSUS spokesperson Karen L. Allanach, “since
the animals are so inhumanely killed and the species is similar to
domesticated dogs.
“It would be jarring to the public to shop in a marketplace
where dog and cat fur is banned, but coats labeled as ‘raccoon dog’
are still legally sold,” Pacelle said.

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