“Nice trim,” I was told. “Is that coyote fur?” It took me awhile for his words to sink in. I don’t wear fur. How in the world did I end up buying a coat with a coyote-trimmed fur hood? I didn’t know U.S. clothing retailers are not required to label fur if the fur is valued at less than $150.
Don’t get me wrong. I love fur; I love fur on live animals, not dead ones. Sure, in some societies, people wear bison or deerskin, of animals they’ve killed to eat. So where is fox, beaver, mink, chinchilla, or raccoon on the restaurant menu?
Liz Jones, the UK’s Daily Mail fashion columnist, penned a “must-read” column on fur in the fashion industry providing an astute first-hand account of designers and consumers of fur.
In a nutshell, wild fox and coyote caught in bone-crushing leghold traps can suffer for days, slowly dying from hunger, thirst, blood loss and predators before being bludgeoned or drowned by their trappers. Another option for the animal is to chew its leg off to get out of the trap. On fur farms, minks and raccoons are kept in cramped, filthy cages acting out nervous, repetitive behaviors from the stress and boredom. They are anally electrocuted or killed by snapping their necks. Must not get blood on the fur.
Why aren’t retailers taking responsibility for the humane treatment of animals used for fur in their supply chain?
Let’s hear it for faux fur! Okay, hate to ruin your day, but the Humane Society of the United States bought 25 jackets with hoods labeled “faux fur” and tested them. 24 of them turned out to have fur from raccoon dogs probably from China, where dogs and cats are skinned alive for their fur. Using fur from dogs and cats has been banned in the US since 2000.
The good news is that U.S. Representatives Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) and Jim Moran (D-VA) have introduced H.R. 4904, The Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2006, which requires labeling of all clothing items with fur, even if under $150 and added protection against illegal dog and cat fur coming into the country as trim.
Legislators are doing their part 1) to protect consumers, like me, who do not want to unknowingly buy fur and 2) to protect dogs and cats from winding up in the fur supply chain.
Polo Ralph Lauren, J Crew, H&M, Forever 21, GAP, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor have announced they will not sell fur items.
Do retailers who sell fur have a responsibility for the humane (or inhumane) treatment of animals used for fur in their supply chain?
This post is part of a new series on observations of animal-related business practices by Janice Neitzel. With an MBA in Sustainable Management and professional facilitation skills, Janice Neitzel engages stakeholders in facilitating innovative solutions to reduce environmental impact, improve social responsibility, and raise animal welfare standards, thereby, improving reputation and increasing brand value. (www.JaniceNeitzel.com)