Nice Trim

“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. (

42 responses

  1. I can’t believe that dogs and cats can end up around your neck. This shocking information makes me wonder what other animal issues are swept under the rug, witheld from public knowledge.

  2. Great post Janice! I liked your first one a little better because it had a little more direct examples to business specifically, but this is certainly related and good to hear…
    ——————-author’s response follows——————–
    “Hi Paulo, my underlying reason for this post is to ask if this should be a business issue: Should retailers of fur be responsible for the welfare of animals used in their supply chain? Every upscale department store sells fur (Lord & Taylor stopped for awhile, then resumed sales.) Do Saks, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Macys, or Nordstrom take responsibility for their supply chain? Customer-facing food companies such as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are taking responsibility for their supply chain and driving the change in Smithfield’s animal-related business practices (as in my former post that you mention.) Do fur retailers bear the responsibility for ensuring humane treatment of animals within their supply chain?” janice

  3. Ideally, I’d like to see major department stores have fur-free policies like some of the smaller retailers like Gap and Zara do. But if they’re not going to be fur-free, they should definitely be holding their suppliers more accountable and should only be selling accurately labelled fur items. And they should prohibit any fur from animals raised and killed in China, which has no animal welfare regulations at all. It seems to me the retailers are putting their heads in the sand on this issue.

    1. The everything-made-in-China-cause-its-cheap-crap-and-they’re-all-slaves epidemic only gets more and more despicable and crushing for people with a conscience. Most of us, of course, are in the near-extinguished ‘middle class’. But to read the Daily Mail article and learn that one of the supermillionaire-catering designers is moving its operation from Wales to China proves that nothing is likely to get better. The PETA video of the fox being skinned alive and blinking through its bloodied eyelashes, pulped nearly to death but lingering on, is the most horrifying filmed document I have ever seen (and I’ve seen a lot of gruesome things in my time). It should be required viewing for every politician and fashion designer in the world, particularly in the US where (unlike in the European Union) everyone eats tortured animals as it’s perfectly legal to torture them. I’m not a vegetarian and I’ve ended up impoverished but I’m still trying my best not to encourage savagery toward animals. And I wouldn’t have worn my beloved dog, either. He was like a son to me.

  4. This is just one more reason to boycott all products from China! The chinese people are primitive savages. That said, our government needs to tighten the laws to make each separate garment imported a separate offense, with stiff criminal penalties. After all, if Donna Karan or Tommy Hilfiger or one of the Nordstroms had to go to jail for 10 years, the use of such furs would cease instantly!
    ——————-author’s response follows——————
    Al, your comment has me wondering if retailers are going to be held accountable, even if unknowingly selling dog/cat fur. With the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) finding 24 out of 25 “faux” fur garments being made of cat/dog fur and cat/dog fur being banned in the US, I am wondering what the penalties are and if these retailers are being held liable for the penalties. Does anyone know? janice

  5. See the Humane Society of the US investigation this is all based on:
    ********************author’s response follows*******************
    Details on designers and retailers researched in the ongoing HSUS fur study mentioned in my blog are at:
    If you want to ensure you are not buying dog and cat fur when you purchase a “faux fur” item, contact your representatives to support H.R. 891 – see

  6. this article is wonderful, and there should be more like it all over the world- all the time until everyone knows and someone does something about it. why is only cat and dog fur banned? why not all fur everywhere? i hate the u.s.’s reasoning that “we don’t eat cat and dog, they are our pets”. well, over in china they do eat cats and dogs, along with probably everything else. that is not the point.the point is~ that these are creatures that do not deserve to be treated this way for a tacky trim or corny coat. they are living beings-and they have the right to live. anyone who knows ANYTHING about fur farms or trapping, knows that that is NO way to live. the humans that do these things and allow these things to happen should be deeply ashamed. i don’t know how they can live with themselves, or get to sleep at night(no doubt with animal tested sleeping pills!) i wonder if the tables were turned, would they feel that their being skinned alive for a fur coat is acceptable? i would think not! people like this have no ability to think about ANYONE but themselves. they are evil, soulless, and extremely selfish and greedy. i am just glad that my conscience is clear and that i do not support this industry that mass breeds, mass cages, mass tourtures, and mass slaughters animals. i am one of the good ones. i just wish the rest of the world would hurry and catch up with me.

  7. Hello,
    I’m in my final year of university and looked into “The desire for fur” for my dissertation. Rosa was most kind and gave me some brilliant pictures for the report. From what I have learnt about the fur-trade, is that people seem to want to wear it for what it portrays, the status, wealth, glamour, luxury and fetish that it brings. But the necessity for the unnecessary appalls me, we do not need to wear REAL fur to have all of this. There are other means to proving wealth and glamour.
    Researching into the cruelty aspects of the trade was so upsetting for me, these poor animals die horrifically just for somebody to feel good and supposedly look good.
    You do not need to wear real fur especially when fake fur is so available and looks exactly the same. So please consider and pass on what the animals go through….you do not need to wear real fur.
    Thank you

  8. I read the J.C Penny’s was selling coats trimmed in Dog and Cat fur too and when they were called on it at first they acted like they didn’t know then they admitted to it and decided to keep selling it. This was fur from dogs and cats in china. I couldn’t imagine putting something around me that suffered such a horrific death. China should be banned from selling any articles with fur on them And the United States needs to take a stand on this problem. So now when we think we are buying Faux Fur it may not be.

  9. Friends would you stand for someone slaughtering your dog or cat and wearing them as fur? or staeling them from your backyard and breaking the legs of your cat and boiling it alive for soup? or skinning your dog alive? i dont think so.Faux fur coul d be coutured so beautifully if the designers woul d not be so greedy and lead women to thinking real fur is glamourous.It is not at all chic to wear the dead carcass skin /fur of a n animal

  10. I don’t see the need for retailers to sell anything fur or faux fur.If the garment is supposed to be faux fur then they should do the homework on it to make sure that it is.
    I agree with Dawn.

  11. There is no animal on earth that should be subjected to the horrendous cruelty that is “The fur Trade” What a very sorry state of affairs when an animal has to be tortured simply to satisfy the desires and the greed of people who simply wish to wear fur!!!!!!

  12. What exactly do we need fur for??? Haven’t we moved past that barbaric practice in our modern society? Its not a fashion statement.
    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
    Shame on the fur industry.

  13. After all I’ve learned, about false labeling, etc.
    I wouldn’t buy anything fuzzy, even on a toy. No
    less, something to wear ! For me, it’s no more
    furry, fuzzy anything on anything, I purchase!
    I will not condone or trust manufacturing companies to compromise my spending on the loss of
    a life of a precious animal! They can take all
    their products and stick them, you know where !

  14. It upsets me to no end to think, to even phathom, that those who love fur-I’m all for the fake fur, guys!-could end up wearing an ANIMAL is UNACCEPTABLE and I just PRAY that our Government will NOT let this ANIMAL ABUSE CONTINUE.

  15. Just Devil Stupid person can use such things .Just a sadistic crazy person can use fur not a healthy understanding person.we have to Boycot it and stop such a sadistic terrible devilish business.

  16. ‘Dog farms’ (hell holes), the subsequent inhumane slaughter of Domestic Companion Animals (dogs/cats) for fur has been happening in China & exported globally for many, many years! This most horrific, spinechilling, obscene & unnecessary trade is finally being further exposed for what it really is – thanks to the many worldwide who have been involved. Fashion houses should be truly ashamed for promoting the suffering & misery that is the entire fur trade! Equally, those who flaunt it! And for what? An adornment? A cruel indulgence? Shame on all those who suport the fur trade in any way whatsoever! N.B. Following a nationwide expose’, Australia banned the import of dog/cat fur in 2004. Regards, Australian Rep,

  17. Sirius Global Animal Organisation, an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, adds their total support to this topic. We have been campaigning since 2000 (when I might add a number of organisations already knew about this situation and did nothing!) to have dogs taken out of the human food chain. Cats are also included. We are the first organisation in the world to have a voice for Domestic Companion Animals at the United Nations and we use this well!
    We have always stated that the fur is a by-product of the meat chain no matter what animal.
    I am more than prepared to offer suggestions to anyone as to how we stop this atrocity – While in Rome I saw the pelts of Saint Bernards in shops but Italy has banned the import of fur from China. To stop this we must be united! See “Carpet of Fear” on the Sirius site which has been there for a while. Sirius works with the people of this planet and it is with the people of this planet that things can change.
    Elly Maynard

  18. I am disgusted and repulsed at what is going on
    here. The only way to battle this is with boycotting China, JC Penney, and any other
    country or merchandise chain or fashion designer
    who would stoop so low to use an animal’s fur.
    It belongs to them, on their body and no
    where else!!!
    Just as importantly myself, and you and you and
    you must SPREAD THE WORD about this atrocity
    and get them to boycott! The more people that
    know about this the better. Once China feels
    the economic pinch and worse we can only hope
    and pray they reconsider. Once JC Penney and any
    other chain sees their profit margin falling
    I hope that would make them stop. Most importantly
    we have to stand together and realize when we
    come across an animal they deserve our protection,
    our aid, a kind word, comment, or action. If we
    keep on showing how we care I pray the rest of
    population will take a hint and kindness will
    begin to really catch on. (Laws with real teeth
    in them would help to).

  19. Responding to Dawn about the difference of focusing on dog and cat fur. Dawn, it is not just that we favor cats and dogs. The problem is that we cannot start screaming to protect all living beings including rats and coackroaches when we have done very little to protect intelligent animals such as horses, dogs, chimps, and others. Dogs and cats are closest to humans, and pet owners make the majority to speak out against animal cruelty. Since we cannot possibly stop cruelty to all animals at once, we need to start subtracting animals from the death row list, starting with the easier causes with more supporters (pet owners) because that’s where we stand a chance.

  20. Fur is so outdated and cruel. People who wear fur are posers. They are ugly so they need to wrap themselves in something beautiful so the rest of the world will accept them. Work on yourself, wear your own skin.

  21. Of course retailers have a responsibility to be held accountable for the fur they sell. Retailers like Wal-Mart, and even Martha Stewart had to give up on selling the clothes that were made in sweat shops. Why shouldn’t the innocent animals tortured and slaughtered alive have protection? Plus, we as consumers have the right to know what were wearing, these things aren’t even labeled right!!! Would it be ok to do that when it comes to food too??? NO!!! Mislabel food, and you’ll have lawsuits up the ass!!! It’s unfair, illegal and downright disgusting. This is not the dark ages, we have ways to keep warm without cruely and heartlessly killing animals!!!!

    Before becoming dazzled by the beauty of a fur item in a shop window, stop for a second to think about the moral costs that went into that piece of life that once was as magic as your own. The fur industry is the bloodiest and cruelest in modern times and it does not have a leg to stand on as it serves no purpose other than making vain people feel important. But beautiful? There is nothing beautiful about it. Fur-bearing animals are killed by gassing, neck breaking, anal electrocution, clubbing, trapping and injection with poisons so as not to damage their pelt. These fur animals live horrendous existences before they meet with their brutal deaths. It is a lot worse if these animals are raised in China where their slaughter is violent and pitiless. They even raise pets to turn into fur. Cats are strangled inside their cages or boiled alive. Dogs are noosed about the neck by metal wires, slashed across the groin and bleed to death. But most of these animals are still alive when skinned. To learn more click>>>
    The cruelty is firing back on us; CONSIDER THIS: How the Fur Trade Spreads Chemical Poison
    Furriers are now claiming that faux fur causes pollution because of chemicals used to produce it, but they are keeping another one of their dirty secrets: The chemical pollution resulting from its nefarious practices. The caustic and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and chromium used in fur processing are an extreme threat to the environment. In 1991, the EPA fined 2 fur processing plants $1.6 million as a result of pollution they caused, claiming that the waste from fur processing plants “may cause respiratory problems, and are listed as possible carcinogens.” Various chemicals used in the fur industry are potential skin irritants. These include alkalis, acids, alum, chromates, bleaching agents, oils, salt and the compounds involved in the dyeing process, comprising various types of dyes as well as mordant (a substance used to fix dye in a pelt).
    And this is not all, click here to learn more
    Rosa Close
    “All beings tremble before violence. All fear death. All love life. See yourself in others.
    Then whom can you hurt? What harm can you do? ~Buddha”

  23. Hi Janice, seems you have a worldwide set of readers who favor animal rights. Great! Let me plug the Chicago Animal Rights Meetup ( where we are researching conditions that enabled the UK to BAN FUR MANUFACTURING THROUGHOUT THE REALM in 1999 (law went into effect in 2002). That’s fur of all animals, not just dogs and cats. Knowing these conditions should give us a roadmap for doing the same in the United States.
    Regarding the labeling law, I would much prefer the labeling that went down to defeat in a 1999 referendum in Beverly Hills, CA:
    “CONSUMER NOTICE: This product is made with fur from animals that may have been killed by electrocution, gassing, neck-breaking, poisoning, clubbing, stomping or drowning, and may have been trapped in steel leg-hold traps.”

    1. The UK is a more advanced country than the US in every possible humane respect (social welfare, etc.) Unbridled capitalism will prevent your valiant efforts from resulting in any change – guaranteed. Welcome to the living hell that is ‘this great nation’.

  24. Apart from the fact that fur is cruel, unnecessary and environmentally polluting (yes it is) it just makes people look dated, cheap and FAT. Its about time this stupid fashion was ditched.

  25. it is time that this becomes a political issue, this must be forbidden.
    but that’s probably wishfulthinking, when it comes to making money they allow just about anything.
    where I come from we don’t like it but ofcourse also we have 1 stupid fashiondesigner that turns his back on animalrights and uses fur everytime…
    IT GIVES ME THE CREEPS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  26. I visited a market in UK where fun fur of all colours was on sale and was undoubtedly of real origin, there was simply no mistaking it. I asked the stall holder where the fur scarves came from and she told me quite openly, from China. I then explained about this barbaric, heinous trade and the lady was thoroughly upset to think she had been selling such items on her stall unwittingly, she said she is often sent samples from China and had no idea of the horror behind such business. The only way to stop the cruelty is to stop selling fur – real or look alike, stop buying it and effectively this will STOP the killing. But it needs to be en masse across the globe, it is vital every one of us passes on the message, real fur hurts – the animals, and if we choose to ignore the pain we are really hurting ourselves too, how can we be ‘humane’ beings if we treat animals in this way? What price is our ignorance?

  27. Not only is the fur trade reprehensible, but it is not only clothing made from dogs and cats! Those little animal figurines you see with nice furry coats (that MANY people buy for their kids) are REAL fur, mostly dog and from China! They even sell them on eBay by the damn cartload! They try to say it is rabbit or some other fur (STILL NOT Acceptable!), but it is mostly dog and cat fur.
    All fur is atrocious and should be accurately labeled with specifics…including the list above of the manner of death. Not that everyone would care, but the average suburban mom would probably freak to find out her toddler’s toy was made up of Fido and Fluffy.
    And to answer your question, Janice, ALL clothiers selling dog and cat fur should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for EACH item bought/sold. Also, they should be fully responsible for their suppliers actions as well. If they would put pressure on, the most horrendous abuses would maybe stop.
    As for China, don’t forget to BOYCOTT THE SUMMER OLYMPICS being held in Beijing in 2008!!!! If you know someone who is planning on participating or who is active with the olympics in any fashion, encourage them to boycott as well. AND write to the companies: TV, sponsors, etc and tell them that you will boycott them as well and why.
    China doesn’t just have the dog and cat fur and meat industry (and don’t hand me crap about them being poor and “needing” the dog or cat meat – both are luxury items there— dog penis anyone?). They have also been brutally beating dogs to death because of a few cases of rabies. They literally beat to death over 50,000 in one province alone!!! Visit: to find out more!

  28. We are suppossed to live in harmony with nature and this unusually cruel killing of dogs and cats for their fur is unacceptable. I REFUSE TO SUPPORT OR VISIT ANY PLACE THAT TREATS ANIMALS IN SUCH A HORRIBLE MANNER.

  29. I am shocked that you could have ended up buying a garment with fur on it without realizing it. Though it’s not at all the same thing, it reminds me of when I, a longtime vegetarian, bought my favorite Vegetarian Broccoli Chicken dish at a local restaurant.
    I’ve been eating this for ten years, the “chicken” is really tofu. When I got home with the takeout, I noticed they were preparing the tofu in a different way. How interesting, I thought, and started eating.
    It took me about three minutes to realize the horrible truth: this was not vegetarian chicken, it was a real, live – or rather, dead – chicken. Gak!

  30. International Designers and leading clothes manufacturers should grasp the nettle and hold China to account by boycotting the factories where all clothes are made for export. Whilst accepting items manufactured in China, we are condoning their barbaric behaviour towards animals and giving the signal that the West accepts this practice. I think this issue needs to be addressed globally. As we know, China’s economy is very buoyant but at what cost?

  31. Where does the blind arrogance of humans end? We seem to be under the impression that the world is here for our amusement. Taking life to improve your appearance is pathetic. Our race belongs at the bottom of the food chain. We are the only animals that kill for greed, let alone vanity. I think Mother nature will tire of us and kick us out. Metaphorically of course. In reallity we’re doing that ourselves.

  32. “Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle” Evil is not the majority and they continue existing only if we allow it to. Become active! There is much you can do for the voiceless.
    Here are a few of our initiatives:
    Anti-Fur Demo at the Chinese Embassy, Feb 13 as part of the int’l day of action held in 27 countries and more than 38 cities!

    We got great coverage. This article thoroughly covers the bloody fur trade in Chinese fur farms:
    I also have just begun working with an animal group in China, I foresee good things coming out of it. An idea: People in the US could “adopt” an animal group in China. They are in desperate of help.
    Join us:

  33. but its not just fur is it?? Lets not forget the millions of animals that suffer for the cosmetics industry. Or the horrendous cruelty inflicted in the name of ‘Chinese medicine’ on the Moon Bears which are ‘milked’ for their ‘precious’ bile! Sick, so sad and utterly shocking.

  34. The millions of animals that suffer for the comestics industry are not forgotten, Annie Horvath! I could also list here at least a dozen incredibly worthy causes that makes me cry sometimes. But we can’t solve the world’s problem at once, we can only focus on what we can do best, it doesn’t matter which cause. When I started my anti-fur activism, I even had people ask me why I wouldn’t help starving children instead! I proceeded with the anti-fur activism because I couldn’t live with myself knowing that animals are skinned alive for vanity. To me, there isn’t anything worse than that.

  35. Every time I think of this it just breaks my heart. I can’t understand how anybody could care nothing for suffering of innocent creatures and then brandish their hides like some grotesque trophy.
    Fake fur sends the wrong message – fur just should not be worn or used by people, period. No exceptions.
    At least some headway is being made through education and some top designers have vowed to never using fur, plus celebrities are being more and more vocal against this torture.
    Let’s hope the next generation will be kinder, more caring and understand the pain and suffering their choices inflict on others.
    But other animals suffer too and not buying anything that does not have the rabbit or states not tested on animals is very important.
    Talking about it is good but we must put our money where our mouths are too.
    P&G, The Iams, The Eukanubas, The Tide and the Gillettes and Fabreze, KFC all those companies who perform animal testing need to know we will not buy from them.
    Thanks for listening to my views.

  36. This is a tough crowd. Just curious how many of you are vegetarians. Imo, if you really cared about animals, you wouldn’t eat them. I think that in some ways, people find fur repugnant because it’s a reminder of their related transgressions, evidence of the killing of animals at their behest; the rest of the evidence of course, lies in their digestive tracts.

  37. Okay, here is where I must differ with you. I greatly enjoy wearing fur, most of my fur coats are from my Gramma, but that doesn’t make her a vilian either. She and my Grandpa raised cattle and they used every byproduct of the slaughter. I had to endure cow’s tounge meals as a child and that taught me, if you raise the animal and care for it humanely, then it’s death is natural part of life where you then enjoy it’s by-products as shoes, leather coats and so on. Her mink coat that I now wear, doesn’t mean I believe in the mistreatment of animals. I have 3 rescue dogs that would otherwise not be living the life of luxury. I would never slaughter them for a coat because that is not their lives’ divine purpose.
    If I ever see an animal ill-treated, I WILL step in and rectify the situation. Wearing Gramma’s furs does not make me evil.

Leave a Reply