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“Faux” Fur is Often Real Fur from Real Animals. Don’t Buy It.

“Faux” Fur is Often Real Fur from Real Animals. Don’t Buy It.

Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 favorite. It was originally published on March 17, 2013. Enjoy.

Are you opposed to wearing fur? It will be an unwelcome surprise, then, to learn  that you may have some hanging in your closet.

“Fur is back in a big way,” Jezebel has announced. Winter coats sport fur trim around the hoods, but that is just the beginning. Jezebel says that designer houses’ shows previewing their fall lines were heavy on fur, including those of BCBG Max Azria, Caroline Herrera, Ralph Lauren and J. Mendel.

Sadly it looks like time to break out the red paint again. But how can we distinguish between real and fake fur coats, and between people who knowingly bought real fur and people who thought their fur was fake?

People who oppose fur buy it accidentally because some clothing manufacturers and sellers are mislabeling it as “faux fur.” Much of it is from raccoon dogs (see the picture above). Both manufacturers and sellers know that Americans are less likely to buy fur if they think it came from a dog or cat, so they say it didn’t.

The fur of rabbits and other animals also winds up mislabeled as faux fur, perhaps because manufacturers realize that there is widespread opposition to using animals for fur and want to capture more customers than they could if they admitted the fur was real. I can’t think of any other reason businesses would mislabel clothing, especially since their inaccurate labels violate federal law.

An investigation into New York City’s popular discount department store Century 21 revealed real furs masquerading as fake both in the store and online. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal conducted an undercover probe and discovered that garments with real fur lining and others with real fur trim were labeled as faux fur or were not labeled at all.

HSUS then went online and bought three Marc Jacobs jackets from Century 21′s website, which described the garments as having fake fur trim. When the jackets arrived, lo and behold — they carried labels stating that the trim was real fur from China. HSUS had the trim on one of the jackets examined and confirmed that it came from a raccoon dog. Under New York law both manufacturers and retailers are liable for mislabeled fur according to Rosenthal, who wrote the 2007 legislation.

Woody Harrelson narrates a video for HSUS that gives some very basic facts about how living animals are turned into fur products — don’t worry, they use a stuffed animal for demonstration purposes, no images of violence to real animals:

Video courtesy of HSUS

China is the largest source of fur in the world. Fur farmers there strangle, bludgeon, and electrocute some of the animals to death — the lucky ones. The rest are skinned alive, as described in the following graphic video, narrated by Olivia Munn.

Warning: this video contains disturbing images of cruelty to animals.

Video courtesy of PETA

The only way to be sure you are not buying real fur is not to buy anything represented as faux fur either. If you think you have found an instance of mislabeling, contact HSUS.

Take Action: Sign the petition against mislabeling faux fur.


Related Stories:

Is Fur Making a Comeback?

Victory! West Hollywood Bans Fur

Raccoon Dogs Skinned Alive to Make Boots


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Photo credit: iStockphoto

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4:22PM PDT on Jul 13, 2014

Fur farms are horrible, horrible places. The animals are tortured, starved, driven crazy, electrocuted. It's inhumane, go fur-free. If you're an animal lover, why would you pay someone to take their skin off so you can wear it????

9:10PM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

China (and most of Asia) are filthy cancers on this Earth. Every country has atrocities, but Canada tops the list as the Western country closest to China in its viciousness towards animals and wildlife. Canada of course imports and peddles dog fur from China, something you would expect from that Harper sewer.

8:46PM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

China is full of the worst criminals. I'd object to shock and awe invasions on places like Iraq, but I would have no objection to a shock and awe invasion on those China monsters. What a cesspool of atrocities.

4:46AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I'll never buy any sort of fur. Even if it is false, it increases the lack of awareness about the brutality against animals.

4:19AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I will NEVER wear any sort of fur, real or fake!!

My niece had on a fur coat at Christmas and I went off on her in front of my whole family! I told her what these poor animals go through and how could she condone their going through all that pain for her to wear their fur. The fur belongs to the animal, NOT her!!

7:46AM PDT on May 21, 2014

Sabu G. if people stop eating farmed animals the demand for the animals will decrease therefore the industry will be forced to breed fewer of them. The human populations' change from a meat base diet to a plant based one will not happen over night but it is happening and as it happens, fewer animals will suffer.

11:21PM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Shared videos on my FB wall.

8:58PM PDT on Apr 20, 2014

Stricter labeling and stopping the import of any fur/faux fur products. Maybe that can stop the trickery. I just read where the Pappas fur company is closing due to lack of demand so there is more awareness out there. Now we just need to put enough pressure on the faux companies/China to stop the real/faux fakery.

4:40PM PDT on Apr 19, 2014

The safest thing for everyone to do is to realize how easy it is to be manipulated through emotions. PeTA knows that those who watch the video will be so emotionally distressed that they will not investigate whether it's genuine and/or representative of the entire industry. It isn’t.

7:52PM PDT on Apr 17, 2014

The safest way is to avoid all fur, real or faux due to the illegal mislabeling that is happening! The immense suffering these animals endure should be enough to convince people to leave fur our of their wardrobes forever! Those who don't have vanity problems!

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