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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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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!

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!

8:42AM PDT on Apr 14, 2014

Dont look at it, don't touch, dont buy it!

11:10PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Vasu, you can’t accuse the greater majority of Christians of being bigots without being a bigot yourself.

Aren’t you supposed to believe in
*A “unity of existence through love”? Seems you hate everyone who eats meat; that’s the majority of humans on this Earth. Nice.
*Religious harmony - hoo boy, epic fail.

Animals have the right to eat, use, attack, starve out or torment any other animal. They have no ‘rights’ in nature at all: they live by exploiting their environment and avoiding being killed by another animal. We are animals too, and the rights and laws we wrote only apply to our human society and interaction. People may subscribe to whatever theology they like, but by the laws of nature the eating of meat and wearing of fur/leather is not morally wrong unless those things were produced in a cruel way, which is unethical and against the morality of most people regardless of their beliefs.

5:46PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

Vegetarianism has nothing to do with ethics; kindness, or minimizing cruelty to animals.

Animals are being tortured all around us. Merely "not eating animals" will do nothing to eliminate their suffering. Unless you take ACTIVE steps to rescue and care for animals in need, veganism is nothing but empty rhetoric.

What happens to all the animals you don't eat? Unless you rescue & take care of each one, they are still killed (most likely tortured), and the meat sold at a cheaper price. In the meantime a whole set of other animals are harmed & killed in the production of your vegetarian food.

5:38PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

I know that there is good quality faux fur, but it seems that it is not good enough for some of the
"haute couture"

What would happen if there would be a movement to skip anything that had any kind of
fur looking material.? Or what about long jail terms for the executives of the fashion houses that were lying..maybe put embargo on "faux" from China and any other country that has cheated with material off of dead animals. $$$$$$ Always talks.

5:27PM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

My own experience as a Hindu and as an animal advocate is that Christians are incredibly anti-semitic. Adolf Hitler thought Albert Einstein's scientific discoveries were mere "Jewish science" and thus not applicable to gentiles. This is the mentality of meat-eating Christians towards vegetarianism, which they regard as a sectarian (like circumcision) dietary restriction (like "keeping kosher") rather than as a universal ethic for all mankind (like abstaining from cannibalism). Meat-eating Christians, relegating animal rights and vegetarianism solely to Judaism are as bigoted as Hitler. There is a sad irony here as many liberals see the abortion issue as sectarian, too: if you're not born again, you don't have to be pro-life.

We don't hear meat-eating Christians say, "God bless the Jews. They gave the world monotheism. They gave the world Jesus. Albert Einstein's scientific discoveries revolutionized the world in which we live. And now that we've abolished human slavery and emancipated women, it's time to end animal slavery. Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for 'entertainment' insists People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). And the Hebrew Scriptures, which make up half of our own Christian canon, provide a basis for doing that!"

Leonardo Da Vinci, Count Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, George Bernard Shaw, Susan B. Anthony, Percy Shelley, were all vegetarian, and none of them were Jewish!

2:33AM PDT on Apr 13, 2014

oh my. I never thought about this.. I don't wear much of it anyway but good to know.

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