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February 16, 2009

New York Retailers Flout Fur-Labeling Law

The Humane Society of the United States

Some of the largest retailers in New York—including Bloomingdale's, Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue—have been selling unlabeled fur-trimmed garments in violation of state law.

The Humane Society of the United States and Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, D/WF-Manhattan, revealed investigation results today at a press conference.

HSUS investigators and Assemblymember Rosenthal visited stores in New York City with undercover cameras last month to determine whether retailers are in compliance with the 2007 law Rosenthal authored.

The law requires that all apparel with real or fake fur be labeled as real or fake, so that shoppers can have access to important product information.

The investigation showed that Bloomingdale's was selling unlabeled "Parajumpers" and "Steve by Searle" brand jackets trimmed with animal fur.

Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue were both selling "Moncler" brand jackets trimmed with unlabeled animal fur.

Pulling The Fur Over Shoppers' Eyes

"I passed this law to ensure that consumers in New York could make informed decisions about the type of clothing they are buying," said Rosenthal.

"Many people prefer not to wear animal fur, and they should be able to tell at a glance whether an article of clothing is made with fur or not. Retailers have had more than a year to comply with this law, and it is appalling that so many have disregarded it," she said.

"We've found over and over again this widespread deception in the fashion industry, and consumers simply don't know whether they're buying synthetic fur, or fur from animals skinned alive in China," said Michael Markarian, The HSUS's executive vice president.

"Even in the face of a state law that was enacted to curb these abuses, some retailers continue to pull the fur over shoppers' eyes," he continued.

A Bergdorf Goodman salesperson admitted that jackets trimmed with animal fur should be labeled, but often are not. A Bloomingdale's salesperson appeared to be duped by an unlabeled garment, telling investigators the fur was "fake" after seeing no mention of it on the label.

An HSUS fur expert confirmed that the fur was, in fact, real.

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