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March 19, 2009

Court Settlement Will End Raccoon Dog Fur Sales By Andrew Marc

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States and Andrew Marc (Andrew & Suzanne Company, Inc.) have reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed last year alleging that six of the nation's largest retailers and fashion designers have repeatedly engaged in false advertising and mislabeling of fur garments.

Historic Settlement

Pursuant to the agreement, fashion designer Andrew Marc will phase out all use of raccoon dog fur in its Andrew Marc and Marc New York lines, reform its garment labeling practices and endorse legislation to close a loophole in federal law which allows many fur-trimmed items to be sold without informing consumers whether and what kind of fur is present in the garment.

The litigation is proceeding against the non-settling defendants, including major retailers Dillard's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Consumer Deception

Over the past three years, The HSUS identified dozens of falsely advertised or falsely labeled fur garments across the retail industry. Although many of these garments are advertised or labeled as "faux fur," 70 percent of the garments actually contained fur from the raccoon dog, a member of the canine family. Andrew Marc represents that its fur comes from farm-raised animals in Finland.

The HSUS brought the lawsuit under the D.C. Consumer Protection Procedures Act alleging that the defendants are (1) advertising and labeling products as "faux fur," when they are, in fact, derived from real animal fur or (2) advertising and labeling products as common raccoon, fox or rabbit fur when they are, in fact, made from the wholly distinct species of raccoon dog—a member of the canine family.

The complaint also alleges violations of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act and Federal Trade Commission Act, which prohibit the false advertising and mislabeling of any fur product.

Ongoing Complaints

Since 2006, The HSUS has sent dozens of letters to companies informing them of problems and urging corrective action. The HSUS also filed two legal petitions with the Federal Trade Commission—one in March 2007 and the other in April 2008—seeking enforcement action and criminal and civil penalties against more than 20 companies for violations of the FPLA.

 

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