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March 19, 2008

March 19, 2008

Investigation Shows Raccoon Dog Most Misrepresented Fur in America

Seventy percent of falsely advertised or mislabeled fur-trimmed jackets tested by The Humane Society of the United States contain fur from a type of dog species, according to an investigation released today by the organization. Over the last three winters, The HSUS has identified dozens of falsely advertised or falsely labeled garments — including new results released today — which contain fur from the raccoon dog, an Asian canine species. Retailers and brands associated with these latest jackets — the majority of which contain raccoon dog fur — include Eluxury, Dillard's, Dr. Jay's, Caché, Bluefly, Sears and Juicy Couture.

Laboratory testing has identified raccoon dog as the species on 26 of 37 fur-trimmed jackets that each contained at least one apparent violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act in their advertising or labeling. Among the incorrect names found being used were: Faux fur, Ecological fur, Polyester, Coyote, Rabbit, Canis Latranis, Raccoon and Finni Raccon.

"To our knowledge, no single furbearing animal has ever before been so mistreated and completely misrepresented to the public," said Kristin Leppert, director of The HSUS fur-free campaign. "Banning raccoon dog fur is the only way to protect American consumers and these animals from the systematic and horrific abuse — including being skinned alive — they undergo in China and other countries."

New test results released today on six jackets, purchased between September and November of 2007, are the latest additions to a long list of offenders. Click here to see a compilation of 38 jacket test results over the last three years.

In the U.S. Congress, Representatives Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., have introduced the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act — H.R. 891 — that would require labeling of all fur garments regardless of value, and would ban the sale of raccoon dog fur. The bill has 165 co-sponsors in the House, and The HSUS calls on Congress to act swiftly to pass this much-needed reform.

Facts:

  • "Asiatic raccoon," although not the accepted common name in use by the scientific community, is the name required under federal law in advertising and labeling of fur garments made from the raccoon dog.
  • Raccoon dogs are not raccoons (Procyon lotor) — they merely have facial markings that resemble raccoons.
  • Raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides) are a member the dog family. Indigenous to Asia, including eastern Siberia and Japan, these small, fox-sized furry animals seem to enjoy social contact.

Timeline:

  • December 20, 2007 – The HSUS published results finding that many leading retailers — including Bloomingdale's, Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Yoox.com — were selling certain jackets with the brand names Burberry, Andrew Marc, Marc New York, Preston & York, Aqua, Ramosport and Adam+Eve that were falsely advertised or mislabeled as faux fur or "ecological fur" when in fact they are trimmed with real animal fur.
  • Aug. 15, 2007 – New York Governor Eliot Spitzer signs legislation requiring that all clothing that includes fur or faux fur sold in New York State be correctly labeled as being "faux fur" or "real fur." The law went into effect Nov. 13, 2007.
  • March 13, 2007 – The HSUS petitions the Federal Trade Commission seeking penalties against 14 retailers and designers for violation of the federal Fur Products Labeling Act. The petition is still pending before the FTC.
  • Feb. 7, 2007 – Reps. Moran and Ferguson introduce the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Dec. 2006 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find raccoon dog fur on jackets being advertised as "faux" and/or labeled as other species, such as raccoon or coyote.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org

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