March 19, 2009
Court Settlement Will End Raccoon Dog Fur Sales By Andrew Marc
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. 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 agreement does not affect the ongoing litigation against the non-settling defendants, including major retailers Dillard's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
"We commend Andrew Marc for phasing out its use of raccoon dog fur, much of which comes from animals who have been skinned alive in China, and for taking other steps to help protect consumers from false and misleading advertising," said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president & chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The HSUS. "Since Andrew Marc is one of the largest importers of raccoon dog pelts in the United States, this agreement should have a dramatic impact on the fur industry, and hopefully set an example for other designers and retailers."
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 native to parts of Asia, that has been documented to be skinned alive in China.
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 dog 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.
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.
To view the entire complaint, learn about raccoon dogs and their mistreatment, and more, visit humanesociety.org/furfree.
A multi-media press release is available here.
The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. 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.