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November 23, 2009

NJ Fur Labeling

New Jersey Becomes Fifth State to Enact Fur Labeling Law

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States praised New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine for signing legislation into law requiring all garments made of animal fur to be labeled as such. The consumer protection measure, introduced by Sen. Jeff Van Drew, D-1, and Assemblymember Nilsa Cruz-Perez, D-5, passed both the Assembly and the Senate with large margins. With the enactment of this new law, New Jersey joins Delaware, Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin as the fifth state with a fur labeling law on the books.

"Consumers have the right to know exactly what they are buying so they can make informed purchasing decisions," said Heather Cammisa, The HSUS' New Jersey state director. "A growing number of people have ethical objections to wearing animal fur. We applaud Governor Corzine and the New Jersey legislature for passing this important consumer protection bill."

Ongoing investigations by The Humane Society of the United States have revealed that many designers and retailers have sold unlabeled or mislabeled fur-trimmed jackets. The HSUS is pursuing a consumer protection lawsuit against several major retailers in the District of Columbia, and is also urging Congress to pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, S. 1076, by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and H.R. 2480 by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., to require accurate labeling of all animal fur-trimmed garments, regardless of dollar value.

New Jersey's new law — a simple, but important consumer protection measure — will  require all garments containing animal fur sold in New Jersey to be labeled with the type of animal fur and the country of origin. 

Timeline:

  • February 2006 – The HSUS announces widespread industry scandal finding raccoon dog fur for sale in the United States.
  • December 2006 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find raccoon dog fur on jackets advertised as "faux" and labeled as other species such as raccoon or coyote.
  • February 2007 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find domestic dog fur on unlabeled jackets advertised as "faux" fur.
  • February 2007 – U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Michael Ferguson, R-N.J., introduce the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act, H.R. 891.
  • March 2007 – The HSUS files petition with the Federal Trade Commission seeking to enforce the Fur Products Labeling Act.
  • Aug. 15, 2007 – New York Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal's legislation to require fur labeling signed into law in New York.
  • November 2007 – New York fur labeling law goes into effect. 
  • November 2008 – HSUS files suit against a number of major retailers including Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue for engaging in false advertising and mislabeling of fur garments.

Background:

  • The Federal Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 was passed to protect consumers by requiring all garments with real fur to indicate species and country of origin on clothing labels, but a loophole allows some fur-trimmed garment to be exempt.
  • Raccoon dog is the most commonly unlabeled or misrepresented type of fur sold in the United States, according to HSUS investigations.
  • Raccoon dogs have been documented to be skinned alive in China for their fur. 

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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.

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