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January 29, 2010

Saks Fifth Avenue Settles Fur False Advertising Suit

WASHINGTON ― The Humane Society of the United States and retailer Saks Incorporated have reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed in 2008 alleging that several of the nation's largest department stores and fashion designers have repeatedly engaged in false advertising and mislabeling of fur garments. Pursuant to the agreement, Saks will impose strict new garment labeling practices for all 53 of its Saks Fifth Avenue retail stores, its outlet Saks Off Fifth stores and its online marketplace. Additionally, the retailer will change its advertising policies and endorse federal legislation to close a loophole that now allows many fur-trimmed items to be sold without informing consumers whether and what kind of fur those products contain.

"Saks has taken a major step forward by voluntarily strengthening its labeling and advertising standards, and joining with The Humane Society of the United States in seeking to reform existing fur labeling laws," said Jonathan R. Lovvorn, vice president and chief counsel for animal protection litigation for The HSUS. "Lord & Taylor, Saks and Andrew Marc have all agreed to honor consumers' strong desire to keep cruel and inhumane products out of their shopping bags, and now it's time for Macy's to step up as well."

Over the past three years, The HSUS identified dozens of falsely advertised or falsely labeled fur garments across the retail industry. Raccoon dog is the most commonly misrepresented type of fur, often described as a different animal or even as "faux" fur. In addition to being commonly falsely advertised and mislabeled, raccoon dog fur jackets are also commonly not labeled at all — which is allowed by a loophole in the federal law, even if the fur has been dyed unnatural colors like green or pink. 

Saks is the third defendant to settle the litigation, which now focuses exclusively on retailers Macy's and Neiman Marcus.

The HSUS urges Congress to pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act (S. 1076/H.R. 2480), introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., to require accurate and consistent labeling of fur-trimmed garments regardless of dollar value.

To view the entire complaint, learn about raccoon dogs and their mistreatment, and more, click here.

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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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