March 17, 2011
Fur Labeling Loophole Closes Friday – Retailers Urged to Comply
WASHINGTON-- After years of unlabeled animal fur duping consumers who thought they were buying fake fur, starting tomorrow, all garments made of animal fur must disclose the fur content on the label, regardless of dollar value.
On March 18, 2011, The Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-313) takes effect. The legislation, which was signed by President Obama in December after receiving bi-partisan support in the House and Senate, closes a loophole in the six-decade-old federal fur labeling law that previously allowed many animal fur garments to go unlabeled if the value of the fur was $150 or less, leaving consumers in the dark as to whether they were buying faux or animal fur. Over the past several years, HSUS investigations have found scores of jackets trimmed with animal fur being sold at many major retailers across the country without labels or falsely advertised as "faux fur." Raccoon dog fur was the most commonly unlabeled, falsely advertised, and misrepresented species found being sold in the U.S.
“Consumers who choose to avoid animal fur can now shop with more confidence, knowing that the law requires fur-trimmed garments to be labeled,” said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer of The Humane Society of the United States. “We are grateful to federal lawmakers and the FTC for bringing more accuracy and transparency to the fur fashion industry, and we look forward to working with retailers and designers to make sure shoppers are getting the information they need to make informed purchasing decisions in the marketplace.”
The Federal Trade Commission has announced that garments received by retailers prior to March 18, 2011 will not be the subject of enforcement action for one year, giving retailers the opportunity to cycle through pre-existing inventory. However, the FTC recommends that these garments have a label or hangtag voluntarily added by the retailers that indicates the presence of real fur. The FTC will enforce the new labeling requirements immediately with respect to all garments received by retailers after March 18, 2011.
The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund expressed their thanks to the sponsors of this legislation—Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.—for their leadership on this critical animal welfare and consumer protection issue, and to President Obama for signing the new policy into law.
- Gucci Group, Burberry, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Buffalo Exchange, Overstock.com, Ed Hardy, Victoria Bartlett, Charlotte Ronson, and Andrew Marc, among other retailers and designers, endorsed closing the fur labeling loophole.
- An HSUS investigation found raccoon dog fur on more than two-thirds of a nationwide sample of fur-trimmed jackets purchased from well-known retailers and designers. Of the raccoon dog fur jackets tested, not a single one properly identified the animal in advertising or labeling, instead calling it such things as faux fur, raccoon, or simply not labeling it at all.
- The Truth in Fur Labeling Act had 171 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, and 34 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. It passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent.
- The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 banned the trade in domestic dog and cat fur after an HSUS investigation revealed the gruesome deaths of 2 million dogs and cats a year in China and other parts of Asia for the fur trade and found domestic dog and cat fur for sale in the United States. The HSUS later found domestic dog fur slipping into the country on unlabeled jackets.
- The HSUS testified in favor of The Truth in Fur Labeling Act at a House subcommittee hearing on May 13.
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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.