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April 10, 2012

Animal Fur Sold as “Faux” by West Hollywood Retailer Kitson

The Humane Society of the United States revealed that popular Los Angeles area boutique Kitson recently sold three different items as “faux fur” that were actually real animal fur. These findings are based on independent laboratory analysis using microscopy. The items, which were sold through the boutique’s online store, are a “Canada Goose” brand jacket for infants, a “Monnalisa” brand jacket for toddlers, and a “Street Level” brand purse for kids.

“It’s troubling that a retailer in an area like West Hollywood, which recently passed a ban on the sale of fur, wouldn’t be more aware and diligent in protecting the public from being duped,” said Pierre Grzybowski, research and enforcement manager of the Fur-Free Campaign at The HSUS. “Kitson should take immediate action to contact every customer who purchased these products and to ensure that unsuspecting consumers are not duped into supporting animal suffering in the future.”

The Canada Goose “Reese Bomber Jacket” (size 6-12 months) was advertised as having “Detachable faux fur on hood,” but once purchased and examined, the label stated “Coyote,” and laboratory analysis using microscopy revealed that the fur is from an animal in the Canidae family—most likely coyote or gray wolf.

The Monnalisa “Pink Puffy Jacket” (size 12-18 months) was advertised online as “Features detachable faux fur on hood,” but once purchased and examined, the label did not, as required by federal law, reference the fur content. Laboratory analysis using microscopy revealed that the fur on this garment is also from an animal in the Canidae family—most likely raccoon dog.

The Street Level purse was advertised as a “Faux leather and faux fur carry on,” but once purchased and examined, a hangtag stated simply “fur.”  Laboratory analysis using microscopy revealed that the fur is from an animal most likely in the Canidae family, which includes the coyote, gray wolf, red and arctic fox, raccoon dog, and others.

The sender’s address on the packages of all three items, purchased and shipped separately from ShopKitson.com in January of 2012, is “Kitson Shipping Dept., 142 N. Robertson, West Hollywood, CA 90048”.  As of April 9, 2012 both the Monnalisa jacket and the Street Level purse were still advertised for sale online as “faux fur” whereas the link to the Canada Goose jacket states “This product is not available.”

Coyotes are neck-snared in the United States and Canada and have been reported to experience a phenomenon called “jellyhead” whereby the snare causes fluid to build up in the head of the still-living coyote.  Raccoon dogs are raised in small metal cages in large numbers in China where they have been documented to be skinned alive.  Gray wolves are caught in steel-jawed leghold traps where they can suffer for days.  Red foxes and arctic foxes are killed by anal electrocution on cage-confinement operations.

To find out more view images from all three advertisements, labels and test results.

Facts:

•    West Hollywood, California voted to ban the sale of garments made in whole or in part from animal fur within city limits. The ban is scheduled to take effect September 2013.
•    ShopKitson.com lists 12 Kitson brick-and-mortar locations in the Los Angeles area, including West Hollywood. 
•    From March 18, 2011 onwards, all animal fur wearing apparel sold in the United States, regardless of value, had to be advertised and labeled with the name of the animal killed for the fur, the country of origin of the fur, if the fur was dyed, and other important information—as required by the Fur Products Labeling Act, as amended by the Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010.
•    Violations of the Fur Products Labeling Act carry up to a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison.

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Media Contact: Jordan Crump: 301-548-7793, jcrump@humanesociety.org

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