The Humane Society of the United States held a Capitol Hill press conference on Wednesday to publicly announce the disconcerting findings of a test study on American products containing “faux fur.”
They announced that of the twenty five jackets tested in the experiment, a starting twenty four were incorrectly labeled and many contained hair from raccoon dogs, a canine native to Asia and Europe that closely resembles a raccoon.
The garments used in the experiment were purchased by the Humane Society at retail stores such as J.C. Penney, Macy’s, and Burlington Coat Factory. Name brands utilized in the study included Tommy Hilfiger, Sean John, and Calvin Klein.
Importers find their way around U.S. restrictions on cat and dog fur products because no label is legally required for items under $150.
In a show of bipartisan consumer advocacy, Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia, and Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-New Jersey, promise to eliminate the loopholes used by these importers to peddle their illicit merchandise, with plans to officially add raccoon dogs to the list of unlawful imports and to re-write the laws so that all fur products require factual labeling, regardless of price.
According to the two representatives, they have already reintroduced legislation which they first put forward during Congresses last session.
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said, “This is an industry-wide problem, and our investigation demonstrates that retailers and designers aren’t paying close enough attention to composition of the fur trim they are selling. It’s especially problematic when the fur is sourced from China where domestic dogs and cats and raccoon dogs are killed in gruesome ways, even skinned alive. The safest course of action is for Sean Combs and other designers and retailers to stop using fur trim. That single act would solve the problems we have uncovered.”
The Humane Society may be getting its wish, as many of the stores and retail lines targeted in the study have already pulled the questionable products from their shelves and product lines in response to public embarrassment over the results.
According to Sean “Diddy” Combs, owner of the Sean John clothing line, “I was completely unaware of the nature of this material, but as soon as we were alerted, the garments were pulled off the Macy’s floor and website,”
Combs further said. “I have instructed our outerwear licensee to cease the production of any garments using this material immediately. I appreciate the tireless work that the Humane Society does and would like to thank them for bringing attention to this issue.”