“I think fashion is wonderful, being one of the many artforms of human self-expression. It reflects quite darkly on humanity, however, that any part of our self-expression should take its form in the death or destruction of other species. Wearing fur simply out of a desire for aesthetic beauty and self-expression is no more and no less than that.”- Rebecca Hendin
(July 18, 2012) – Following a two-year investigation, The Humane Society of the United States is revealing that a New York City business, Unique Product Enterprises, advertised and sold numerous products containing “dog fur” in apparent violation of federal law. The HSUS referred the matter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which opened its own investigation that resulted in the removal of advertisements for the products from the company’s website.
The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 bans the import and interstate advertisement and sale of items made from dog or cat fur. Congress passed the law after a previous investigation by The HSUS in the late 1990s documented the sale of dog fur in the United States. Given the shocking nature of the current revelations that dog fur is apparently still being sold in the U.S., The HSUS is requesting that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York take action to enforce the Dog and Cat Protection Act and ensure that the company does not continue to advertise or sell dog fur.
The HSUS purchased four items – a blanket, a vest, a pair of gloves, and a belt – after receiving a tip from a member of the public about dog fur being advertised for sale. Independent laboratory analysis determined the fur contained in the products was “…consistent with having originated from a domestic dog…”
“Much of the domestic dog fur in the world market comes from China, where conditions are brutal – animals beaten, crammed into tiny cages, and even skinned alive,” said Pierre Grzybowski, policy and enforcement manager for The HSUS’s Fur-Free Campaign. “Today’s announcement should serve as a warning to designers, retailers and the public that dog fur is still entering the U.S. market.”
The four tested items – and nine others – were advertised on the company’s website in both Russian and English, and several items were also advertised in Russian in a Russian-language magazine based and distributed in the New York City area, and in Russian on YouTube. One product contained a manufacturing label with Chinese characters indicating that the product was made by a company in Western China.
The HSUS expressed its thanks to U.S. Customs and Border Protection for conducting an investigation of the matter and taking action to enforce the federal law prohibiting the sale of dog and cat fur.
The HSUS urges designers, retailers and consumers to avoid all animal fur products. Faux fur, when honestly labeled, is an acceptable and cruelty-free alternative and the only sure way to enjoy the fashion while still guaranteeing that dogs and cats are not being killed for their fur.
For a copy of the complete investigative report, including photos of the purchased items and online advertisements, please visit, www.humanesociety.org/dogfur. Additional photos and b-roll are available upon request.
The Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Act of 2000
Under federal law (19 USC Sec. 1308): “It shall be unlawful for any person to – (A) import into, or export from, the United States any dog or cat fur product; or (B) introduce into interstate commerce, manufacture for introduction into interstate commerce, sell, trade, or advertise in interstate commerce, offer to sell, or transport or distribute in interstate commerce in the United States, any dog or cat fur product.” The law provides for penalties that include fines up to $10,000 per violation, and the law establishes a reward of no less than $500 for persons providing information that results in a penalty assessment or other enforcement action.
(June 5, 2012) – The Humane Society of the United States praised leading denim retailer, True Religion Brand Jeans, for pledging to become fur-free. The decision came just days after supporters of The HSUS, many of whom are also True Religion customers, contacted the company urging it to reverse its recent decision to begin selling animal fur after several years of being fur-free.
“We want to thank True Religion for doing the right thing and re-adopting a fur-free policy,” said Michelle McDonald, fashion outreach manager for The HSUS. “This decision will help protect some of the millions of animals that fall victim to the fur trade each year.”
The HSUS received information several months ago that True Religion was selling an item described as being trimmed with animal fur. Investigators for The HSUS purchased the item in March of this year and confirmed it was indeed animal fur.
A spokesperson for True Religion recently issued the following statement to The HSUS:
“This email confirms our telephone conversation Thursday, May 31st wherein I informed to you the commitment of True Religion Brand Jeans to be a ‘fur free’ company. Please be advised that there are no True Religion fur products being sold domestically. The few remaining products in the supply chain are limited to international markets. Going forward no new products will be added to our supply chain.”
The HSUS urges all designers and retailers to adopt fur-free policies to protect the millions of rabbits, foxes, mink, raccoon dogs and other animals who suffer and die annually for their pelts. Only by not selling any animal fur can companies be assured they are not complicit in animal suffering or the false advertising and labeling that plague the industry.
The HSUS promotes more than 300 fur-free retailers and designers online at humanesociety.org/
Amsterdam, The Netherlands – May 29, 2012
Over a hundred Dutch designers, stylists, fashion magazines, photographers and celebrities are calling upon Amsterdam Fashion Week by means of an open letter to choose for a fur-free Fashion Week. They believe that putting fur-free fashion shows on stage is a logical step towards an innovative, sustainable and animal friendly event. Amongst the supporters are Esther Coppoolse (fashion director ELLE), Simone Dernee (fashion director Marie Claire), Hilmar Mulder (editor-in-chief Grazia), former founder of Amsterdam Fashion Week James Veenhoff, fashion designers Conny Groenewegen, Bas Kosters, Hans Ubbink and Jacob Kok. Photographers Petrovsky & Ramone, actress Anna Drijver and presenter Nicolette Kluijver are also supporting this initiative.
The open letter is an initiative of animal rights organization Bont voor Dieren, fashion collective Fur Free Fashion and designer Michael Barnaart van Bergen. Amsterdam Fashion Week is not only the place to be within the Dutch fashion scene, but the event has also become a place where sustainable fashion is encouraged. Steps have been taken by seeking cooperation with the sustainable Amsterdam Eco Cluster en by supporting several conscious fashion initiatives. The Green Fashion Competition, which has become an integral part of Amsterdam Fashion Week since 2010, is a good example of this.
However, the initiators and supporters of the open letter believe that this ambition in sustainability does not coincide with showing real fur on the catwalk. In 2011, independent research company CE Delft has conducted a research to the environmental consequences of producing fur. The pollution caused by the production of one kilo of mink fur proved to be five times higher then what producing one kilo of cotton would cause. The study shows that mink breeding has a serious and unnecessary impact on aspects such as climate change, pollution and soil acidification. And besides being an environmental burden, producing fur is also very harmful to animals. In reality, mainly wild animals are bred solely for their skin and with no regard for their well being, resulting in a terrible death. This is obviously the reason why the Dutch government – except from allowing breeding and killing mink – banned the production of fur. In July 2009 a majority of the House of Representative’s (Tweede Kamer) even also voted in favour of a ban on mink breeding in the Netherlands.
Last year, the Oslo Fashion Week was the first fashion week in the world to implement a fur-free policy. Bont voor Dieren, Fur Free Fashion and designer Michael Barnaart van Bergen also envision Amsterdam Fashion Week to be a place where sustainability and fashion go hand in hand. Through this letter – that is largely supported by the Dutch fashion scene – the initiators hope to persuade the board of Amsterdam Fashion Week to choose a fur-free policy.
Stichting Bont voor Dieren is an organization that aims to protect animals and campaigns against fur. Fur Free Fashion is an initiative by dj’s Jojanneke van der Veer and Femke Dekker. Fashion designer Michael Barnaart van Bergen is popular amongst Dutch celebrities thanks to his timeless and clear designs.
Supporters of a fur-free AFW are:
1. Hilmar Mulder (editor-in-chief Dutch Grazia)
2. Esther Coppoolse (fashion director Dutch ELLE)
3. Simone Dernee (fashion director Dutch Marie Claire)
4. Astrid Schilders (fashion director RED Magazine)
5. Debby Gerritsen (editor-in-chief Vega Magazine)
6. Leontine van den Bos (editor-in-chief Margriet Magazine)
7. Jossine Modderman (editor-in-chief VIVA Magazine)
8. Anna Drijver (actress)
9. Elsien Gringhuis (designer)
10. Bas Kosters (designer)
11. Hans Ubbink (designer)
12. Conny Groenewegen (designer)
13. Jacob Kok (designer)
14. Antoine Peters (designer)
15. Gijs Stork (founder /SALON)
16. Rogier Vlaming (editor-in-chief Glamcult)
17. Marline Bakker (art director Glamcult)
18. JOFF (fashion director Blend)
19. Sandra Govers (make-up artist)
20. Hester Vlamings (designer)
21. Nicolette Kluijver (presenter)
22. Susan Smit (writer)
23. Georgina Verbaan (actress)
24. Sanne Vogel (actress)
25. Mirik Milan (night mayor Amsterdam)
26. Bridget Maasland (presenter)
27. Andy Tan (photographer)
28. Petrovsky & Ramone (photographers)
29. Thekla Reuten (actress)
30. Nieuw Jurk (designer)
31. Ganbaroo PRPR (PR agency)
32. Robbie Baauw (photographer)
33. Mo Veld (fashion journalist)
34. Twin Couture (designer)
35. And Beyond (designer)
36. Willa Stoutenbeek / W. Green (PR specialist)
37. Sheila Hill (fashion DJ)
38. NON by KIM (designer)
39. Odette Simons (stylist)
40. LEW by Leemans & Wicker (designer)
41. Hadewych Minis (actress)
42. Jojanneke van der Veer / DJ Wannabeastar (CEO at WANNABEASTAR)
43. Andrea van Pol (presente)
44. Yo de Boer (photographer)
45. Vaag Magazine (fashion and lifestyle website)
46. Peter-Frank Heuseveldt (producer)
47. Gabrielle Koster (editor ELLE online)
48. Tim Groen (photographer)
49. Quoc Thang (designer)
50. Rachid Naas (producer)
51. Merel Boers / Miss Blackbirdy (designer)
52. Marcha Hüskes (designer)
53. Claudy Jongstra (designer)
54. Alex Kaseta (VJ)
55. Leon Verdonschot (writer)
56. ATTI (illustrator)
57. Sanne Groot-Koerkamp (journalist)
58. Sage and Ivy (designer)
59. Laf Wear (designer)
60. Renée Sturme (photographer)
61. Miro Zwering (owner 2PR)
62. Inge Ipenburg (actress)
63. Liza Chloë (fashion blogger)
64. Elza Jo (photographer)
65. Bonne van der Ree (designer)
66. Ilona de Leeuw (hair stylist)
67. Kim Vos (catwalk coach)
68. Iefke de Roos (designer)
69. Charlotte Markus (photographer)
70. Yvonne Nusdorfer (make-up artist)
71. Sjaak Pul (artist manager)
72. Jeroen Hofman (photographer)
73. Paula Udondek (presenter)
74. Edith Dohmen (stylist)
75. Strange Boutique (fashion DJ’s)
76. Sabrina Bongiovanni (photographer)
77. Barry Hullegie (photographer)
78. Niek Pulles (designer)
79. Susanne Clermonts (artist Krause)
80. Maudy Alferink (designer
81. Anne Barhoorn (screenwriter)
82. Marieke Eyskoot / Talking Dress (ethical fashion expert)
83. Dennis Duijnhouwer (photographer)
84. The G-Team (DJ’s)
85. Kimberley Klaver (actress)
86. Eva Anna Hekking / EAH! (designer)
87. Margreet Olsthoorn (MGHO)
88. Lisa Anne Stuyfzand (stylist)
89. Eric van den Elsen (photographer)
90. Rianne de Witte (designer)
91. Mette te Velde (Founder of Strawberry Earth)
92. Ikenna Azuike (Founder of Strawberry Earth)
93. Salvador Breed (sound designer / producer)
94. Loretta Schrijver (presenter)
96. Amadea Boneschansker (model / campaigner)
97. Elsbeth Struijk van Bergen (photographer)
98. Froukje Jansen (presenter)
99. Frans Piek (artist)
100. Daphne van der Voorde (photographer)
101. Jennifer Delano (agent Delano PR en writer)
102. Sallie Harmsen (actress)
103. Ingrid van Hemert (make-up artist)
104. Wouter van den Brink (photographer)
105. Sasja Strengholt (director Deux d’Amsterdam)
106. Saba Babas-Zadeh (creative director and curator)
107. Marian Mudder (actress)
108. Cleo Campert (photographer)
109. Ilonka Leenheer (writer / columnist Dutch ELLE)
110. Thomas Vermeer (stylist)
111. Cynthia Schrijver (stylist)
112. Marij Rynja (blogger)
113. Mounira Hadj Mansour (actress)
114. Edel Verzijl (fashion photographer Sticky Stuff)
115. Egbert Jan Weeber (actor)
116. Tygo Gernandt (actor)
117. Sita Willemse (owner Open Shop)
118. Hanka van der Voet (lecturer ArtEZ Fashion Masters)
119. Jantine van Peski (designer)
120. Richard Schreefel (stylist)
121. Ilja Visser (designer)
122. Peter Heysteeg (general manager Ilja Visser Group)
123. Esther de Leeuwe (sales manager Ilja Visser Group)
124. Peter Bas Mensink (publisher / founder GUP)
125. Analik Brouwer (designer)
126. Paul Berends (photographer)
128. Ellen van Exter (make-up artist)
129. Lukas Göbel (photographer)
130. Marieke van den Biggelaar (illustrator)
131. Miriam van ‘t Veer (presentor I Love Work)
132. Isis Vaandrager (stylist)
133. Christine Bornfeld (designer & editor)
134. Irene Dirks (ECO blogger)
135. Karlijn Visser (owner of Goodiebag girl)
136. Evelien Bosch (presenter)
137. Joshua Rood (photographer)
138. James Veenhoff (former founder of Amsterdam Fashion Week)
139. Arno van Kantelberg (editor-in-chief Esquire)
140. Iris van Herpen (designer)
141. Renu Kashyap (stylist)
(April 10, 2012) ─ 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.
- 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.