International revealed, through laboratory testing, that a $299 Wittner branded
fur vest advertised extensively throughout Australia is not ‘rabbit fur’ as
labelled, but actually dog.
In 2004 following
an 18 month undercover operation in China, HSI exposed the dirty trade of dog and cat
fur into Australia. Our investigation
revealed over 2 million dogs and cats were being slaughtered in the most
horrific and inhumane ways possible. Our undercover footage of the ‘killing
rooms’ mobilised Australians to support our campaign to ban the import of dog
and cat fur.
response to our investigation was overwhelming, attracting the biggest outcry of
all the animal causes HSI has ever championed, resulting in one of the largest
petitions presented to the Australian parliament with over 70,000 Australians
signing on. This campaign resulted in immediate action by the Australian
Government, enacting a prohibition on all such imports.
Australia’s import ban
followed the lead of other countries like the United States, Italy, Denmark, France and Sweden. More
recently, the EU has joined the list of countries that want no part of this
horrific trade. “Therefore, it was disappointing to find dog fur back in a
major retail chain today,” said Verna Simpson, Director of Humane Society
International. “This means that it has come through Customs undetected and
this indicates there may be more product in the marketplace. We have today sent
our findings to Customs to demonstrate that this product has started to reappear
and ask them to increase their vigilance at border entry.”
Wittner as soon as the lab results came back and although they did not want to
discuss it with us, they have removed the product from stores and, in fact,
ceased to sell fur at all. We applaud Wittner for their swift action and
Michael Wittner responded today saying “Our company has announced its
decision to discontinue buying fur products.” He did want us to make the
point that this was nothing to do with our findings.
this product entering Australia again, the best policy for
retailers is to follow Wittner's lead and steer clear of any fur. Mislabelling
of fur out of China could mean that retailers are
unwittingly buying in to a cycle of cruelty,” said Verna Simpson. “The
brutality documented by our investigation team in the slaughtering of cats and
dogs is alarming because of the sheer abusive violence involved. Such cruelty
to any animal is totally unacceptable.”
The best policy
for shoppers is to avoid buying any fur products, as without laboratory testing
you could not tell if you are buying dog or cat fur and we are appealing to
retailers to do the same.
The global investigation's findings
The death toll is
conservatively estimated to be in the range of two million dogs and cats killed
annually for their fur. Usually 10 to 12 dogs and 24 cats are killed to
manufacture one coat - more if puppies or kittens are used.
The fur industry
deliberately misleads consumers about product composition. A dog product may be
sold as Gae-wolf, Sobaki, Racoon-dog and Asian jackal among many others. Cat
products are often sold as Wildcat, Goyangi and Katzenfelle to name only a
are employed to kill animals for their fur. Investigators witnessed and recorded
animals dying by slow suffocation, hanging, bludgeoning and clubbing, or
bleeding to death. All of these methods involve severe panic, trauma, and
needless prolonged suffering.
requirements are wholly inadequate allowing consumers to be misled. Unless
tested, dog and cat fur is often indistinguishable from other animals used by
the fur industry.
Footage and images from the undercover operation
available on request.
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