May 12, 2011
investigations over the past few weeks by Humane Society International
(HSI) have uncovered several clothing retail outlets, including major
national department stores, selling items containing dog fur.
bans on the importation of cat and dog fur pelts and products being
implemented back in 2004, following a campaign by HSI, seven years later
it would appear that these items have once again infiltrated our
borders, and have ended up in Australian stores.” said HSI Director Verna Simpson.
Following the discovery in February of dog fur in a vest being sold by Wittners,
a major national retailer, subsequent investigations and scientific
analysis of fur items being sold in other stores around Australia have
also tested positive for dog fur; despite being mislabelled as rabbit
fur and, in some cases, raccoon fur. HSI was instrumental in lobbying
the previous Coalition Government to impose a ban on the importation of
dog and cat fur back in 2004, which saw the Government pass amendments
to the Customs Import Regulations. We have also continued to call for
changes to labelling laws that would ensure that all fur products are
labelled with the species and country of origin so that consumers, and
retailers, are not mislead in the future.
see the retailers as victims in this deception, as at no point do they
think they are buying dog or cat fur. Most retailers are horrified when
they are told they are selling dog fur. When Myer was alerted to
the fact one of their designers had dog fur, they immediately withdrew
the product, with independent tests currently being conducted. They are
now adding their weight to our campaign to strengthen the legislation
banning dog and cat fur imports into Australia, calling for mandatory
species labelling.Clearly, there are weaknesses in stopping these
products at the border and we are calling on Customs to move quickly to
stop these illegal items are slipping into the country,” Ms Simpson said.
reporting the results of our investigation to Customs, HSI is extremely
disappointed at the slow response and apparent lack of action to have
these items removed from sale and the matter investigated, and has
written to the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Conner,
asking that he intervene.Unfortunately, not all retailers took the
swift action that Myer has and now we are relying on customs to enforce
Myer Management are currently in Shanghai meeting with over 60 suppliers. They are reiterating their Sale of Fur policy to all suppliers and advising that breaches of the policy will not be tolerated.
public response to this issue in the past has been overwhelming,
attracting by far the largest outcry of all the animal causes HSI has
ever championed,” said Ms Simpson. “Australian consumers
certainly don’t want to buy dog and cat fur products and most Australian
retailers do not want to be at risk of selling it. It is vital that the
Minister intervenes and ensures the gaps allowing these illegal
products onto the Australian market are closed immediately, and tighter
labelling laws, to protect both consumers and retailers, are enacted as
soon as possible.”
HSI has images of the fur vests and are available upon request.
- 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 public response
to our 2003 investigation was overwhelming, attracting by far the
biggest outcry of all the animal causes HSI has ever championed.
Australian consumers certainly don’t want to buy dog and cat fur
and most Australian retailers do not want to be at risk of selling
it. The then Minister for Customs received an unprecedented 10,000
direct representations on the issue and over 100,000 Australians
signed the petition to the Prime Minister, one of the largest
petitions ever to the Australian Parliament.
- The fur industry
deliberately misleads consumers about product composition. A dog
product may be sold as Gae-wolf, Sobaki, Raccoon and Asian Jackal
among many others. Cat products are often sold as Wildcat, Goyangi
and Katzenfelle to name only a few.
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