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4 October 2011 - Australian Government Ignores Cruel Dog Fur Trade      

Australian Government Ignores Cruel Dog Fur Trade

4 October 2011


Humane Society International (HSI) is extremely disappointed in the Government’s recent inaction to confirmation of the illegal importation of dog fur into Australia, despite a statutory ban on this cruel product entering the country.

In 2004, as a direct result of an HSI campaign, the Australian Government passed amendments to Commonwealth import regulations, effectively banning the importation of any dog and cat fur products and ensuring voters that we would not buy in to this cruelty.

Subsequent to our discovery in February this year of dog fur in a vest being sold by a major national retailer, investigations and independent scientific analyses of fur items being sold in other stores around Australia, have also tested positive for dog fur despite being mislabelled as rabbit fur or even fake fur.

HSI maintains that where an issue is important enough for Parliament to change legislation, it should also be important enough for that legislation to be effectively enforced,” says HSI director, Verna Simpson.

Unfortunately, not all retailers took swift action once HSI notified them of the problem, and so we turned to the Commonwealth Government to enforce the legislation.  In recent months HSI has written on a number of occasions alerting the Minister, Customs and Border Protection Service (Customs) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to the findings of our dog fur importation investigation. 

Further investigations by HSI have also revealed independent scientific results showing such fur products testing positive for hexavalent chromium, a toxic and carcinogenic chemical used in the leather tanning process that can cause severe health impacts for humans.  Results exceeded recommended levels in leather goods by an incredible 133 to 733 times.

Despite reporting the results of our investigation to Government, HSI is extremely disappointed at the slow response and apparent lack of action in having these items removed from sale, and wrote to the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, asking that he intervene. 

While we remain disappointed at the lack of action, a number of issues have been highlighted as a result of our talks with Government, especially with Customs and the ACCC,” explains Ms Simpson. “HSI has been informed that once these fur items have made it past the border, Customs has little power to take further direct action.  Further, upon requesting action from the ACCC, HSI has been notified that the matter was not of significant and widespread public detriment to warrant further action being taken!

Ms Simpson states, “HSI’s most recent dealing with Minister O’Connor has resulted in the Government washing its hands of the matter, leaving extreme cruelty unchecked, and forcing HSI to reveal again the horrific footage from our Chinese undercover investigation.” 


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