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19 October 2012 - WORLD FIRST as all Australian Department Stores ban real fur      

WORLD FIRST as all Australian Department Stores ban real fur

19 October, 2012                                                  

Humane Society International (HSI) is thrilled to announce that real fur is no longer being sold in any Australian Department Store!  HSI would like to thank David Jones, Myer, Target, Big W and Kmart for adopting official policies to be fur free, effective immediately.  HSI congratulates them all on this historic victory, which is the first time any country has seen fur banned in all Department Stores – Australia proudly leads the way highlighting the shift in attitudes, showing the world that the Australian public no longer tolerates such inhumane treatment of animals.  It will also act as the first step towards preserving the lives and ending the suffering of some of the millions of animals who fall victim to this cruel trade each year.

HSI’s Fur Free Retailer Campaign has given Australian retailers the opportunity to join the movement towards more compassionate fashion, and many have already signed the Fur Free Pledge.  Ms Verna Simpson, HSI Director said, “Lists of each retailer and fashion designer who have made the commitment to fur free fashion are now available at www.hsi.org.au and we are thrilled to have all the department stores, as well as significant chains including Oxford, Benetton, and Peter Alexander come on board.  The lists will certainly help the concerned public and our 50,000 Australian supporters choose ethical fashion.  We hope it will also encourage other retailers to ban fur products from their stores.”

A letter from David Jones to HSI written on behalf of Mr Paul Zahra, CEO stated that “David Jones takes its responsibility in relation to mitigating the exploitation of animals very seriously and in no way supports animal cruelty. As such, I am pleased to inform you that it is David Jones’ Policy not to stock fur products.”

Myer was the latest to announce their ethical commitment, and Ms Jo Lynch, General Manager Corporate Affairs commented “We appreciate that there are different views on the use of fur sourced by any means; however, we also acknowledge that community views on the use of fur in merchandise have changed, regardless of the source of that fur.”

Target Australia Pty Ltd also supports this movement and stated, “…we do not range merchandise made with real animal fur.”  Last month, HSI was delighted to receive a signed Fur Free Pledge from Ms Julie Coates, Director of major retailer Big W, committing not to sell any fur products in any of their stores.  Ms Tracie Walker, General Manager of Kmart supported the move by stating that “Kmart does not sell any fur garments, accessories or products containing fur in any of our stores.”

Although illegal, huge volumes of cat and dog fur still manage to cross the border into Australia and Border Protection still choose to ignore an issue that is so important to hundreds of thousands of Australians.  Many fur products are labelled as another species because Asia knows full well that fur from a domestic cat or dog would not be marketable here.  This also puts fashion retailers at great risk of breaking the law.

HSI went undercover to investigate the fur trade in Asia, the region that supplies most fur to Australia, and graphic footage showed the shocking level of cruelty involved.  They revealed the drastic lengths taken to cut costs, where people’s beloved pet cats and dogs are stolen for the trade, and animals are often still alive when they are skinned.  Last year evidence was also released that products containing dog and cat fur were reaching well-known high-street retailers here in Australia.  “I am sure you find it as intolerable as we do that your new fur vest or collar could contain fur from someone's beloved pet!” said Ms Simpson, HSI Director.  “The safest option is to simply avoid buying any fur products, so now with all the Australian Department Stores banning fur we can happily shop there without supporting such an inhumane industry.  A number of retailers are yet to make the commitment to go fur free, so we strongly encourage them to listen to the public demands and amend their policies.”

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