It is easy to disconnect yourself from the fur trade, until it becomes apparent that you could mistakenly be supporting this industry by purchasing mislabelled items.
Ornaments, toys and trinkets made with cat and dog fur are being sold to unknowing consumers across Australia, despite laws in place prohibiting their importation. The cats and dogs used overseas for their pelts are the same species that are kept as pets. Look at your fur kid – is their life worth a trinket?
Following a campaign in 2004 by the Humane Society Australia, which exposed the cruelty of the Chinese cat and dog fur industry, the Howard government announced a ban on the import of products made with cat and dog fur. A petition with 70, 000 signatures calling for the ban was sent to then Prime Minister John Howard. However, despite this ban, clothing, accessories, toys and ornaments made using cat and dog fur are still being sold in Australia. The cat and dog fur trade is an international issue, one that is continuing to plague the retail industry.
In March and May 2011, department store Myer and national chain Wittner Shoes came under scrutiny following claims by Humane Society International that some of the products on sale contained dog fur. Twelve items from Myer and Wittner that were labelled as either rabbit or raccoon fur, were tested by the Humane Society International and all tested positive for dog fur.
Myer responded to the claims quickly, pulling the line of clothing in question from the racks to allow for independent testing by CSIRO to verify the species of the fur. The issue was raised with Chinese suppliers that week. Myer and Wittner fought the claim, stating that independent testing was performed and that the fur was rabbit, not dog fur.
There is an ornament commonly sold at weekend markets that is produced from cat fur. The ornament is a curled up sleeping cat figurine covered in fur that looks and feels just like a real cat. There is no product label specifying the species of the fur and most believe that the fur used is rabbit fur which has been dyed to replicate the markings of a ginger or tabby cat In fact, the fur may have originated from what was once a treasured pet, stolen from a home. Clearly, the laws banning the import of dog and cat fur into the country are failing to be properly enforced if products like these are still available for sale.
China is the world’s largest producer and exporter of fur, supplying 85 per cent of the fur available globally. There are currently no Animal Welfare laws in this country. An estimated 2 million cats and dogs are slaughtered for their fur in China every year with many of the cats and dogs slaughtered for their pelts raised on fur farms, some are strays taken from the streets and others are actually pets stolen from homes.
Dog and cat fur farms are commonly found in the northern regions of China where exposure to the cold climate will result in longer and fluffier pelts. These animals live in overcrowded wire cages that offer no protection from the weather. They are deprived of proper food and fresh water, as they believe a weak animal is easier to slaughter.
If they need to be transported to slaughterhouses adjacent to wholesale markets (which sometimes take days) they are crammed into cages or sacks and are thrown from the top of the truck upon arrival, shattering their bones.
Australian consumers find the idea of wearing cat and dog fur abhorrent and refuse to support the trade and a growing number of Chinese consumers feel the same way and strongly oppose the cat and dog fur trade. Fur suppliers are well aware that Western consumers will not knowingly buy cat and dog fur, so therefore, items containing cat and dog fur are mislabelled, written in a foreign language, or not labelled at all.
It is difficult to distinguish between the look and feel of cat and dog fur and that of other species for the average consumer, especially if it has been dyed. Imported items made from cat fur are often mislabelled as fox, mink, mountain cat, or rabbit. Dog fur has been found mislabelled in Australian stores as Asian jackal, corsac fox, Mongolian dog, pommern wolf, raccoon dog and sobaki. Products made from cat and dog fur may even be mislabelled as faux.
The dog and cat fur issue will continue to be problematic, until harsher import and product labelling are enforced. Even if the laws do change to require all fur products to be labelled with the species and country of origin, DNA testing is the only way to be certain if a product contains cat or dog fur.
Given the risk associated with this deception, all Australian department stores (David Jones, Myer, Target, Big W and Kmart) have pledged to go fur free since October 2012.
This world first industry move will go a long way toward preventing the trade of cat and dog fur in Australia and protecting consumers.
Remember: Each fur article comes with an unimaginable amount of agony.
Thanks to: http://www.businessinfocus.com.au