Bundled up in her favorite long black and tan tweed coat, Eleanor strolled down the sidewalk enjoying the brisk chill in the air. A young woman approached Eleanor with a look of concern in her eyes and asked, “Excuse me, ma’am, but that’s not real fur on your collar, is it?” Eleanor was shocked, and quickly said, “Why no, I would never wear fur. It is an awful thing to kill an animal for its fur.” The young woman smiled and said, “Well, I’m sure glad you checked, I know it can be hard to tell sometimes,” and wished Eleanor a pleasant day.
After the woman walked away, Eleanor began to wonder what she had meant when she said she was glad she “checked” that the collar was not real fur. Why, she just assumed the fur was fake. The furry-looking lapel was dyed a creamy tan color, unlike any animal she’d ever seen. And the price sure didn’t indicate that it was real fur — she got a great deal on the coat. But was it actual fur? How awful she would feel to know that her purchase was an end product of animal suffering.
When faced with a “fuzzy” purchasing decision this season, consumers can take heart — API is here to help them feel confident in their fur-free shopping!
In a recent survey, more than 98 percent of API’s members felt that consumer issues, including fur, were an important priority for the organization. So as the holidays approach and fall merchandise fills the stores, API would like to offer our supporters some tips so that they can shop with confidence, knowing that their money is not benefitting the cruel and exploitative fur industry.
Unfortunately, the fur industry, this is an industry that is becoming increasingly adept at disguising fur, making it difficult for conscientious consumers to know whether a trimmed collar, boot cuff, fuzzy cat toy, or mitten lining is in fact a real animal product or simply a good synthetic. Even sales clerks may not know if a product is fur or faux!
Adding to the confusion is a loophole in the U.S. law for clothing labels. This loophole allows retail items priced under $150 not to carry any label indicating the type of animal fur used to create the fur-like trimming or effect. This means that if you’re considering buying an item that costs, say, $100, and are wondering whether the fluffy pink collar is real fur, you have to become a bit of a detective to ensure that your purchase is not supporting animal suffering!
Is it real or fake? is a quick “cheat sheet” to help you become an expert “fur or faux” detective.
When in doubt, API asks that you not purchase an item unless you are sure that it is fake fur. Better to err on the side of caution when it comes to potentially supporting animal suffering and death for fashion.
Fur Trim: What You Need to Know
These days, fur trim abounds — along with misconceptions about the real nature of this product.
Here are some facts about fur trim that you can use to educate your friends and family to help them avoid making uninformed purchases that support cruelty towards animals:
Fur and fur trim are not byproducts of the meat industry.
Many believe mistakenly that believe fur is “salvaged” after animals are killed to make meat; you may hear, for example, that rabbit fur is a byproduct of the rabbit meat industry.
The truth is, rabbits used for meat and rabbits used for fur are distinct breeds, slaughtered at different ages. Some breeds of rabbits are killed for their young tender meat; others for their fully developed fur pelts. And when is the last time you’ve had a “mink sandwich” or a “fox burger”?
Fur trim is not leftover from making a full length coat.
Another misleading claim you might hear is that fur trim consists of the scraps that are left over from the making of full-length coats. Ninety percent of the fur from foxes killed on fur factory “farms” are used in fur trim. Other animals commonly killed to be used as trim include rabbits, minks, chinchillas, coyotes, and sheep.
Even in the U.S., cat and dog fur are sold as fur trim.
It was only in 2000 that the U.S. banned the import of domestic dog and cat fur. However, items made from cats and dogs are still making their way into the U.S. market, often imported from China.
Each year more than two million dogs and cats are killed for the fur trade. The items made from cat and dog fur can be mislabeled to conceal the true nature of the fur.
An undercover investigation in China recently revealed gruesome “harvesting” of domestic dogs and cats for the fur trade. Such horrific acts will continue so long as consumers keep buying fur-trimmed items.
Quick Shopping Suggestions:
- Shop with confidence this season, and take the time to double check what appears to be fake fur, just to be sure it is, in fact, fake!
- Forego spending your money on purchases at stores that sell fur or fur trimmed items. Let store managers know that you wish to see them discontinue selling fur. Feel free to offer API as a resource if they would like to learn more about how a store that sells fur actually supports animal trappers, fur “farmers,” the fur processing industry, and shares the responsibility for animal suffering and death.
- Help friends and family by sharing with them your knowledge on fur, fur trim. By spreading compassion, you can help save animals’ lives!
API Fights Fur
As leaders in the fight against the fur industry, API asks that people educate themselves and those around them about the unimaginable suffering of animals living in fur “farms,” as well as those animals harvested from the wild by indiscriminant and inhumane traps. For more information on trapping and fur farms, visit API’s special website www.BanCruelTraps.org — or call us at 1-800-348-7387 with questions you may have about the fur trade.
To increase global awareness of the cruelty of fur, API is an active member of the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), an international coalition of more than 30 animal protection organizations who share the goal of ending the exploitation of animals for their fur. For more information about the collective efforts of API and the FFA, visit www.infurmation.org.