Know what you are buying

Anyone who thought that fur had disappeared completely out of our society, should pay attention to this! Fur is making a comeback and it happens in a clever, sneaky way. No more flashy coats, but modest collars, sleeves and edges. 'Real' and 'fake' are mixed up. So it is necessary to be on your guard.
The text is written by Dr Joanna Swabe, 'Bont voor Dieren' (Dutch anti-fur organization): the article originally was published in 'Dier', magazine of the Dutch Society for the Protection of Animals.

In the past few years the fur industry has made frantic efforts to make fur popular again. In order to encourage them to work with real fur, famous fashion designers and even students of fashion academies are provided with free pelts. Subsequently famous pop stars and actresses are dressed up by fashion designers in the latest fur creations; the aim is to stimulate the sale of fur even more. In this way fur is  creeping into the collections again...

Deception
The fur industry is making huge efforts to make fur popular again. They do this, among other things, by providing misleading information about the origin and animal-friendliness of fur. This year the Dutch Fur Institute and the Dutch Federation for keepers of high-breed animals were convicted twice by the Advertising Standards Authority for misleading advertising. Fur is made in the same way as it was done in the past: millions of minks, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas and racoon dogs spend their short, sad lives in narrow cages, suffer from stress and boredom and are not able to show natural behaviour.

Fur from China
These days China is not only the largest producer, but also the most important exporter of fur clothing in the world. Recently the Swiss animal protectionists of Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) have visited a few  breeding farms for furred animals in China. Their report is shocking. Apparently furred animals, like foxes and racoon dogs, are bred under miserable conditions and often die in a horrible way. Besides, in China there is no legislation to protect the well-being of animals.

'Rabbit fur'
Much fur from China ends up in Dutch stores, but in the Netherlands there is no legal obligation to write on the product label that genuine fur was used and where it comes from, so the consumers have no guarantee at all about the origin of the product. Therefore it can happen that people who walk around wearing real fur presume that it is fake. Even if the animal species is mentioned, there are no guarantees. 'Rabbit fur' is often used as a cover for dog - and cat fur. DNA tests, performed under the authority of the Dutch anti-fur organization 'Bont voor Dieren', have indisputably proved this. The general public often presumes that rabbit fur is a by-product of rabbit meat for human consumption. Nothing is further from the truth. The fur industry is making such high demands on the means of production, that a residual product of the meat industry never can meet these requirements. Pelts of rabbits that are used in the fur industry dò come from rabbit breeds that are especially bred for their fur. Fortunately there are enough beautiful and warm alternatives for fur, for which not a single furbearing animal had to suffer. As a matter of principle, many fashion chains do not want to sell real fur and would love to see that their name is on the list of fur-free stores.

That concludes Swabe's report in 'Dier'
Clothes with dog - and cat fur are not allowed to enter the European Union anymore. As from 1 January 2009 a European Union import ban has become effective. The European Commission proposed the ban in November 2006, after receiving 10,000 letters of protest and 200,000 signatures. The United States, Australia and Switzerland also have a similar import ban.