Breaking news: Fur flies with new HSUS exposé of retailers selling real fur as fake

By on August 9, 2016 with 20 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

In the largest request for action we’ve ever submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), The HSUS has asked the FTC to enforce federal consumer protection laws against 17 retailers—including Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Kohl’s, and Nordstrom—for selling falsely advertised or labeled animal fur garments or accessories.

The petition encompasses 37 items of wearing apparel and accessories sold over four years—each advertised or labeled as “faux fur,” even though we confirmed they included animal fur, from animals such as raccoon dogs, rabbits, and coyotes.

Every one of the “faux fur” coats, footwear items, key chains, handbags, and cardigans our investigator purchased and examined was found to include animal fur, in violation of the Fur Products Labeling Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. In a few instances, the firms have violated standing consent orders issued by the FTC in response to prior HSUS investigations.

For over a decade, we’ve battled the problem of real fur being marketed and sold as fake, and in that time, on five separate occasions, we’ve asked the FTC to take action.

As the result of a lawsuit we brought in 2009, several major retailers including Saks, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales broke with others in the industry to endorse the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, which then passed in Congress in 2010. And just this January, we settled a contempt action in D.C. court brought against three major retailers for their continued false advertising of fur garments, including two of the three selling real fur marketed as “faux.”

Tens of millions of rabbits, foxes, raccoon dogs, and other animals endure terrible suffering and violent death to produce cheap trim for coats, hats, gloves, and other clothing items sold worldwide by these and other retailers.

Here, the situation could not be clearer. Americans have an absolute right to expect vigorous enforcement of any violations of law. The entire purpose of advertising and labeling is to apprise the consumer so that he or she can make an informed choice about the products in the marketplace. As more and more people are choosing to “go faux,” the importance of accurate information to consumers has only increased. The passage of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act in 2010 was intended to provide Americans with the assurance that garments containing real fur would be accurately labeled. This placed the freedom to ratify or reject cruelty to animals in the production of fur squarely in the marketplace, with the consumer, and that’s as it should be. It’s all the more unsettling that inattentive or, at worst, unscrupulous retailers are now hiding behind the “faux fur” label while continuing to use fur and fur trim deceptively in their commerce.

The government needs to crack down on such deception swiftly, not just for the sake of animals trapped in the fur trade, but also to protect the consumer’s right to ratify or to reshape the market as human attitudes trend decisively against the cruel and unnecessary use of fur. It’s past due to align the business practices of clothing retailers with the law of the land.

Animal Rescue and Care, Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. debbie catalina says:

    I have seen real fur ruffs on hunting jackets sold as faux fur at Walmart from China in the cold season.

  2. Charlotte Gerlof says:

    Why is the Truth in Fur Labeling Act not being enforced?This is totally unacceptable. Whoever is responsible needs to be held accountable with consequences. As a consumer we depend on our laws to be followed. If I were to break the law there would be consequences. I demand the same for those that just ignore laws and I as a consumer am duped. But more regretfully hapless sentient fur bearing animals are suffering under the very laws that were put in place to protect them. Enough already with these atrocities.

  3. Sharon Kalie says:

    Consumers must demand an end to these horrid practices and the lies that protect them. The HSUS petition is an important step but consumers must stop shopping at these retail and online sites until they follow the law.

    I just contacted Nordstrom, where I have shopped for over 25 years, and I plan to do the same with Amazon, where I have shopped since their beginning.

    Send emails and make calls! Let them know that you will not tolerate their shocking disregard for the animals, for their customers, and for the law.

    • Bonita Dukes says:

      Where do we get the email addresses and phone numbers of these companies? I would gladly call and email them but I have no idea how to find the proper email addresses/ phone #’s or even which department in which to be directed. Could you tell me where I (& others) can ascertain this information please? Thank You In Advance

  4. David Bernazani says:

    It seems safest to just never buy clothing with any kind of fur trim, “faux” or not. My wife never has and never will, nor will I. It’s totally unnecessary and looks juvenile anyway.

    • Adrienne Bishop says:

      I have adopted the same policy. I’m never sure if what I’m buying is real fur, so I just don’t buy any at all!

    • Bonita Dukes says:

      That is a very good idea. I still believe that any company profiting from the torture and murder of any animal for its fur, then deceiving the consumer into thinking they’re wearing a cruelty free garment should not only be fined, but have stiffer consequences, as the fines are never as much as the profit from their sale.

  5. Dodie says:

    That is really deplorable. I can say for myself I will never shop at those stores again and will alert my friends to comply.

  6. Andrew Marshall says:

    All fur is abhorrent and there is no place for it in the 21st century.

  7. Louise Hansen says:

    Could you please publish a list of all the stores? Thank you.

  8. Kate D says:


    What should we do if we find articles that are real fur?

  9. Susan Trout says:

    A previous commenter made the exact same statement as I’m making–Why wear any fur at all. Even if it’s not real, you are projecting to those who may be ignorant about animals suffering in the real fur trade that wearing fur is fashionable. NO! It’s not! It doesn’t project status. It’s not even pretty and as far as warmth and protection from the elements, there are countless fabrics and materials that keep you warm and dry without even a thought of harming a live being. Humans need to grow up and evolve. And please save your breath about having the freedom to buy and wear what we want. Freedom doesn’t guarantee you the right to be cruel and that’s what real fur is–cruelty from beginning to end.

  10. Joy Louters says:

    Since, Amazon, Kohl’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom seem to think it’s alright to lie to the people who buy their over-priced stuff to begin with, I officially reserve the right to refuse to shop with all of them ever again.

    I am so tired of being lied to! I do not buy any fur for this reason. I know from experience that the retailers lie through their teeth. Several years ago Burlington Coat Factory was exposed for using domestic dog fur on their coats. They breed dogs for their fur in Asia!!!!! I saw some of the videos of precious puppies being born only to be skinned alive and then their fur sold to some retailer to adorn a coat worn by a sick person who thinks it’s okay to kill animals for their fur. I have boycotted Burlington every since and will never shop there again. Of course they played dumb saying they didn’t know. The label said, “dog fur”! So they donated $100,000 to the Humane Society hoping all would be forgotten. I haven’t forgotten and never will. And now I have several others to add to my list. If they think they can get by with this, they need to think and think again.

  11. Jody Peterson says:

    I have such an aversion to fur, real or fake, I’m not even tempted to buy it.
    Ban Fur Globaly

  12. Carol Willans says:

    When I lived in Ontario Canada. My ex husband was always buying me fur of some kind . Coats any trimed with fur etc. One day I gave them all away!” I could not wear them any more and they went against my heart. It was all for status and I could not have cared less. When I see an animal that has been killed on the road (a common sight on the way to the lake);I pray. For the Spirit of the animal and healing for the violence to the earth . I taught each of my children and grand children to do the same .

  13. BirdieKate says:

    Bought gloves this weekend to give as gifts. They were oh-so-lovely, with trim that was labeled as faux rabbit fur, but oh my gosh, it was too nice, and it just kept nagging at me that it couldn’t be fake. Found the Humane Society’s sheet on the guidelines for testing fur, went through all the steps, and my fears were correct – horribly, sadly, the fur was real. Returned the gloves; the shop owner said she’d been assured the fur was fake – now she knows this consumer (literally) didn’t buy that. The gloves were marketed by an Ohio-based company, but made in China – and that’s the problem right there, what do they care about complying with our laws? I’ve gotten in touch with the Ohio company, sent them closeups of the goods and a copy of the testing guidelines. I hope they understand what this implies for them. 🙁 So very sad.

  14. Marlene Elizabeth Ponce says:

    Hola quiero decirles que le digan al dueño de AMAZON ya que tanto se preocupa por la ECOLOGIA que deje de vender pieles reales .

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