Today I’m pleased to announce that Burlington Stores (formerly Burlington Coat Factory), after discussions with The HSUS, has gone 100 percent fur-free – no full-length furs, no fur trim, no fur at all in the company’s vast offerings of coats and other garments. Burlington has nearly 600 stores and $6 billion in revenue, and its fur-free policy represents the latest example of a company responding to consumers’ changing attitudes about animals and cleansing its supply chain of animal fur.
This has been an extraordinary year for the anti-fur movement, with Gucci committing last month to a fur-free policy. Earlier in the year, Yoox Net-a-Porter made a similar announcement. And last year, The HSUS teamed up with Armani to make a similar pledge. Burlington’s action adds a mainstream, middle-class brand to the roster of successes.
According to its new policy, “Burlington Stores will not knowingly procure or sell items containing real animal fur beginning in the Fall of 2017.” Moreover, because Burlington’s buying-in-bulk model could result in mistakes where fur inadvertently ends up in its possession, the company is taking laudable steps to ensure that it doesn’t profit from such mistakes, and that mistakenly-procured fur items don’t end up in the open market.
“If we learn of real animal fur in our assortments, we will either return that merchandise to the vendor or donate the merchandise to a charitable, not-for-resale organization,” the policy stipulates.
Through the years, Burlington and The HSUS have collaborated to address a number of problems within the fur industry. In the late 1990s, The HSUS worked with Burlington to rid its shelves of dog fur. At that time, no federal law prohibited the import of cat and dog fur, but after dog fur was found in Burlington’s stock, the company vigorously took action, working with us to help Congress pass the Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000, which made selling dog fur illegal. Years later, The HSUS discovered real fur being sold as faux fur by some of the biggest names in fashion – including Barneys NY, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Burlington. This led to the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, which gave consumers the information needed to avoid real animal fur.
With the marketplace amply supplied with faux fur garments, and other synthetic and natural fibers, there’s no excuse to use fur, given what we know about the cruelty of killing animals with body-gripping traps or by electrocution or by breaking their necks on fur farms. We applaud Burlington for this important move, and we hope that others in the sector follow suit. A fur-free future is starting to take shape, and we’ll be none the worse for it in terms of our style or warmth. And, most importantly, we’ll be doing so much better in fulfilling our duties to the creatures who depend on our goodness and mercy.