: Labelling

Czech Trade Inspection Authority: majority of fur items mislabelled

PRAGUE, 5 JUNE 2018 – The majority of fur items or fur-trimmed items in Czech Republic are mislabelled or not labelled at all. This alarming conclusion, that resulted from an investigation of Czech animal protection organisation Freedom for Animals in early 2017, is backed by new research results of the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTIA).

Between November 2017 and January 2018, the CTIA conducted an inspection to examine whether fur labelling in Czech is carried out in compliance with the existing legislation. The results are alarming: only 2 out of 12 control samples were labelled correctly. Four items did not mention real fur at all; five items were not labelled in compliance with the Regulation No 1007/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council on textile fibre names, and one item did not contain a label in the Czech language. The items that were tested were mainly jackets and hats with fur trim or fur pom poms.

cat fur sold as faux fur

The CTIA carried out this inspection following similar research by Freedom for Animals published in March 2017. In fall 2016, the organisation inspected and documented 53 items containing real fur, with alarming results. Lucie Moravcová, anti-fur campaign coordinator of Freedom for Animals, says:

“We found out that 81 % of the samples were not labelled as containing parts of animal origin or fur as they should be according to the relevant legislation.”

For the vast majority of Czech shoppers who reject the cruelty of the fur trade, trying to buy only fake fur can be a real challenge. A public opinion poll, conducted by Focus Agency and published in spring 2017, showed that 85 % of people are not interested to buy real fur and 77 % expect to find correct information on clothing labels. Moravcová adds:

“This topic is highly delicate for customers – the majority of people in the Czech Republic does not want to buy real fur. It is important to be aware of the fact that faux fur is increasingly similar to real animal fur both in appearance and touch as well as price. Thus, these characteristics, formerly used as a way of distinguishing real fur from faux fur, are not reliable anymore. It is clear that current legislation does not guarantee proper protection for the customers. We consider the regulation insufficient and we believe it should state in detail those parts of animal origin in question. However, the regulation must be observed in the first place.”

The Czech investigation was part of an European collaboration of the member organisations of the Fur Free Alliance. Across 10 countries in Europe, 667 textile products containing real fur were inspected. 68 % of the samples did not contain the required information. In September 2017, FFA representatives presented the results of the investigation to the Members of the European Parliament after which they met with the EU commissioners in March 2018 to stress the need to improve the legislation to ensure better labelling of real fur.

More than one year after the publication of the results, European consumers are still duped into buying real fur because a large part of fur items remain mislabelled or not labelled at all, as recent findings of Four Paws in Germany and the Humane Society International in the UK have proven once more.

The Fur Free Alliance will continue to address the high levels of non-compliance and the inadequacy of the current labelling legislation across Europe. The new evidence, as a result of the CTIA inspection, will   to the European Commission.

Jo Swabe, Senio Director of Public Affairs of FFA member organisation Humane Society International/Europe, says:

“The CTIA inspection confirms the results of investigations carried out by FFA member organizations in 10 European countries: huge number of products are not labelled in compliance with Article 12, Regulation on textile fibre names. We proved that the current legislation does not serve its purpose and it is time to take necessary steps to prevent further misleading practices as customers have the right to know what they are buying. The European Commission must act to ensure clearly labelled fur parts.”

The Czech society is increasingly critical towards fur production. The public concerns and concerns on animal welfare led the Czech Republic Senate to vote with an overhelming majority for a prohibition of fur farming in July 2019. The ban on fur farming will go into effect on February 1, 2019. With this decision, Czech Republic became the 9th European country to decide for a fur farming ban.

New report calls for clearer labelling of real fur products in the EU

27 SEPTEMBER 2017, BRUSSELS – A new report by the Fur Free Alliance, presented at the European Parliament today, has revealed a woeful lack of compliance with an EU Regulation introduced in 2012 to alert consumers to the presence of real animal fur in textile products, leading the animal protection coalition to call on the Commission to urgently introduce transparent, mandatory labelling of all real animal products offered for sale within the European Union.

Fur Labelling_Social Media Promo (1)

Researchers in ten countries across the EU undertook a survey of 667 items of clothing containing real animal fur but failed to find the required wording in 68 per cent of cases. The problems were found to be most acute at the lower end of the fashion market on real fur items costing less than €50. These findings add to the groups’ concerns that the EU Textile Labelling Regulation (1007/2011) – even if fully complied with – does not go far enough to ensure consumers are being provided with the clear information they need to make an informed choice.

Read the full report Mislabelled and Misleading: Fur Labelling Problems in the EU Market

Dr Joanna Swabe, senior director of public affairs for Fur Free Alliance member organisation Humane Society International/Europe, says:

“This report shows that clothes shopping can be a serious minefield for consumers who wish to avoid real animal fur because of the cruelty involved in its production. We are concerned that the EU law is failing to adequately protect consumers. The issues we have identified, coupled with the worrying lack of compliance we have found, are leaving shoppers vulnerable to buying products they would normally choose to avoid for ethical reasons. Therefore, we are calling on the Commission to introduce legislation that simply requires all real fur to be clearly labelled as real fur.”

At present, there is no requirement for products containing real fur to state that fact on the label. Instead, the labelling Regulation, introduced in 2012, requires some items containing animal products (such as real fur, leather, feather, down and bone) to carry the wording “Contains non-textile parts of animal origin”. However, as the study shows, many real fur products are not carrying the wording and, even more confusingly for consumers, some of those same items are labelled as “100% Acrylic” or similar. 

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In addition, as the Regulation only covers textiles, a wide range of products, such as footwear, handbags and keychain accessories that contain real animal fur can be sold without any such labelling requirement.

The report findings also challenge the belief, held by many consumers, that real fur is expensive, with items trimmed with real fur, including the ubiquitous pompom bobble hats and hooded coats, found on sale for less than €50.

With autumn approaching and retailers stocking up on winter clothing, consumers need to be vigilant to avoid real animal fur – just because it’s a cheap price doesn’t mean it isn’t real fur; and just because the label doesn’t state it is made from real fur, doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain real fur.


It is becoming increasingly clear that the 2012 Regulation is failing consumers. The European Commission needs to take urgent action to ensure that there is transparency in the marketplace and that all products containing real fur are required, by law, to be clearly and accurately labelled so that consumers can decide whether or not they wish to buy them,


Advertising Standards Authority reprimands “animal-friendly fur” labels

30 JULY 2017, THE NETHERLANDS – Last week the Dutch Advertising Standards Authority forced the fur brand Airforce to remove false animal-friendly claims from their labels. The company was selling jackets with raccoon dog fur trims labelled as ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’.

Raccoon dogs are farmed in China in atrocious conditions with hardly any inspections taking place. The Chinese region Tongxiang, where Airforce sources its fur, is known for the severe abuse revealed on fur farms by undercover investigations.

Raccoon dogs fur farm

Dennis van den Hoorn, CEO of Airforce, says the decision is ridiculous: “My company shows that we are buying responsible Chinese fur”. However, Van den Hoorn says he does not have any prove that there isn’t abuse taking place on the farms:

“Of course our animals aren’t tickled to death, that is clear. But well, I am not present the moment when they are skinned.”

Nicole van Gemert, director of Dutch Fur Free Alliance member Bont voor Dieren – the organisation that the filed the complaint about the misleading labels – is glad with the decision:

“The labels used by Airforce to sell their fur trimmed jackets were misleading consumers into thinking fur is animal-friendly.”






Illegal cat fur sold as faux fur on British high-street

10 APRIL 2017, LONDON—An investigation by Fur Free Alliance member Humane Society International/UK has discovered shoes containing real cat fur for sale on the British high-street by youth fashion chain Missguided.

The import and sale of fur from domestic cats and dogs has been banned across the EU since 2009, and Missguided is a vocal advocate of its fur-free policy. Despite this, laboratory tests confirmed that the pom-poms of fur decorating the shoe were cat fur [1]. The shoes, which have been on sale by the retailer both online and at its Westfield Stratford store, list only man-made materials on the label.

 cat fur sold as faux fur

Concerned shopper Donna Allison alerted HSI/UK to the shoes after suspecting they contained real animal fur, despite receiving an assurance from the store’s official Twitter account of their policy to only sell fake fur. In countries such as China – where the Missguided shoes were made – an estimated two million cats a year, including pet cats, are snatched from the streets and killed for their meat and fur.

HSI has contacted Missguided about the finding and has forwarded the information to Trading Standards and asked that the enforcement authority investigates the findings further in relation to the The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008. Donna Allison said:

“I find it horrifying that Missguided and other retailers are selling real fur — in my case cat fur — and that they didn’t appear to take action when I raised my concerns about this serious issue. All retailers should be taking action to ensure complete traceability of their materials. It’s unacceptable that they are helping fund an industry where animals have to endure unimaginable cruelty and for something so unnecessary. I urge everyone to be more vigilant and understand how to identify and ensure they’re buying faux fur.”

Whilst trade in dog, cat and also seal fur is banned across the EU, and all fur farming has been illegal on moral grounds in the UK since 2003, imports of fur from a range of species such as fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, racoon dog and chinchilla can still be legally sold here. It’s a double standard that makes no moral sense, and yet as a member of the EU single market, unilaterally banning the trade of fur into the UK would likely have been challenged in Brussels and by EU member nations that continue to farm animals for their fur.

cat fur sold as faux fur

However, Brexit offers the opportunity to change that, and HSI/UK is calling on the British government to make the United Kingdom a fur-free zone by extending the cat, dog and seal fur bans to all fur-bearing species. A 2016 YouGov opinion poll [2] asked whether people found it acceptable or unacceptable to buy and sell fur from nine different species and found that, averaged across all species, only one in ten people believe it is acceptable to buy and sell real fur. Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, said:

“It is extremely concerning to find cat fur on sale illegally in the UK, both because of the cruelty that cat and all fur products represent, but also because it will rightly dent the confidence of consumers seeking to buy only fake fur. Fake faux fur is a growing problem; when items have cheap price tags and labels saying ‘100% acrylic’, consumers can understandably be caught out mistaking them for fake fur, when in fact they contain fur from a tormented animal. Independent stores, popular markets like Camden, as well as online retailers such as Amazon are awash with cheap animal fur-trimmed garments that are either mislabelled as ‘faux’ or not labelled at all. To properly protect both animals and consumers the government needs to take action to stop Britain’s insidious fur trade.”

The Missguided ‘fake faux’ fur shoes are the latest in a large number of similar items exposed by HSI/UK over the past couple of years, including several well-known high-street brands. Most recent items discovered by HSI’s secret shoppers from December 2016 – February 2017 include:

 *   another shoe style at Missguided that tested positive for rabbit fur;

 *   a pair of gloves at ‘fur free’ retailer House of Fraser that tested positive for rabbit fur;

 *   a range of shoes from Westfield Stratford store Primars all sold as fake fur but found in tests to contain fur from rabbit, mink and fox;

 *   a bobble hat sold on Amazon UK as faux fur but testing positive for raccoon dog or fox fur (this listing included an on-screen no-fur assurance); and

 *   another bobble hat sold on popular fashion boutique website Lily Lulu sold as “faux fur” online, labelled as 10% marmot on delivery but testing positive for raccoon dog fur when sent to the lab

In several cases where HSI’s secret shopper questioned staff in-store, they incorrectly confirmed items were faux fur. HSI/UK believes that most consumers would be horrified to discover they’ve inadvertently bought real fur. HSI’s Claire Bass said:

“We know that the vast majority of British people reject the inherent cruelty of the fur trade but at the moment they are not getting the right information as consumers to avoid it. Clear labelling of all fur is an obvious starting point that will likely reduce the UK’s fur trade significantly, but we don’t believe that goes far enough. Whether it’s fur from coyotes caught in the wild in agonising traps, raccoon dogs and foxes enduring miserable lives and painful deaths by electrocution on fur farms, or cats bludgeoned to death in China, we believe all fur is cruel and should be banned regardless of species. Morally, there is no logic to banning fur from some animals and not others, and Brexit means we could have the opportunity to reflect public opinion and make the UK the world’s first fur-free nation.”

Around the world in countries such as China, France and Poland, animals on fur farms can be subjected to the same terrible conditions as those the UK banned back in 2000, with the UK’s final fur farm closing in 2003. Beautiful wild animals are kept their entire lives in filthy, tiny cages, forced to endure physically and mentally damaging conditions before being killed and skinned for their fur. Wild animals such as coyotes fair no better, caught in agonising traps for hours or even days before they’re put out of their misery.

Real fur falsely sold as “faux fur” by 17 retailers

USA, 11 AUGUST 2016 – Seventeen large retailers are found to sell real fur items that are advertised or labeled as “faux fur”. New research shows that the retailers are promoting apparel and accessories of brands as Canada Goose, Marc by Marc Jacobs and Burberry Brit as fake fur, while the items actually include animal fur from raccoon dogs, rabbits and coyotes.

Fur Free Alliance member The Humane Society of the United States asks the Federal Trade Commission to bring enforcement action under federal consumer protection laws against the 17 retailers for false advertising of fur garments. Amazon, Neiman Marcus, Kohl’s, Nordstrom are among those facing potential civil or criminal penalties.

amazon faux fur false advertising

In its largest collection of industry misrepresentations to date, The HSUS highlights violations from December 2011 through December 2015 by retailers Amazon, A-List/Kitson, Barneys, Belk, Bluefly, Century 21 Department Stores, Eminent/Revolve, Gilt, Kohl’s, La Garconne, Mia Belle Baby, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Ross, Ruelala, Searle and Stein Mart. Pierre Grzybowski, Research and Enforcement manager of The HSUS’s Fur-Free Campaign, says:

“Consumers would be horrified to know they have been duped into purchasing animal fur when they thought they were buying a humane alternative. The FTC must crack down on this industry-wide problem of misrepresentation that The HSUS has been uncovering and documenting year-after-year for a decade.”

The sale of these coats, footwear, key chains, handbags and cardigans as “faux fur,” when in fact they include animal fur, is a violation of the US Fur Products Labeling Act, The Federal Trade Commission Act, and in some cases a violation of outstanding cease-and-desist orders already issued by the agency. Violations can carry penalties of up to one year in prison and/or fines of up to $40,000.

MICHAEL Michael Kors, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Burberry Brit, Canada Goose, Rebecca Minkoff, Elie Tahari and Rag & Bone are among the 32 different brands of apparel and accessories sold by the retailers named in the petition.

The submission represents the latest in a series of HSUS investigations and actions regarding rampant false advertising and labeling in the animal fur apparel industry. The HSUS previously sought FTC action on the problem in March 2007, April 2008, November 2011, July 2014 and April 2015. But lack of vigorous industry-wide enforcement has allowed widespread violations to go unchecked.

Neiman Marcus and Eminent/Revolve are already under 20-year cease-and-desist orders from the FTC following an HSUS petition that identified similar violations in 2011.

More details can be found in the links below:

Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor settle contempt suit fur violations

WASHINGTON, 1  FEBRUARY 2016 – Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor settled a civil contempt suit brought by Fur Free Alliance member The Humane Society of the United States after an investigation revealed more than 40 fur advertising and labeling violations between December 2013 and November 2014.

The HSUS’ investigation uncovered evidence that Saks and Lord & Taylor violated the Fur Products Labeling Act and 2009 court orders prohibiting false advertising of animal fur garments. Among other violations, the retailers falsely marketed real animal fur garments as “faux,” incorrectly advertised fur from raccoon dogs – a species in the dog (Canidae) family – as “raccoon” fur and failed to disclose fur garments’ country of origin (where the animal was killed) and other legally required information.

Raccoon dogs on a fur farm

Under the settlements, Saks and Lord & Taylor certify that they will cease selling fur from raccoon dogs, one of the most horribly mistreated and commonly misrepresented species in the fur trade, pay The HSUS approximately $50,000 in investigation costs and legal fees and agree to pay additional damages if they breach the agreement in the future.

Ralph Henry, director of litigation at The HSUS, said:

“We are pleased with the terms of these settlements, which ensure that Saks and Lord & Taylor will phase out raccoon dog fur, while holding the retailers accountable for continuing to falsely advertise fur garments despite their prior agreement to stop. While the production of animal fur inherently involves suffering, and we urge companies to go completely fur-free, the killing of raccoon dogs for their fur has been repeatedly shown to be among the worst of the worst. The HSUS will continue to aggressively pursue fur vendors who ignore their legal and contractual obligations to protect both animals and consumers.”

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