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.
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.
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,