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How do you like your DKNY dog fur coat?
China: dog's best friend. Too cheap to inoculate dogs against rabies, mobs
of people routinely kill rabid dogs by stoning them and beating them to
death with sticks and 2x4s in the streets as though it's just another day at
the office. Now it looks like they are exporting dog fur to your favorite
department store. You can tell a lot about a civilization by how they treat
Some coats may have fur from dogs
By KASIE HUNT, Associated Press Writer1 hour, 35 minutes ago
That fur trim on your jacket that you think is fake? Tell it to Fido. An
animal advocacy group says its investigation has turned up coats - some with
designer labels, some at higher-end retailers - with fur from man's best
friend. Some retailers were set scrambling to pull the coats from shelves,
take them off Web sites and even offer refunds to consumers.
The Humane Society of the United States said it purchased coats from
reputable outlets, such as upscale Nordstrom, with designer labels - Andrew
Marc, Tommy Hilfiger, for example - and found them trimmed with fur from
domestic dogs, even though the fur was advertised as fake.
"It's an industrywide deception," said Kristin Leppert, the head of the
Human Society's anti-fur campaign.
The investigation began after the society got a tip from a consumer who
bought a coat with trim labeled as faux fur that felt real. Leppert and her
team began buying coats from popular retailers and then had the coats tested
by mass spectrometry, which measures the mass and sequence of proteins, to
determine what species of animal the fur came from.
Of the 25 coats tested, 24 were mislabeled or misadvertised.
Three coats - from Tommy Hilfiger's Web site ShopTommy.com, Nordstrom.com
and a coat from Andrew Marc's MARC New York line sold on Bluefly.com -
contained fur from domesticated dogs. The others had fur from raccoon dogs -
a canine species native to Asia - or, in one case, wolves. The single
correctly labeled coat was trimmed with coyote fur, but it was advertised as
Most of the fur came from China.
In response to the Humane Society's investigation, Tommy Hilfiger stopped
selling the fur-trimmed garment and said it was looking into the matter. "We
were quite concerned to hear of this finding," said spokeswoman Wendi
Nordstrom called the 62 consumers who had purchased vests with dog fur trim
to give them the opportunity to return the vests "because we would never
want to deceive our customers in any way," Nordstrom spokeswoman Brooke
White said. She said Nordstrom no longer buys fur trim products from the
vendor, who had marketed the vests as faux fur.
Charles Jayson, chief executive of Andrew Marc, disputed the Humane Society
and insisted in a statement that all fur on his coats labeled as raccoon
contains "only farm-bred raccoon fur from Finland, and our items labeled
'faux fur' are a 100 percent synthetic fabric."
Importing domestic dog and cat fur was outlawed in 2000. Intentionally
importing and selling dog fur is a federal crime punishable by a $10,000
fine for each violation. Michael Markarian, executive vice president of the
Humane Society, said his group had contacted all the retailers and designers
selling mislabeled coats or coats with dog fur.
Raccoon dogs look like oversized, fluffy raccoons and aren't kept as pets.
Importing their fur is not illegal, but activists argue they are still a
type of dog.
"This is an animal that is routinely killed by stomping them, or beating
them, or skinning them alive," Markarian said. Video produced by Swiss
Animal Protection and posted on the Internet shows raccoon dogs clubbed or
slammed on the ground and some writhing, gasping and blinking as they are
The discovery of domestic dog fur is the latest twist in the investigation
that ensnared retail giants Macy's and J.C. Penney late last year. Both of
those retailers were discovered selling coats with raccoon dog fur labeled
J.C. Penney initially removed the offending garments from its stores around
Christmas - but eventually it had employees scratch out the 'raccoon' label
with black magic marker and put the coats back on the shelves. Macy's
immediately pulled the items from its shelves.
Burlington Coat Factory also pulled some coats with mislabeled fur from
their shelves. Rap artist Sean "Diddy" Combs stopped producing and selling
coats from his Sean John line that had raccoon dog fur, and rapper Jay-Z
pulled coats with raccoon dog from his Rocawear label.
Mislabeling fur is a misdemeanor punishable by a $5,000 fine or a year in
prison. Fur valued at less than $150 is not required to be labeled.
A bill introduced by Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mike Ferguson, R-N.J.,
would close that loophole by requiring labels for all fur regardless of its
value. It also would ban fur from raccoon dogs.
"Americans don't want Lassie turned into a fur coat," Moran said. "In the
U.S., we treat cats and dogs as pets, not trimmings for the latest fashion
Other retailers the Humane Society said sold mislabeled raccoon dog fur
included Lord & Taylor, BergdorfGoodman.com and Neiman Marcus.com. Designers
whose clothes were mismarked included Donna Karan's DKNY and Michael Kors. A
coat from Oscar de la Renta advertised as raccoon had raccoon dog fur.
Neiman Marcus, which owns Bergdorf Goodman, said it removed Bogner and
Andrew Marc coats from its Web sites. Michael Kors said it was
investigating, and a DKNY spokeswoman said the label was unaware that
raccoon dog fur had been used.
Donna Karan's executive vice president for global marketing and
communications, Patti Cohen, said, "While it is not illegal to use this type
of fur, we have taken measures to ensure that it is never again used for any
of our products."
A spokeswoman for Oscar de la Renta declined to comment.
On the Net:
The Humane Society of the United States: http://www.hsus.org/
Copyright © 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information
contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten
or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated
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