Real Animal Fur Is Being Sold On The High Street As Fake

Despite being from an animal, the fur is being labeled as 'faux'.

Credit: Shigeru Kawaharazaki

A recent investigation has found that clothes being sold in high street shops labeled as “faux fur” are actually real fur from cats, raccoons, dogs, and rabbits. The truth was uncovered after a fibers expert tested the “faux fur” that was being sold in popular UK stores such as Misguided and House of Fraser. Sky News found that a pair of gloves on sale in department store House of Fraser contained fur that was likely from a rabbit. The investigation also found that a pair of pink stiletto heels from Missguided were decorated with pom poms likely made with the fur of a cat, according to reports. After shopper Donna Allison, who bought the shoes, became concerned about the source of the fur that she thought was fake, she initially contacted the store on Twitter. However, she was met with a response from representatives who claimed that the fur was definitely fake. She told Sky News,

“My life is basically animals and cats, so it’s really hurtful, really shocking. Whether they know they are selling it or not there needs to be something done about it. They need to be more responsible for what they are selling.”

Experts have said that real animal fur being sold as fake is on the rise, with sources of the fur coming from mass farming in Asia. They added that raccoon dog fur is also becoming particularly popular due to its soft, dense qualities. The animals also have large litters, sometimes consisting of 16 per parent couple, which means that they can be farmed on a large scale before being skinned alive to create clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Phil Greaves, a fibers expert who tested the products, said that mislabelling real animal fur is “becoming increasingly common, particularly over the past five years”. Both of the mentioned high street stores have fur-free policies and have claimed that they will stop selling any items that contain real fur, with a spokesman for House of Fraser stating that anyone who bought the gloves will be offered a refund. He said, “House of Fraser has a strict no-fur policy and we ensure all of our suppliers and brand partners are aware of this. We would never knowingly mislead our customers, who we believe have the right to know what they purchasing. We are extremely concerned that fur can be mislabelled in this way, particularly for brands that we stock. Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question.”

After an additional pair of pointed pumps sold by Missguided were found to contain rabbit fur, the brand removed the shoes from sale and stressed that they also had a no-fur policy in place. A spokesman said, “We will be launching an internal investigation with the relevant suppliers and will ensure these matters are addressed urgently.” A previous undercover investigation by Good Morning Britain, which took place around Christmas, found that similar high street stores including Debenhams and Forever 21 were also selling items labeled as faux fur, but in fact contained Angora rabbit fur. Forever 21 said it had “zero tolerance for the violation of these [no fur] policies”.

Debenhams said,

“On discovery that an external brand had included a real fur item on an accessory product we took immediate action to remove the products from the shop floor and our website.” Claire Bass, the executive director of charity Humane Society International, commented, “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 per cent acrylic’, consumers can understandably be caught out mistaking them for fake fur, when in fact they contain fur from a tormented animal.”

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