Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ban on cat and dog fur trade

The EU have decided to ban the import of cat and dog fur, in an attempt to curb the millions of cats and dogs slaughtered in China. The animals are bred specifically for their fur, to export to Europe and the US to feed the demand from the fashion industry. The fur is not a by-product of the meat industry, and the animals are killed or skinned in really disgusting circumstances.

According to the BBC MEPs report that shoppers sometimes buy goods made from this fur unknowingly as exporters attach false labels. There was a horrible coat made from several golden retriever dogs on the ITV news report last night. Even fur labelled as 'faux fur' is actually cat or dog sometimes, according to DNA tests for the report. Worryingly, synthetic fur costs more than real cat and dog fur from China.

Wearing coats made from cats and dogs might all seem a bit Cruella de Vil (in One Hundred and One Dalmatians) or for Simpsons fans, something the slightly evil Mr Burns might wear, as in 'Two Dozen and One Greyhounds'. It's not a cartoon though, but happening in real life because there's a demand for it.

If you've ever had a pet, it makes for very unpleasant reading:

* Up to 10 adult dogs are needed to make a fur coat.
* Up to 24 cats needed for a cat fur coat.
* Cat and dog fur is also used in hats, gloves, shoes, blankets, stuffed animals and toys.
* Dog fur is sometimes labelled as: Gae-wolf, sobaki, Asian jackal, goupee, loup d'Asie, Corsac fox, dogues du Chine, fake or exotic fur.
* Cat fur can be labelled as: house cat, wild cat, katzenfelle, rabbit, goyangi, mountain cat.

The RPSCA gives tips on avoiding buying this type of product, and has given Good Business awards to TopShop and Marks and Spencers for their 'fur-free policy'.

It's a good idea to know a bit about how your clothes are made, and then decide what you think about it, and what you want to do (if anything) when you've got all the facts. Issues like this raise lots of questions, particularly when you work in fashion and design education.

By the way, sorry if you're having your dinner or something while you're reading this, I was yesterday while I was watching the news report, and squealed out loud in disgust and felt a bit sick. But one should know what's going on really, nasty or not...

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