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Stop the Lies: Pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act

October 4, 2010

IMMEDIATE, Please Sign: Stop the Lies, Pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act

Schwarzenegger Vetoes Fur Labeling Bill
By Brandon Bosworth

It didn’t really seem like that controversial of a bill. California Assembly Bill 1656 would prohibit the sale of any item of clothing made of any amount of fur without a tag or label naming the animals from which the fur was acquired, and the country of origin of any imported furs. (Used items would be exempt.) Sounds reasonable, doesn’t it?

It was certainly reasonable to the California Assembly, which passed Bill 1656 in a 58-10 vote. And it was reasonable to the California Senate, which passed the bill by a vote of 22 to 11. However, apparently a little bit of truth in labeling was not reasonable to the Governator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger. This week he vetoed the bill.

First, a little bit of info as to why Bill 1656 was needed. In 2009, an investigation by a local CBS news affiliate found that many unlabeled fur items were being sold in California stores. These items were often described by salespeople as containing fake fur. Accurate labeling isn’t required by federal law, which exempts items of clothing priced at less than $150 from any fur labeling requirements. (Although the federal Truth in Fur Labeling Act would change that.) In most cases, the faux fur actually was the fur of a raccoon dog.

Raccoon dogs are, like their name implies, canines with a strong resemblance to raccoons. Native to Asia, they are social, friendly animals. They are also a source for cheap fur. Raccoon dogs are raised and slaughtered in brutal conditions in China, so their fur can be used to adorn the clothing of would-be fashionistas. Often, the clueless fashion victims don’t even know they are wearing dead dog. Investigations by the Humane Society of the United States over a three year period found that raccoon dog fur trim was on more than two-thirds of the jackets they tested, labeled or advertised as faux.

Related, Shannon Keith on ISSUES with Jane Velez-Mitchell

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So why would Schwarzenegger veto a bill that would simply make it easier for consumers to make informed, humane choices? According to the San Francisco Gate, “he had concerns about the costs for both merchants and manufacturers, as well as the potential fines — $500 for the first violation, and up to $1,000 for subsequent ones.”

This is ludicrous reasoning. For one, clothing companies can surely afford to put a cheap label on a piece of merchandise. After all, the labels aren’t printed in gold on rare papyrus. As for the fines, stores involved in the CBS fur investigation included such struggling mom-and-pops as Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. I tend to doubt either of these would face bankruptcy due to a $500 fine. Finally, five states — Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin — enacted similar fur labeling laws with no negative effects. Ask your senators to pass the federal bill; if that becomes law, California retailers will have to make the switch anyway.

Of course, the “merchants and manufacturers” that are so close to Mr. Schwarzenegger’s heart could easily avoid both the cost of labeling fur items and the potential fines from failing to do so. They could simply stop making and selling anything made with fur, real or fake. The only reason this sort of thing even exists in the 21st century is to appeal to the misguided vanity of a dwindling minority who still finds fur somehow “fashionable.” Isn’t it time we acknowledge that an animal’s fur belongs on the animal, not on us?

Stop the Lies: Pass the Truth in Fur Labeling Act HERE

By Stephanie Feldstein

Investigations by the Humane Society of the United States found that major retailers throughout the U.S. were advertising fur-trimmed clothing as faux, even when it was made from real animal fur. Of the garments they tested, 96 percent of “faux” fur trims were actually made with raccoon dog, domestic dog or wolf fur.

And it wasn’t just a matter of reading the fine print on the label – these items were either mislabeled or not labeled at all. A loophole in the Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 exempted products sold for under $150 from revealing their material.

The Truth in Fur Labeling Act would close that loophole and require that all fur and fur-trimmed apparel is correctly labeled, so compassionate consumers don’t end up inadvertently supporting the cruel fur industry.

On July 28, 2010, the Truth in Fur Labeling Act unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives. Tell your Senator to keep the bill the moving and stop the deceit by the fur industry.


Leather & Fur Alternatives

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Dressing Cruelty Free: Vegan Companies

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Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing- Quick Reference Guide

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For additional information, please visit Our Compass’s FUR / SKIN section.  Included are videos, instruction on how to determine fake from real, fur-free retailer lists, Truth In Fur Labeling Act 2010 information and status updates, sample message, pdf files, reports, and resources.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Marinda permalink
    October 5, 2010 2:44 am

    We have to get movie stars etc on board to help educate about fur. If they stop wearing so will all other people. We do not need to wear fur!!!


  2. karen lyons kalmenson permalink
    October 5, 2010 5:46 am

    fur belongs on whom it was born
    not on the backs of the vain
    and frivolous, worn


  3. Marina permalink
    October 5, 2010 12:26 pm

    If people so insist on wearing fur, maybe those of us who detest this practice should all endorse wearing human skins on our bodies?
    This kind of act will be the only thing to get it through to the thick heads of those who endorse this horrific and barbaric act.
    And for those of you who think my words are the words of someone over reacting FEEL FREE TO TAKE THAT MIRROR IN YOUR HANDS AND GET A GOOD CLOSE LOOK!


  4. Laura permalink
    October 6, 2010 12:45 am

    What a huge disappointment Schwarzenegger has turned out to be. He did sign the foi gras ban into law last year or so, but this vetoing of the fur labeling law is really disgusting. I will sign the petition of course, when it will open for me. I agree with Marina: anyone who can do or even support these terrible things deserves the same thing done to them. Reap what you sow, people.


  5. Sue permalink
    November 11, 2010 7:35 am

    As one of my most attention-grabbing, comment-producing t-shirts says:

    “Leather stinks.
    Animals are not fabric.
    Wear your own damn skin.
    Thank you.”

    In my eyes that also applies to fur.



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