Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter
From 24 August 2003 Issue
CONSUMERS BEWARE but...What's the DIFFERENCE???
Trade Names For Domestic Dog and Cat Fur on the World Market
Buyers beware It may be hard to tell if that coat, jacket or accessory was made from the fur of someone's former pet. The following are terms used by the industry to sell domestic dogs and cats to unsuspecting buyers.
Dogue de Chine
Mountain Goat skin
Sakon Makhon lamb
Dog skin plasters (sold in Chinatowns as a cure for rheumatism)
Can you be sure the fur lining in your gloves or the trim on your new jacket is not from a domestic dog or cat? The answer, according to an undercover investigation conducted by The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, is a resounding NO! The eighteen month long investigation revealed that millions of domestic dogs and cats, some obviously stolen pets, are being sold and killed for their fur each year. These animals are kept in miserable conditions, often without adequate food, water, or shelter. They may travel for two or more days in cramped, unheated trucks, only to reach a destination that leads to a brutal death at the hands of fur traders. One investigator documented such a scene:
". . . the butcher tied the dog up short with a metal wire so the dog could hardly move. The dog began to panic and tried to escape. But the butcher lifted the dog's left hind leg and stabbed him in the groin area. Blood began to pour. The dog howled in pain and struggled more. With every move, the wire cut into the dog's neck. After a couple of minutes, the butcher began to skin the dog."
Investigators documented cats being killed by hanging, or by having water poured down their throats through a hose until they were drowned. A slit is then made in the cat's stomach, the skin is opened, and the fur is pulled over the cat's head. The furriers say that the cats may still be alive while they are being skinned.
How does this affect us?
Since animals may be killed in one country, processed in another, and the finished garment or accessory sold in a market anywhere around the world, consumers cannot be sure that what they are buying isn't made from the misery of companion animals just like their own. Investigators learned that many companies involved in the fur trade use ambiguous terms, mislabeling, and pseudonyms to disguise the true identity of their products. Complicating matters further, amendments made to the U.S. Fur Products Labeling Act exempt all fur products costing less than $150 from labeling requirements - a price range into which most fur-trimmed garments and accessories fall.
The sale of dog and cat fur is just a part of the global fur industry. The misery and suffering is widespread throughout the industry and furriers dealing in other animals traditionally exploited for fur may trade in dogs and cats as well. As one HSUS officer states,
"The bottom line that buying any fur product serves to support the fur industry as a whole and sends the message that fur is desirable instead of deadly. Any demand for fur ensures that somewhere an animal is suffering and dying to fill that demand - maybe, in some cold, dark corner of the Earth, an animal just like your own pet."
"The time will come when men such as I will look upon
the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder
of men. - Leonardo da Vinci "
Return to Animals in Print 24 August 2003 Issue
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