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20 June 1999 Issue
Dog & Cat Fur: The Facts

An 18-month investigation by The Humane Society of the United States and
German journalist Manfred Karremann uncovered the widespread and cruel
slaughter of companion animals -- domestic dogs and cats -- for the manufacture
of fur clothing and accessories worldwide. Investigators focused their efforts in
China, Phillippines and Thailand, where dog and cat pelts are exported to the
United States, France, Germany, Italy and other nations. The findings of the
investigation are documented in more than 24 hours of raw videotaped footage,
hundreds of photographs, and transport records. The HSUS, the nation's largest
animal protection organization, also sent fur garments to laboratories for DNA
testing, which confirmed that dog fur is now being sold in the United States.
Major findings include:

Two million dogs and cats are killed annually for their fur. Before launching the
investigation, The HSUS had no idea of the scope of the killing of dogs and cats.
Usually, 10 to 12 dogs are killed to manufacture each coat -- more if puppies
are used. Up to 24 cats are killed to create just one coat.

The fur industry dupes consumers about product composition. Dog and cat
products are sold not as dog or cat, but often under a pseudonym. For instance,
a dog product may be sold as Gae-wolf, Sobaki, and Asian jackal, among many
others. Cat products are often sold as Wildcat, Goyangi, and Katzenfelle, to
name only a few.

Exceedingly inhumane means are employed to kill animals for their fur. The
method of killing any animal for its fur is exceedingly cruel. Animals fall victim to
low-tech methods of slow suffocation, hanging, bludgeoning and clubbing, or
bleeding to death. All of these methods involve severe panic, trauma, and
needless prolonged suffering. Dogs and cats are often skinned alive. Investiga-
tors videotaped a German shepherd as he blinked his eyes while being skinned.
The butcher who skinned the dog explained that this method of slaughter is
commonplace in China.

Dog and cat fur is marketed and sold to Europe and the U.S. Dogs and cats
may be killed in one country, processed in another, and the finished products
can be sold in a store anywhere in the world. Dog and cat fur does not go into
full-length furs, but into fur trim for gloves, hats, toys, and other accessories. In
November 1998, HSUS investigators purchased a fur-trimmed jacket, with trim
labeled as "Mongolia dog fur," from a New Jersey outlet of Burlington Coat
Factory. DNA tests indicate that the trim is fur from domestic dog. In September,
investigators purchased a dog-skin plaster at a New York City pharmacy. It was
simply labeled "100% dog skin."

U.S. laws are ineffective in regulating the fur industry. No labeling laws exist in
the United States to restrict or regulate fur-bearing products costing $150 or
less. This invites further infiltration of dog and cat fur into the fur trade. While
both canis familiaris (dog) and felis catus (domestic cat) are specifically included
under the Fur Products Labeling Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - charged
with regulating the import and export of wildlife, including wildlife products -- is
not required to inspect or regulate products made from domesticated animals,
including dogs and cats.

The international fur industry knows no bounds. For decades, the fur industry
has sold the pelts of wild animals trapped in steel-jawed leghold traps, snares,
and Conibear traps. They have also purchased the pelts of tens of millions of
animals raised in cages and killed by inhumane means. This latest HSUS
investigation reveals millions of dogs and cats killed by operators within the fur
industry.

In addition to not purchasing full-length fur garments, consumers should avoid
purchasing garments with fur trim. The only way to put an end to the suffering
of animals who fall victim to the fur industry is to purchase products made of
synthetic or "faux fur" fabrics.

-The Humane Society of the United States

Email: hsus-webmaster@hsus.org

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