Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jim Moran, Virginia Democrat, joined with Representative Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) to introduce legislation today, the "Truth in Fur Labeling Act," which requires honest labeling of fur products sold in the United States. The bill, supported by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), would close the loophole which allows products valued at less than $150 to not list the types of fur included in the garment or product. "The fur loophole deprives American consumers of the facts needed to make an informed purchase," said Moran. "Many Americans choose not to purchase fur products, preferring instead "faux" fur as a substitute. This loophole is being exploited by exporters pawning off dog and cat fur as an artificial fiber. The public would be outraged to learn their favorite hat or pair of gloves was lined with the fur of their favorite companion animal." "People depend on product labels to make informed decisions about their purchases," said Bono Mack. "This bill would close the loophole that has allowed too many companies to sell fur products made from cats and dogs under the guise of being ´faux.´ Consumers deserve to know what they´re buying and be confident in whether or not it´s fake or real fur, regardless of the cost of the product." It is illegal to import, export, sell or advertise any domestic dog or cat fur in the United States. Fur from other animals must be identified with a label, but only if the value of the fur exceeds $150. The Moran-Bono Mack legislation aims to protect consumers and animals by requiring all garments that include fur be labeled, regardless of value.In recent years, HSUS investigators found a proliferation of falsely labeled and falsely advertised dog fur on fashion clothing sold by some of the largest names in U.S. retailing. Of the fur-trimmed jackets subjected to mass spectrometry testing by HSUS, 96 percent were found to be domestic dog, wolf or raccoon dog, and either mislabeled or not labeled at all.
"Consumers need to know what they're getting so they can make informed purchasing choices," says Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "As a result of our investigations, we´ve seen dog fur labeled as coyote, and real fur labeled as faux fur. We are grateful to Representatives Moran and Bono Mack for introducing this important consumer protection bill, and we urge the Congress to pass it swiftly into law."Half of all fur garments entering the United States come from China, where large numbers of domestic dogs and cats as well as raccoon dogs are killed every year for their fur by brutal methods, sometimes skinned alive. The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 banned the trade in dog and cat fur after an HSUS investigation revealed the death toll at 2 million animals a year and found domestic dog fur for sale in the United States. The Moran-Bono Mack legislation will close a loophole in the Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 that exempts garments with a "relatively small quantity or value" of fur from requiring labels disclosing the name of the species, the manufacturer, the country of origin and other pertinent information for consumers. The Federal Trade Commission defines that value today as $150—an amount that allows multiple animal pelts on a garment without a label. It would also require the FTC to hold a rulemaking process to review its Fur Products Name Guide ensure the accuracy and consistency of species names.