Poor raccoon dogs. For a long time, they’ve suffered a severe identity crisis at the hands of the fashion industry. Their fur has been mislabeled as “raccoon” fur on clothing labels, and even more insulting, as faux fur by some labels. That’s an insult not just to the canines, but to conscientious shoppers who think they’re buying items with fake fur trim. Another retailer, Lord & Taylor, has joined J.C. Penney in promising to stop selling products that contain the critters, but mislabeling runs rampant.
Lord & Taylor didn’t agree to this out of the goodness of the company’s metaphorical heart. They’re being sued by the Humane Society of the United States, along with fellow retailers Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue, and designer Andrew Marc. While Andrew Marc came to a similar settlement, the other three retailers have not. The case will go to trial next year.
The raccoon dog looks a bit like a raccoon, but is more closely related to wolves, foxes, and dogs. Even American consumers wear fur are uneasy about buying garments lined with “dog fur,” and videos of the animals being skinned alove that have circulated online certainly don’t help.
The Humane Society has long tested various furs to determine their species, and reported incidents where raccoon dog fur is labeled as other species, or fake fur, and is encouraging Congress to pass a law mandating that all fur labels identify the actual animal of origin–which is currently not required for garments worth under $150.
Lord & Taylor Bans Raccoon Dog Fur from U.S. Stores [Humane Society]
The Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2009 [Humane Society]