The Fur-Bearers worked with the national online newspaper after learning about Kit and Ace’s use of raccoon dog fur on a toque. The store, under the advice of fur industry-friendly marketing, called it “Asiatic raccoon” to soften the blow of the dead animal’s skin adorning their clothes.
The Vancouver-based clothing store is big on integrity, too (they’ve got a whole page dedicated to how they define it), so it was a bit of a shock when they broke off communication with The Fur-Bearers when we were trying to help them find alternatives to fur.
It may have had something to do with reporters from the National Observer coming knocking, asking hard questions about supply chains, labelling, and the concept of integrity the store claims to hold so dearly.
While some on social media are questioning why the story focuses on the difference between raccoon dog and Asiatic raccoon (it’s actually a member of the canine family, and simply has similar characteristics to a raccoon), this article is certainly going to help draw more attention to the realities of fur. Particularly, it will help people understand how poorly written Canada’s labelling laws are.
Under the Textile Labelling Act, fur does not need to be listed on a label unless it is removed from the skin (it virtually never is), the species of origin does not need to listed, nor does the country of origin. It even remains legal to import and sell domestic dog and cat fur in Canada, while the entire European Union and United States have banned the practice. Every time government officials show interest in updating these laws, the fur industry blocks them.
We cannot force the government to ignore a powerful lobby and listen to reason; but we can speak to retailers who have been duped into using faux language about real fur.
Write to Kit and Ace (politely, with compassion) and tell them that you, your friends, and your family, won’t shop with them while they use animal products – regardless of terms like ‘integrity’ and ‘sourcing teams’ being thrown around. Send them to our #MakeFurHistory website to see the horrors of trapping and fur farms, send them to the Fur Free Alliance to see the hundreds of designers and retailers choosing to participate in fur-free programs, and remind them that your voice won’t be quieted.
Photo of white raccoon dog by Flickr user Tambako the Jaguar (creative commons license).
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