Knock-offs, media fails and going fur free

When you buy fur, you don’t know what you’re getting. And apparently, when the media reports on fur, they don’t know what they’re reporting.Fur trim

The RCMP, with Canada Goose, announced a troublesome trend: knockoffs of the popular goose-filled and coyote-trimmed parkas are hitting Canadian stores. This really isn’t surprising. Anytime there’s a popular – but expensive – brand on the market, those seeking to make a quick buck will find a way to exploit the success of others.

However, the details of the story were somewhat shocking.

In news articles, the knock-offs were described as:

  • Chinese duck feathers and raccoon dog fur (ChrisD.ca)
  • Duck feathers and raccoon fur (CBC.ca)
  • Chinese domestic duck and raccoon dog fur (CTV.ca)

Which is true? Based on these media reports, we have no idea. But the reporters did fail to notice that raccoons and raccoon dogs are different species, that dog and cat fur importation from China is the norm and only DNA analysis – an expensive endeavour – can establish the true origins of fur.

We contacted Assiniboine Park Zoo, the facility where DNA testing was done to establish species.

The filling was most closely matched to Anas platyrhynchos, specifically Shaoxing, Jianchang, and Beijing breeds of mallard; the trim was matched to Nyctereutes procyonoides, or raccoon dog.

Further than the simple laziness of the media in reporting this story, they also failed – in the most epic ways possible – to report on other aspects of the news.

In Canada, it is totally legal to import, buy and sell domestic cat and dog fur. In Canada, there is no need to label fur – for origins of species or geography. In Canada, coyote fur is taken from wild animals caught in leg-hold, body-gripping or Conibear traps after they are beaten, bludgeoned or choked to death. Raccoon dogs are extremely similar to the domestic dogs we’re familiar with, and are one of the most horrendously tortured animals on the planet. The Canadian government has refused to put in place legislation that would make fur sales transparent, keeping up with our neighbours in the US, the UK and most of Europe (and yes, legislation has been put forward in recent years, only to be shot down).

When we tell our members and supporters it’s best to not even consider faux fur, but to go completely fur free, this is why. It’s a world of buyer beware, and those at risk are not consumers, but millions of cruelly tortured and killed animals.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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