Frequently Asked Questions About Dog and Cat Fur
We regularly receive questions from the public about our stance on the use of fur. Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions.
Are cats and dogs really killed for their fur?
Each year, approximately 2 million dogs and cats are slaughtered for their meat and fur in Asia. Investigations have revealed that these animals are largely strays, and even pets stolen from their homes. Cats are routinely killed by strangulation, often in full view of their cage mates. Dogs are hung by the neck or paws and slashed across the groin. For undercover footage of this disgraceful practice, please click here. Their fur is used to make a variety of products that are shipped all over the world, including Canada.
Is dog and cat fur legal in Canada?
It is perfectly legal to import and sell dog and cat fur in Canada, despite the fact that the United States, the European Union, Australia and Switzerland have banned the practice.
How can I tell if there is cat or dog fur on a product?
Unfortunately, without DNA testing, you cannot. Labeling laws in Canada are such that manufacturers are not required to identify the type of fur being used. According to Industry Canada, 60% of all fur garments entering Canada come from China, where dog and cat fur is commonly product. Additionally, as was detailed in a recent investigation by the Toronto Star, many fur exporters in China intentionally mislabel the products to make them easier to sell. To make matters worse, Canada’s labeling laws only require that certain products be permanently labeled. According to the Canadian Competition Bureau, boots, shoes, slippers, handbags, toys, ornaments and pet accessories may use real fur (dog, cat, rabbit, etc.) but are not required to label it as such. Scarves, gloves, mittens and headwear are only required to feature ‘non-permanent’ (removable) labels.
Doesn’t the Fur Council of Canada (FCC) deny that dog and cat fur exists in Canada?
Yes, they vehemently deny it, despite the fact that their most celebrated success story, Canada Goose Inc., recently found dog and cat fur in imitation coats across the country.
Is it true that they use raccoons, not dogs, for fur in China?
'Raccoon dogs' are commonly used for fur in Asia. While they do bear a superficial resemblance to raccoons, raccoon dogs belong exclusively to the Canidae (dog) family and are not related to the Procyonidae (raccoon) family. Despite this fact, Canada allows their fur to be deceptively labeled as “Asiatic raccoon” or simply “raccoon” in an attempt to help make the product more easily marketable. Confined to tiny cages on fur farms in China, they are routinely skinned alive.
Several popular retailers including Soia and Kyo and Mackage use raccoon dog and label it as “Asiatic raccoon”. Mislabeling of raccoon dog is so commonplace that in 2011, the HSUS filed a false advertising complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission after at least 20 retailers in the U.S. were caught mislabeling raccoon dog fur. 70% of the tested garments were labeled as faux fur, “Asiatic racoon”, coyote, rabbit, or another species.
Why does dog and cat fur remain legal in Canada?
Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Canadians oppose the use of dog and cat fur, the Canadian government has continually demonstrated no intention of prohibiting these imports. Why? According to David Emerson, Canada’s Former Trade Minister, “[a]dopting an import ban on dog and cat fur such as you suggest could undermine Canada’s case against implementation of import bans imposed on Canadian seal products”. In an attempt to appease industry, our government is thus using one form of animal cruelty to justify another.
Despite our current government’s resistance to dealing with the dog and cat fur issue, Vancouver-East MP Libby Davies has introduced Bill C-296, which, if passed, would ban the import and sale of dog and cat fur in Canada. It would also make the proper labeling of fur products mandatory.
What can I do to stop this cruel practice?
The first, immediate thing any person can do is to stop buying fur products. By eliminating the market, we can help eliminate the killing of millions of innocent animals for their pelts. Next, contact your local Member of Parliament and tell them you want the import of cat and dog fur banned in Canada. You can also download the petition to ban the import and sale of dog and cat fur from our website here. Unlike other online petitions, ours has been pre-screened by the Government’s Procedural Clerk and Clerk of Petitions. Completed petitions will be presented to the House of Commons.