By Laura Moss
The Humane Society of the United States issued a consumer warning earlier this week, informing consumers that Kohl's was selling "faux-fur" handbags made with real fur.
HSUS investigators tested several styles of Nicole Lee Fabiola handbags advertised as having "faux-fur trimming" and discovered that the so-called fake fur was actually rabbit fur.
Consumers should be aware that animal fur is still being sold as 'faux' by major retailers," Pierre Grzybowski, research and enforcement manager for the Fur-Free Campaign of The HSUS, said in a news release.
Selling animal fur as fake fur is a violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act and carries a civil penalty of up to $16,000 per violation.
Mislabeling real fur — for example, claiming rabbit fur is mink fur — is nothing new. However, mislabeling real fur as faux is a relatively new development.
It might not seem to make business sense, but the demand for faux fur has increased as more people aim to shop cruelty-free. As manufacturers try to meet this demand, products are often mislabeled.
In 2008, the HSUS discovered several faux fur coats sold at Neiman Marcus were actually made with fur from raccoon dog, a canid native to East Asia (and pictured at right). Photo.
The HSUS sued the retailer, and in 2010, Neiman Marcus paid a $25,000 penalty.
That same year, Neiman Marcus and other retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Saks Incorporated and Lord & Taylor, were also found to be selling mislabeled faux fur. A settlement agreement was reached after the HSUS filed a lawsuit for false advertising.
Later in 2010, President Barack Obama signed The Truth in Fur Labeling Act into law, which closed a loophole that previously had allowed fur-trimmed garments to go unlabeled if the value of the fur was $150 or less. More....