The SPCA urges consumers to choose cruelty-free fashion. Research shows that a majority of fur farm animals live out their lives in cramped conditions before suffering a violent and painful death. These poor animals need your help, please do not wear fur and pass the message to your friends.
Today with advances in clothing technology there are alternatives to fur that provide better protection from the elements. In terms of animal welfare we can no longer justify the use and abuse of animals by the fur trade to produce what are effectively vanity items.
Some fifty million animals, including an estimated two million dogs and cats, are subject to unnecessary cruelty by the fur trade. Hong Kong is the centre of this trade, being the largest exporter of furs in the world. During the first half of 2010 the Hong Kong Trade and Development Council reported that fur related exports from Hong Kong increased by over 20%.
Investigative reports have consistently found fur farm animals imprisoned in tiny cages. Many exhibit abnormal behaviours such as self-mutilation and cannibalisation of their young as a result of the extreme stress of captivity. At the end of their unhappy lives they also face being skinned alive, strangled, gassed, drowned, electrocuted or beaten to death.
Contrary to popular belief, the condition of how the animal is kept has little bearing on the quality of fur. In other words, good fur quality does not equal good animal welfare.
One current fur industry marketing strategy is to try to re-brand fur as eco-friendly. Far from being a "natural" and environmentally friendly choice, the fur industry requires toxic chemicals such as chromium, formaldehyde and napthalene to stop the pelts from rotting. They require up to 60 times more energy to process than manufacturing synthetic fur.
There is no guarantee that furs are truthfully labeled. Presently, furs re-exported by Hong Kong furriers from Mainland farms are not inspected or regulated by law. Dog and cat fur are commonly disguised as higher end fur products such as fox.
Cat fur has been found to be mislabeled as rabbit fur. In 1997, 4.7 tons of dog hide was intercepted
by the Hong Kong government en route to Italy.
An investigation by the Humane Society of the United States revealed that even well known brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan were unaware that their fake fur trim was actually dog fur.
To check if the fur you have is real or fake:
Never wear fur or fur-trimmed products and pass the message to your friends. If you suspect that a fake fur product that you have bought contains real fur, please contact the Consumer Council. However, to be absolutely safe, simply avoid all fur products.