The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

U.S. Senate Passes Truth in Fur Labeling Act

Posted on December 08, 2010 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

From The Humane Society of the United States:

U.S. Senate Passes Truth in Fur Labeling Act
President Obama Urged to Quickly Sign Bill into Law

WASHINGTON (Dec. 8, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund applaud the U.S. Senate for unanimously approving an important bipartisan bill to protect consumers and animals. The Truth in Fur Labeling Act (H.R. 2480), which passed the House of Representatives in July and now goes to President Obama’s desk, will bring much-needed accuracy and disclosure to fur products.

The HSUS and HSLF expressed their thanks to the sponsors of this legislation—Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and David Vitter, R-La., and Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., and Ed Whitfield, R-Ky.—for their leadership on this critical animal welfare and consumer protection issue, and to House and Senate leaders for working to bring the bill over the finish line in Congress.

The legislation closes a loophole in federal law that currently allows some animal fur garments to go unlabeled if the value of the fur is $150 or less, leaving consumers in the dark as to whether they are buying faux or animal fur. HSUS investigations have found jackets trimmed with animal fur being sold without labels or falsely advertised as “faux fur” across the country.

“Many consumers prefer to avoid buying and wearing animal fur, and everyone deserves to have accurate information to make informed purchasing choices,” said Michael Markarian, chief operating officer for The HSUS. “The Truth in Fur Labeling Act will protect consumers by requiring all garments containing animal fur to be accurately labeled. We applaud the U.S. Senate and House for passing this common-sense legislation and we urge President Obama to quickly sign it into law.”

Under current law, an estimated 13 percent of animal fur garments sold in the United States do not have to be labeled for fur content because the value of the fur is $150 or less, even if the fur is dyed pink or blue or otherwise processed to look synthetic. The Fur Products Labeling Act, originally passed by Congress in 1951, already requires seven out of every eight fur garments to be labeled with the species of animal and country of origin. The updating of this nearly six-decades-old labeling law will level the playing field, requiring that the remaining fur-trimmed garments meet the same labeling standard. The Federal Trade Commission, consumer organizations, designers, and retailers back this legislation.

Facts:

  • Gucci Group, Burberry, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Buffalo Exchange, Overstock.com, Ed Hardy, Victoria Bartlett, Charlotte Ronson, and Andrew Marc, among other retailers and designers, have endorsed closing the fur labeling loophole.
  • An HSUS investigation found raccoon dog fur on more than two-thirds of a nationwide sample of fur-trimmed jackets purchased from well-known retailers and designers. Of the raccoon dog fur jackets tested, not a single one properly identified the animal in advertising or labeling, instead calling it such things as faux fur, raccoon, or simply not labeling it at all.
  • H.R. 2480 has 171 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, and S. 1076 has 34 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate.
  • The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 banned the trade in domestic dog and cat fur after an HSUS investigation revealed the gruesome deaths of 2 million dogs and cats a year in China and other parts of Asia for the fur trade and found domestic dog and cat fur for sale in the United States. The HSUS later found domestic dog fur slipping into the country on unlabeled jackets.
  • The HSUS testified in favor of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act at a House subcommittee hearing on May 13.

Those interested in this may also be interested in VRG’s Guide to Food Ingredients.

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