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Groups Urge Retailers to Comply as Fur Labeling Law Goes Into Full Effect

One-Year Enforcement Grace Period Ends March 18

WASHINGTON (March 15, 2012) -- The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society Legislative Fund put retailers on alert: starting Sunday, March 18, retailers could be subject to fines and jail time if they sell animal fur-trimmed garments without proper information in advertising and on labels as required by  the Truth in Fur Labeling Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-313).

“Retailers should check their shelves and websites to ensure that any animal fur garments are properly advertised and labeled—which includes providing the species and country of origin of the animal, even on fur trim,” said Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer for The Humane Society of the United States. “We urge the Federal Trade Commission to aggressively pursue fur advertising and labeling scofflaws, both to protect consumers and to create a level playing field for law-abiding retailers.”

The legislation, which was signed by President Obama in December 2010, closed a loophole in the six-decade-old federal fur labeling law that previously allowed many fur-trimmed garments to go unlabeled if the value of the animal fur material was $150 or less. This loophole left consumers in the dark as to whether they were buying faux or real animal fur. March 18, 2012 marks the end of the Federal Trade Commission’s one-year enforcement grace period for any previously exempt garments that were already in retail stores.

Over the past several years, HSUS investigations have found scores of jackets trimmed with animal fur being sold at many major retailers across the country without labels or falsely advertised as "faux fur." Raccoon dog fur is the most commonly unlabeled, falsely advertised, and misrepresented species found being sold in the U.S., and there is documentation of this animal being skinned alive in China.

The HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund expressed their thanks to the sponsors of the 2010 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 President Obama for signing the new policy into law.

Facts:

  • In November 2011, The HSUS filed a legal petition with the FTC detailing evidence of 15 different animal fur-trimmed items falsely advertised as “faux”— more than half of which were unlabeled.
  • 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, endorsed closing the fur labeling loophole.
  • The Truth in Fur Labeling Act had 171 bipartisan cosponsors in the House, and 34 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. It passed the House by voice vote and the Senate by unanimous consent.   
  • The HSUS testified in favor of The Truth in Fur Labeling Act at a House subcommittee hearing on May 13.

Media contact: Jordan Crump, (301) 548-7793, jcrump@humanesociety.org

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The Humane Society Legislative Fund is a social welfare organization incorporated under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code and formed in 2004 as a separate lobbying affiliate of The Humane Society of the United States. The HSLF works to pass animal protection laws at the state and federal level, to educate the public about animal protection issues, and to support humane candidates for office. Visit us on all our channels: on the web at hslf.org, on our blog at animalsandpolitics.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/humanelegislation and on Twitter at twitter.com/HSLegFund.