Blog: Leonie BarrieClothing that bites back

Leonie Barrie | 25 July 2003

News that the British government is dragging its heels on outlawing the use of cat and dog fur in clothing trims sold in the UK has been likened to “putting Dracula in charge of the blood banks,” by one of its chief opponents.

Quite right too. The US and Italy are the only countries so far to have banned the trade, which is believed to involve the slaughter of more than 2 million dogs and cats each year, mostly in China and other Asian countries. But instead of acting to stamp out the killing, the most the government is prepared to do is to ask animal welfare groups to provide evidence that the import of such fur is happening and to what extent. Only then will it consider making the trade illegal.

In the meantime, a voluntary fur labelling scheme is being introduced by the British Fur Trade Association in September. Scientific testing, though, has also been practically dismissed because of the expense and the shortage of laboratories capable of doing it.

Surely there is a legal obligation to rule out the trade. Not only is it morally repugnant, but it is also a prime example of consumer fraud. If shoppers are told whether the garments they buy are made from wool, cotton or manmade fibres, surely they also have a right to know whether they’re wearing Kitty or Rover.

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