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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Toward Truth in Fur Labeling: Bill Passes House Panel

The House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection this morning passed H.R. 2480, the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, to close a loophole in the federal fur labeling law that currently allows many fur-trimmed garments to be sold without disclosing that animal fur is used. I testified in favor of the legislation in May, and told the subcommittee that this loophole has led to massive consumer deception in the marketplace: Without labels attached to the garments, even department store clerks often can't tell the difference between animal fur and fake fur, and our investigations have found jackets trimmed with rabbit, coyote, or raccoon dog falsely advertised as "faux fur."

Red fox credit USFWSReps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., have been leading the charge for this important animal welfare and consumer protection policy in the House, and Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are leading a similar bill in the Senate. More than a third of both House and Senate members have cosponsored the bipartisan legislation. The Federal Trade Commission, consumer organizations, and major designers and retailers—including Bloomingdale's, Burberry, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue—have called on Congress to close the loophole and require labeling for all fur garments regardless of dollar value.

Seven out of eight fur garments sold in the United States already require labeling, and it's time to have a consistent and accurate labeling standard for all fur apparel. The original fur labeling law passed by Congress in 1951 is simply outdated and does not reflect the current market realities, with more fur trim used than ever before, dyeing and shearing techniques that make animal fur look fake, and improved synthetics that make fake fur look real. Consumers have a right to know what they are buying, so they can make informed purchasing decisions and exercise choice in the marketplace.

We are grateful to Subcommittee Chairman Bobby Rush, D-Ill., and Ranking Member Ed Whitfield, R-Ky., for working to advance this legislation swiftly, and now it goes to the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration, and hopefully the House floor for quick passage. The HSUS and HSLF have been working toward this change in federal law for years, and we are now one step closer to a national policy protecting consumers who choose to avoid animal fur.

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