A five-month undercover investigation conducted by the Humane Society found that major Manhattan department stores were guilty of failing to label fur on their coats. This is in violation of New York state law that went into a effect a year ago, that requires all real fur to be labeled clearly so consumers understand what they are purchasing. If an item of clothing contains any real fur, the label must clearly detail the kind of fur and the country of origin.
Saks, Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale's, and Century 21 were all found selling clothing that wasn't properly labeled as contained fur—from the hoods of winter coats to an infant's sweater containing rabbit fur. Marc Jacobs coats labeled as "faux" were revealed to be made of pelts of raccoon dogs. The Humane Society reports that unlabeled fur usually comes from raccoon dogs, foxes, and rabbits usually raised in poor and abusive conditions in China; cruelty to raccoon dogs is particularly harsh and often these animals are not killed before their pelts are removed.
The investigative video reveals that sales people often don't know the origin of the fur and are unaware of the law. Tufting of the fur and the presence of skin at the base can reveal what is real and what is actually faux.
Century 21 has defended itself on its Facebook page, writing:
"Century 21 does not create garment labels, the manufacturers do. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide an accurate account of materials used in the garment and to be transparent with the consumer before his or her purchase. We respect the diligence of the The Humane Society of the United States to uphold state and federal laws in regards to garment labeling."
[Daily Mail, image via Getty]