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Illegal cat fur sold as faux fur on British high-street

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

10 Apr 2017

Animal charity Humane Society International/UK and Sky News have discovered shoes containing real cat fur for sale by British fast-fashion retailer Missguided.

The import and sale of fur from domestic cats and dogs has been banned across the EU since 2009, however, Humane Society International UK has confirmed laboratory tests show that the pom-poms of fur decorating a pair of Missguided shoes was actually cat fur.

The shoes, which were on sale by the retailer both online and at its Westfield Stratford store, list only man-made materials on the label.

The investigation came about after shopper Donna Allison alerted Humane Society International UK after suspecting they contained real animal fur, despite receiving an assurance from the retailer’s official Twitter account of their policy to only sell fake fur.

Donna Allison said: “I find it horrifying that Missguided and other retailers are selling real fur - in my case cat fur and that they didn't appear to take action when I raised my concerns about this serious issue.

“All retailers should be taking action to ensure complete traceability of their materials. It’s unacceptable that they are helping fund an industry where animals have to endure unimaginable cruelty and for something so unnecessary. I urge everyone to be more vigilant and understand how to identify and ensure they’re buying faux fur.”

Missguided found to be selling cat fur as faux fur

Humane Society International UK has contacted Missguided about the finding and has forwarded the information to Trading Standards and asked that the enforcement authority investigates the findings further in relation to the The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008.

Missguided responded to the allegations made in the HSI and Sky News investigation with the following statement: "Missguided does not condone the use of fur in any of its products and is investigating the issue raised by Sky. The items referenced in the article have been removed from sale."

Read more on reactions to the investigation: Reactions to Missguided & HoF selling real fur as faux

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK, added: “It is extremely concerning to find cat fur on sale illegally in the UK, both because of the cruelty that cat and all fur products represent, but also because it will rightly dent the confidence of consumers seeking to buy only fake fur. Fake faux fur is a growing problem; when items have cheap price tags and labels saying ‘100 percent acrylic’, consumers can understandably be caught out mistaking them for fake fur, when in fact they contain fur from a tormented animal.

“Independent stores, popular markets like Camden, as well as online retailers such as Amazon are awash with cheap animal fur-trimmed garments that are either mislabelled as ‘faux’ or not labelled at all. To properly protect both animals and consumers the government needs to take action to stop Britain’s insidious fur trade.”

In countries such as China, where the Missguided shoes were made, an estimated two million cats a year, including pet cats, are snatched from the streets and killed for their meat and fur.

The Missguided ‘fake faux’ fur shoes is the latest fashion item exposed by the Humane Society International UK, the charity has revealed that it has also discovered another shoe style at Missguided that tested positive for rabbit fur, as well as a pair of gloves sold at House of Fraser which tested positive for rabbit fur, and a bobble hat sold on Amazon UK as faux fur but testing positive for raccoon dog or fox fur.

Images: courtesy of Humane Society International UK