London - Despite leading luxury players such as Gucci going fur-free, the use of real fur in fashion remains rife - whether consumers realise it or not. Over the past years retailers such as Missguided, House of Fraser and TK Maxx have all been caught selling real fur mislabelled as faux-fur - with Missguided reportedly unknowingly illegally selling cat fur as faux fur. In order to raise consumer awareness concerning the mislabelling of real fur as faux, the Humane Society International UK (HSI) has teamed up with Lush to launch a nationwide campaign under the slogan #WhatTheFur?!
103 Lush storefront windows across the country have been transformed to ensure shoppers are aware they could be misled into buying real fur which has been falsely labelled as fake fur. Together with HSI, Lush uses lenticular technology depict a woman wearing a fur bobble hat morph into a caged fox on a fur farm to highlight the growing concern of real animal fur being mislabelled, or not labelled at all a faux fur. Both the fur-trimmed hat and the fox wear the same “100% acrylic” label attached to their fur stress the point that labels can lie.
Lush Cosmetics and HSI join forces to fight fur cruelty on the high street
“British consumers will be shocked to learn that they are being duped into buying real animal fur,” said Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK. “Partnering with Lush gives us a unique opportunity to reach shoppers across the country who are unaware that trusted brands and independent retailers alike can be caught out selling real animal fur at deceptively cheap prices, described as “faux” or “100% acrylic”.
To help educate shoppers on how to spot the differences between real and faux fur, Lush and HSI UK are offering free wallet-sized guides which can be picked up in-store or online with tips. In addition, all shoppers are also encouraged to sign HSI’s #FurFreeBritain petition, which is calling for a ban on all fur imports. The government is being urged to enact a strict fur labelling regulation, so shoppers can avoid accidentally purchasing fur product they object to morally and ethically. However, HSI UK also believes the simply labelling cruel fur products is not sufficient and that a UK ban on the import and sale of fur would ensure the market is in line with the majority of the public opinion. A 2016 poll from YouGov indicates that 9 out of 10 Brits think it is unacceptable to buy and sell real fur.
“As an urgent first step we’re calling on the government to introduce mandatory, clear labelling of all animal fur in order to protect both animals and consumers, but ultimately the government must use Brexit as an opportunity to close UK borders to the cruel, outdated and unnecessary fur trade,” added Bass. Fur farming was banned in the UK on moral grounds in 2000 and EU regulations ban fur from domestic cats, dogs or commercial seal hunts. However, the UK still imports and sells fur from a range of species, such as fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, racoon dog and chinchilla, who are raised in farms in countries such as Denmark, France, Poland and China in deplorable conditions. Concerningly HM Revenue and Customs statistics show that in 2016 the UK imported 39.9 million pounds worth of animal fur from EU countries, and 15.7 million pounds from the rest of the world, totalling 55.6 million pounds. But 30 million pounds of fur was reportedly re-exported, underlining consumers feelings towards purchasing real fur.
“We know from our own experience that what customers want from companies is cruelty-free products, transparency and honesty,” continued Hilary Jones, Lush ethics director. “The public think that, because of public pressure, fur was banished from UK high streets decades ago. They will not thank brands that are either mistakenly or negligently putting real fur onto their customers. It is time for everyone in the supply chain to take responsibility, or customers will lose faith. We are happy to help Humane Society International in this important campaign, to help empower customers and to remind the government that current fur policy is neither consistent nor in line with public feeling.”