New Jersey State Legislature Passes Bill to Protect Consumers from
Unlabeled Fur Products
(June 25, 2009) — The Humane Society of the United States praised the
New Jersey State Senate for passing legislation requiring all garments
made of animal fur to be labeled as such. Introduced by Sen. Jeff Van
Drew, D-1, S. 2472 passed with a vote of 37 to 1. In March a similar
bill, A. 2653, sponsored by Assemblymember Nilsa Cruz-Perez, D-5,
passed the State Assembly with a vote of 61 to 16. The Senate bill
now goes to the Assembly for concurrence, and if enacted, New Jersey
will become the fifth state to pass a strong fur labeling law.
"This bill has to do with the consumers' right to know what they're
wearing — whether it's cotton, silk, polyester, mink or dog fur," said
Sen. Van Drew. "The bottom line is that there are people walking
around wearing dog fur, who don't know it. By requiring labels to
contain the content of the garment, we would be giving consumers
the right to determine what they put on their bodies."
"Consumers have the right to know exactly what they are buying
so they can make informed purchasing decisions," said Michael
Markarian, The HSUS' executive vice president and chief operating
officer. "Many people have allergies to fur, have ethical objections to
fur, or choose to avoid fur from particular species of animals. We
applaud New Jersey lawmakers for passing this important consumer
protection bill and hope it moves to the governor's desk quickly."
A recent investigation by The Humane Society of the United States
revealed that many designers and retailers were selling unlabeled
fur-trimmed jackets as "faux," "raccoon" or "rabbit" that actually
came from domestic dogs or raccoon dogs, an Asian canine species.
Domestic dog fur has also been found on unlabeled garments sold
in the United States despite being illegal.
Thursday's vote in favor of S. 2472 — a simple, but important
consumer protection measure — will require all garments containing
animal fur sold in New Jersey to be labeled with the type of animal fur
and the country of origin.
A loophole in the federal fur labeling law allows products with a
"relatively small quantity or value" to go unlabeled. This loophole
means that many unlabeled garments are falsely advertised as the
wrong species or even as "faux" fur, so consumers cannot be sure
what they are getting. U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Reps.
Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif., introduced Truth
in Fur Labeling Act (S. 1076 and H.R. 2480) in the U.S. Congress to
close this federal loophole and protect consumers nationwide.
2005 – The HSUS begins investigation into the raccoon dog fur trade.
February 2006 – The HSUS announces widespread industry scandal
finding raccoon dog fur for sale in the United States.
December 2006 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find
raccoon dog fur on jackets advertised as "faux" and labeled as other
species such as raccoon or coyote.
February 2007 – Tests commissioned by HSUS investigators find
domestic dog fur on unlabeled jackets advertised as "faux" fur.
February 2007 – U.S. Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Michael Ferguson,
R-N.J., introduce the Dog and Cat Fur Prohibition Enforcement Act,
March 2007 – The HSUS files petition with the Federal Trade Commission
seeking to enforce the Fur Products Labeling Act.
Aug. 15, 2007 – New York Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal's
legislation to require fur labeling signed into law in New York.
November 2007 – New York fur labeling law goes into effect.
September 2008 – U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Norm
Coleman, R-Minn., introduce the Truth in Fur Labeling Act, S. 3610.
November 2008 – HSUS files suit against a number of major retailers
including Macy's, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue for engaging
in false advertising and mislabeling of fur garments.
May 2009 – The Truth in Fur Labeling Act, introduced in the U.S. House
of Representatives and Senate, as H.R. 2480 and S. 1076, to protect
consumers by bringing much-needed accuracy and full disclosure to
fur labeling laws. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J. and Reps. Jim Moran,
D-Va., and Mary Bono Mack, R-Calif. introduced the bills.
The Federal Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 was passed to protect
consumers by requiring all garments with real fur to indicate species
and country of origin on clothing labels, but a loophole allows some
fur-trimmed garment to be exempt.
Delaware, New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin have all passed laws
to require more complete fur labeling.
Raccoon dog is the most commonly unlabeled or misrepresented type
of fur sold in the United States, according to HSUS investigations.
Raccoon dogs have been documented to be skinned alive in China for
Media Contact: Liz Bergstrom, 240-751-0659,