Tesco, Boots, FatFace and Romwe have been accused of mis-selling real fur as faux fur following an investigation.
A £16 pom-pom key chain sold on Tesco Direct, £18 chenille gloves from FatFace, £3.99 hairclips from Boots and $15.99 shoes and a $8.99 bobble hat from Romwe were all labelled as faux fur but laboratory testing showed them to contain fur from rabbit, mink and fox. All the products were made in China.
The investigation was carried out by Humane Society International UK (HSI) and the Mail on Sunday.
In previous investigations HSI has discovered raccoon dog and chinchilla being sold as faux fur.
Claire Bass, executive director of HSI UK, said: “Tesco, FatFace, Boots and Romwe are all companies with commendable no-fur policies, so it is very disappointing to find that real animal fur has slipped into their stores described as faux fur.
“Most British consumers want nothing to do with the cruel fur trade so it is vital that retailers improve their vigilance to ensure their customers are not being misled into buying real fur. It is simply unacceptable that compassionate consumers are unknowingly spending their money on the very cruelty that they are trying to avoid, fur from foxes, raccoon dogs, mink and rabbits who have suffered lives of confinement in barren wire cages, and excruciating deaths through electrocution or gassing.”
HSI is calling on the government to ban the import of all fur once the UK leaves the EU. Under the single market, free movement of goods rules apply to fur, which is farmed in several European countries, though cat, dog and seal fur is banned.
The organisation also said labelling rules needed to be tightened so all products containing real animal fur made this clear and included the animal species, country of origin and how the animal was reared and killed.
“Stricter fur labelling laws are urgently needed but ultimately animal fur has no future in British shops and wardrobes, which is why we’re calling on the government to use Brexit to ban all fur imports into Britain, closing our borders to this revolting, outdated and unnecessary trade,” said Bass.
Tesco said: “The products featured aren’t Tesco products, they were sold by a third party on our Tesco Direct website. We’ve removed them from sale.”
In a statement Boots said: “At Boots UK we have clear animal welfare standards that we take very seriously. We agreed to stock this product from a trusted supplier after receiving assurances that it was made from faux fur.
“We take any customer concerns seriously and so we removed the product from sale while the supplier carried out further testing. Unfortunately, this has shown that the product does contain real fur. As a result, we have permanently removed it from our stores and website. We would like to apologise for any distress this causes customers, and we are offering a full refund should customers wish to return the product to stores.”
The other brands have not responded to a request for comment.
Fur farming was banned 20 years ago in the UK, but it is still farmed in China, and parts of Europe, including France, Denmark, Finland and Norway, Shely Bryan, campaign director of HSI UK, told SM.
“Fur is absolutely not expensive – and that says something about the way animals are raised in factory farm units,” she said. “So as far as procurement goes, don't assume by price they are fake. Check with your suppliers and remind them that you are fur-free and don’t want to be selling real fur.”
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