Real fur is thought to be widely sold by mistake in UK stores, the RSPCA warned today. Many shoppers accidentally buy fur, assuming it is fake due to low prices and poor labelling, the charity said.
The RSPCA’s warnings come after it bought items made with fur from TK Maxx and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill. It is launching a new campaign called 100% Fake calling on retailers to carry out more stringent checks on their products.
Laboratory analysis of a coat from TK Maxx labelled as polyester and nylon found its trim was made from Arctic fox fur.
A pair of gloves from an Edinburgh Woollen Mill store were found to have rabbit fur cuffs, even though the label said they were acrylic.
The RSPCA wants shoppers to check all fur-like products and to leave items on the shelf if they cannot be sure they are not real fur. Retailers should also stop selling all real fur, the charity said.
RSPCA head of external affairs David Bowles said: “We believe that real fur is mistakenly being widely sold in the UK.”
He added: “Our message is: ’If you’re not sure it’s 100% fake, don’t buy it’.”
A survey of 2,037 adults carried out earlier this year found 93% of interviewees would not wear real fur. The gloves and coat found to be made with fur were bought from branches of the Edinburgh Woollen Mill and TK Maxx respectively in Horsham last December.
Retailers are not required to label garments as being made with fur providing the labels are not misleading, the RSPCA said.
David Read, marketing manager at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill, said the retailer had received confirmation from its supplier that the fur used on the gloves was a by-product of the food industry.
“No forward purchases of any fur products will be made under the Edinburgh Woollen Mill brand labels. We have one Edinburgh Woollen Mill product outstanding in our business with rabbit fur trim,” he said.
TK Maxx director Deborah Dolce said: “TK Maxx is proud to have implemented a long-standing policy with regard to not buying or selling real fur product and we never knowingly sell fur.
“At TK Maxx, we buy a huge range of product from thousands of international and reputable brand owners so we are committed to enforcing rigorous processes to ensure real fur product does not enter our business, and that all labelling has the highest integrity.
“It was therefore with great surprise and regret we learned that a designer coat with real fur trim was found in one of our stores. We are pleased that the RSPCA has brought this to our attention so that we can learn how this error occurred and so that we can pursue this with the manufacturer.”