Foxford Woollen Mills falls victim to a fox fur faux pas

Foxford Woollen Mills falls victim to a fox fur faux pas

Activists took to Facebook on Sunday night condemning what they mistakenly thought was the use of fox fur by a historic Irish fabric business — but the "fox" on the Foxford Woollen Mills product label had no connection with foxes. 

A world-famous Irish fabric business inadvertently attracted the ire of online animal welfare activists on Sunday after they mistook an abbreviation of the store’s name on a product label — “Fox” — to mean that the item was made from fox fur.

The historic Foxford Woollen Mills shop and visitor centre in Mayo was bombarded with messages from activists after the Irish Party for Animal Welfare (IPAW) shared a post featuring a photograph of a woman’s stole or long scarf from the store.

Founded in Foxford, Co Mayo, in 1892, the company specialises in designing luxury hand-woven clothing and soft furnishings.  

The photo posted on Facebook showed a product label reading “FOX PORM-POMS STOLE”, and was accompanied by the message: “Why does Foxford Woollen Mills have to sell a wrap with fox fur pompoms?

Part of the image reposted by Foxford Woollen Mills in Mayo on its Facebook page, where they pointed out that "fox" is an abbreviation for Foxford. 
Part of the image reposted by Foxford Woollen Mills in Mayo on its Facebook page, where they pointed out that "fox" is an abbreviation for Foxford. 

“I had to walk out, so disappointing that they feel the need to support animal cruelty, all for decoration,” the original poster continued.  

IPAW, which is a registered political party, urged its followers on social media to contact Foxford Woollen Mills to express their feelings on the issue, while others called for a boycott of the store.

“I’m boycotting the Mills and have sent messages to all my local Foxford friends too, said one individual. "Disgusted.”

Another commented: “Psychopaths by any other name.”

However, the pompoms on the stole were actually made from faux fur, and the word “fox” on the product label was merely an abbreviation for Foxford. 

“We have been sent messages and have unfortunately seen posts shared,” the Woollen Mills later posted on its Facebook page. "We do not sell fox fur."

 

"This product is from the supplier attached below who uses FAUX FUR," the post by the 129-year-old business continued. 

"The Fox is product abbreviation for FOXFORD — a retail code. All messages have been replied to privately,” it added.

On Sunday night, IPAW issued an apology for the mix-up on Facebook, but defended its actions when asked whether it had called out the Woollen Mills without first checking its facts.

“Yes we did, because a very experienced activist drew our attention to it. As you well know, it is very common for some suppliers to use real fur under the pretence of ‘faux fur’” IPAW claimed.

Several individuals sympathised with the store on social media.

“Organisations that jump on bandwagons with no proper research really need to consider the damage this does to their credibility,” one person commented.

Foxford Woollen Mills did not respond to a request for comment.

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