Posted by: “Angela Leary” firstname.lastname@example.org
Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:29 am (PST)
such as knee pads, waist pads, abdomen
pads, shawls, mattress covers, car-seat covers, boots and gloves.
Bidding prices range from RMB30 to 2,000. There are pictures and
descriptions of the products on the website, and some of the sellers
have even posted a note explaining the benefits of the products and
teaching consumers how to differentiate dog fur from other fur and how
to maintain it.
Find out about our recent rescue of 149 dogs heading for slaughter in China <http://www.animalsasia.org/index.php?UID=OCMBEQ6OOVL>
Hong Kong manufacturers to avoid effects of EU ban on cat and dog fur trade
The European Parliament’s ban on trade in cat and dog fur became
effective on 1 January, 2009. This means EU members are prohibited from
manufacturing, selling, importing and exporting cat and dog fur and
Animals Asia said that there were over 2 million cats and dogs being
slaughtered in China each year. Their fur is used for clothing and toys,
and some of it is exported to other countries labelled as “fake fur”.
Some fur hair-accessories sold in Hong Kong are made with cat and dog
fur, so consumer should avoid buying products that carry pelts. But the
fur, clothing and toy sectors in Hong Kong all said that the chances of
cat and dog fur being mixed in with other fur products was very low.
However, our reporter searched the web and found it was not difficult to
find cat and dog fur products for sale, with one Chinese auction website
claiming that they could cure rheumatism.
The US banned the trade in cat and dog fur in 2000, which directed the
fur market to Europe. Therefore, from 2006, the EU began discussions on
banning the trade.
According to research into the sale of cat and dog fur in Europe, the
pelts of dogs and cats are widely used in the manufacture of clothing,
accessories and toys. They are also being labelled as “faux fur” to
deceive consumers, which was causing much resentment among consumers and
animal welfare groups and eventually led to the ban on the trade.
Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland have also banned the trade, and
some members of the EU, such as Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece and
Italy had already introduced the ban before the EU’s move.
Mark Jones, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director said the ban could
harm the world trading activities of cat and dog fur from the
perspective of consumer demand, so it was definitely good news for dogs
Mr Jones said most of the factories for cat and dog fur were located in
China’s northeast provinces. He said Shangdong province was the biggest
supplier, and the trading markets were mostly in Beijing and Heibei. He
also said that as well as catching stray dogs and cats, manufacturers
also stole pets from their owners and locked them in tiny cages with
little food or water. They endured much suffering and were slaughtered
and skinned in various inhumane ways.
Fiona Woodhouse, Assistant Animal Welfare Director of HKSPCA welcomed
the EU ban on the trade, but she said “the ban only applied to cats and
dogs. I hope that the ban can extend to other animals in the future.”
She also said that Europe, the United States, Russia and China were the
biggest markets for fur in the world; she believed that the ban could
raise awareness of animal welfare among consumers and reduce their
purchase of the fur related products and minimize the demands.
According to a spokesperson for Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation
Department, Hong Kong has no law banning the trade in cat and dog fur,
but under the Rabies Regulation, Article No. 421A, importers are
required to obtain a permit before importing cat and dog fur products.
Mr Jones pointed out that there was a high probability that products
containing cat and dog fur were being sold in Hong Kong, especially at
the low end of the market. He said that it was very difficult to tell
whether fur was from cats or dogs, and it was better that consumers did
not buy any products containing fur and so avoided supporting the trade
unknowingly. A few years ago, Animals Asia purchased some fur
accessories, and laboratory testing proved that these were made from cat
and dog fur.
A Hong Kong clothing manufacturer who runs a factory in China said he
would not rule out the possibility that some raw-material suppliers
might mix cat and dog fur in with the “real fur” to lower the cost. He
said that even manufacturers would not be able to tell when they bought
the material. “For example, using fleece to make a ball of wool – since
the fleece is expensive, some unethical suppliers mix the fleece with
other fur to lower the cost, and some might use cat and dog fur. This is
just like putting hair into ‘fat choi’ – it is not uncommon in China.”
A fashion merchandiser said that for some export-brand fashion,
synthetic fur was used and the cost was higher than cat and dog fur.
“Using fibre to make synthetic wool is very costly if it is made to be
like real fur, in terms of the look, the feel, making it fire-retardant
and using non-toxic dye.” But she also said that because of the strict
export regulations and the requirement for test certificates, it was
difficult to use cat and dog fur disguised as real fur. She said that if
export fashion contained fur, it was usually the fur of rabbit, fox or
Mr Lam, a clothing manufacturer in Hong Kong, said he had never heard of
cat and dog pelts being used. He said the chance of mistakenly buying
these raw materials in China was very slim, because manufacturers could
distinguish between the fur of different animals.
“If it is down, it will be either from duck or goose, the material comes
in a sack and it is impossible to mix it with cat and dog fur, as the
down is much lighter than cat and dog fur,” Mr Lam said. “Ninety per
cent of the fur used as trimming for fashion items, is man-made fur
since the cost is low; the low-end ones only cost HK$10 each. If it is
higher-end fashion, they will use real fur, such as rabbit or fox and
the pelts come in a whole piece. Therefore it is easy to distinguish
which animal it is from, plus real fur requires many sterilisation and
Ms Yip from the Hong Kong Fur Trade Association said Hong Kong fur
manufacturers would never use cheap pelts without knowing the source.
Also as a professional fur manufacturer, one can tell right away the
quality of the fur, she said. “Our source is usually one of the auction
houses in Europe. Most of the animals are farmed in Europe and have
certificates. Real fur is usually from mink, fox or raccoon.”
Hong Kong Fur Association Director Mr Sun, who is also a fur
manufacturer, said he had never heard of the use of cat and dog fur in
the trade. “Ninety-five per cent of the pelts that are being used in our
industry are from farms, and some are from the wild, such as Canadian
water rat, Australian kangaroo, and those countries exported them with a
limited quota.” He also said that Denmark was the largest supplier of
fur, with almost 3,000 farms. The second-largest supply is Finland.
Toy manufacturer Mr Chiu said, about eight to 10 years ago, he heard of
some entrepreneurs in China using cat and dog fur to make plush toys, in
order to make them look real, plus the cost of cat and dog fur was low.
But he hasn’t heard of this practice lately. He believes that Hong Kong
manufacturers would not dare take this risk, “If exporting to the United
States and Europe, they have very strict requirements, all the raw
materials or end products need to have proof, so the manufacturers are
very cautious. They will check the background of the supplier, test
their samples and send the required certificates to their customers in
the US and EU for approval before they will actually manufacture the
products, as they will suffer a big loss if there is any problem when
they export the products.”
Although a lot of manufacturers in Hong Kong said they had never heard
of the use of cat and dog fur, our reporter found that the auction
website in China, http://www.taobao.com <
Mr Sun said people in northern China believed that dog fur could cure
rheumatism, therefore dog-pelt products were very common there. “In
northern China, you see dog-fur products everywhere. If there is a
market, there will be people manufacturing them. However I believe most
of them are made by small individual factories,” Mr Sun said. “The
farmers in northern China catch dogs and make products for their own
use, which is very natural.”
*Photo captions: *
Animals Asia bought some fur accessories in Hong Kong a few years ago
and laboratory testing proved them to be made from cat fur.
Coat trimmings might be mixed with cat and dog fur, but Hong Kong
manufacturers stress that 90 per cent of these decorations are made from
Animals Asia has launched an awareness campaign asking consumers not to
buy any fur products if they couldn’t distinguish between real and fake fur.
*Photos provided by Animals Asia: *
These rugs are made from cat and dog fur. Each rug is made from the fur
of 12 dogs or cats. The one on the far right is made from dog pelts, the
rest are made from cat pelts.
It is easy to find dog-pelt products online at this Chinese auction website.
*Angela Leary *Media Manager
Animals Asia Foundation
Tel: + (852) 2791 2225
Fax: + (852) 2791 232