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March 12, 2009

Penney for Your Thoughts on Fur

Today, another milestone in our campaign against fur.

JCPenney, with more than 1,000 stores in 49 states, has become fur-free, making it the first multiple location, traditional department store to be fur-free in stores and on its website. The company is currently fur-free and has no plans for fur items in the future. Amen to that.

Raccoon dogs
© Lauri Sippu
A raccoon dog.

JCPenney has come a long way in a short time. In 2006, the retailer found itself at the center of an HSUS investigation. Some of the animal fur sold at JCPenney was labeled as “raccoon,” but was actually fur from raccoon dogs—a wild species in the dog family documented to be skinned alive in China. After a few missteps, JCPenney took the appropriate action and eliminated animal fur altogether.

A year ago, there was not a single industry leader setting a standard of compassion for department stores. However, last summer, Overstock.com became the first online, multi-tier retailer to completely eliminate all fur items for sale on its website—the very day The HSUS approached its progressive CEO with the facts about fur. And last October, a true model for luxury with a conscience emerged when New York’s Henri Bendel went fur-free to comply with its parent company’s pre-existing fur-free policy.

Henri Bendel’s decision demonstrated that a store’s luxury heritage need not be compromised by its refusal to sell fur. And now JCPenney, with its household name and enormous reach, has joined the ranks of more than 130 well-known, fur-free companies. There’s no reason for its competitors not to follow suit.

There’s no excuse for fur given the alternatives we have today.

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