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March 15, 2013

For Real: Sears Says ‘No” to Real Fur

This week, Sears Holdings Corporation, the parent company for Sears and Kmart, agreed to go fur-free on Marketplace at Sears.com, a program that opens the Sears platform to third party sellers. The company took this action after The HSUS agreed to withdraw a shareholder proposal calling for a no-fur policy. Since Sears was already fur-free in stores and on Sears.com, the proposal simply asked for a consistent application of the company’s no-fur policy to all features of its business.

Raccoon_dog
Lilia Tkachenko
Investigations show the raccoon dog, a member of the
Canid family, is often skinned alive in China.

This is great news for animals because the Marketplace at Sears.com had multiple vendors that sold products with real fur, and in some cases the fur was incorrectly identified in the online ads. After Sears did an analysis of the costs associated with maintaining accurate fur labeling and advertising, it made the right choice and decided to ban fur.

This victory follows last week’s investigation by The HSUS and New York State Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal, D-Manhattan, author of New York State’s 2007 fur labeling law. Together, we documented multiple animal fur garments in violation of state and federal fur labeling laws being offered by the popular New York retailer, Century 21 Department Store. The undercover investigation included raccoon dog fur being sold as “faux fur” on a Marc Jacobs jacket. The story received worldwide press and landed on the front page of the NY Daily News.

These developments remind me of The HSUS’ 2007 investigation that found raccoon dog fur being sold as “faux,” “raccoon,” or “rabbit” fur by popular retailers like Nordstrom, Foot Locker and Bluefly.com, and involving notable brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors and Rocawear. That investigation led to the adoption of fur-free policies by Tommy Hilfiger, Foot Locker and Rocawear, and a ban on fur from raccoon dogs by Nordstrom, Bluefly.com and Michael Kors. Additionally, Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor, Andrew Marc and St. John Knits have banned all fur from raccoon dogs­ – an animal documented to be skinned alive in China. And it led to the introduction of the Truth in Fur Labeling Act in the U.S. Congress, which passed in 2010, and now requires that all fur trim is labeled with the species of animal and country of origin, regardless of dollar value.

Many retailers like Sears are realizing that it’s nearly impossible to give consumers accurate information about real animal fur on garments. Hopefully, Century 21 and Marc Jacobs will recognize that shunning fur is the right thing to do. With fashionable alternatives available to every major retailer, there’s just no reason to take the lives of animals for such a frivolous purpose.

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