Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Features, International

Jamison Maeda

Raccoon dogs are not raccoons, but rather small dogs found in East Asia and Siberia. They are very social, preferring to have a friend or mate around. Raccoon dogs are monogamous. The males bringing food to pregnant females and take an active role in care for their puppies.
They are also frequently used for their fur.

Chinese fur farms, which are in no way farms, but actually filthy, noxious warehouses, kill over 70,000 thousand of these dogs each year. Many dogs are still alive when they are hung up by their legs or tails and skinned. They kick and yelp and try to break free.
The rest of the process is too horrible and for me to write about.

Many people choose not to wear fur, but they are at a serious disadvantage because much of the garments with trim labeled as fake fur is actually made from dogs. This is a violation of the Fur Products Labeling Act, but as major retailers claim ignorance, and Chinese dog fur factories are completely unregulated, there is absolutely no way to know what you’re buying.

The American Humane Society tested garments with trim labeled fake fur and the vast majority were made from dogs.

“To our knowledge, no single furbearing animal has ever before been so mistreated and completely misrepresented to the public,” says Kristin Leppert, Director of the Humane Society’s  Fur-Free Campaign. “Banning raccoon dog fur is the only way to protect…consumers and these animals from the systematic and horrific abuse — including being skinned alive — they undergo in China and other countries.”

As long as designers and retailers including Marc Jacobs, Sean John, Dillard’s, Sears, Bluefly, Burberry, Juicy Couture and dozens of others ignore the mislabeling issue, anything labeled fake fur could be made from dogs.

And though it is unrealistic to think the world will stop using animals for food and clothing in the near future, certainly anyone would agree that skinning any living creature alive is wrong.

Until all fur factories commit to treating living things with compassion, respect and the absolute minimum amount of humanity that we were all born with, the only way to be certain you are not buying fur of a dog or cat is to not buy fur at all.