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Is your fur really fake?

Lush windows across the country draw attention to real fur that's mislabelled as fake
Is your fur really fake?

Humane Society International UK and Lush have launched a nationwide #WhatTheFur?! campaign across the UK’s 103 Lush stores to make shoppers aware they could be misled into buying real fur falsely labelled as fake.

Labels can lie

Lush has a track record of using its shop front windows for bringing social justice issues to the high street. This latest campaign with HSI uses lenticular technology to transform a woman wearing a fur bobble hat into a fox on a fur farm. It underlines the growing problem of real animal fur being mislabelled as faux fur, duping shoppers into buying cruel fur they might otherwise actively avoid.

Both the fur-trimmed hat and the fox are shown sporting the same ‘100% acrylic’ label attached to their fur to show that labels can lie.

The joint campaign is continued in store and online where customers can pick up or download a free wallet-sized guide to help tell the difference between real and faux fur, and sign HSI’s #FurFreeBritain petition calling for a ban on fur imports.

‘British consumers will be shocked to learn that they are being duped into buying real animal fur. Partnering with Lush gives us a unique opportunity to reach shoppers across the country who are unaware that trusted brands and independent retailers alike can be caught out selling real animal fur at deceptively cheap prices, described as ‘faux’ or ‘100% acrylic’. As an urgent first step we’re calling on the government to introduce mandatory, clear labelling of all animal fur in order to protect both animals and consumers, but ultimately the government must use Brexit as an opportunity to close UK borders to the cruel, outdated and unnecessary fur trade.’

Executive director of Humane Society International UK

Labelling regulation

HSI UK is calling on the government to enact a fur labelling regulation so consumers can avoid fur products they object to ethically. But ultimately HSI believes it’s not enough to label cruel fur products, and says a UK ban on the import and sale of fur is needed to bring the marketplace in line with public opinion.

Former Made In Chelsea star and vegan lifestyle influencer Lucy Watson, Cosmopolitan’s UK senior fashion editor Sairey Stemp and wildlife TV presenter Anneka Svenska joined HSI and Lush to launch the campaign at an event party at Lush’s Soho Studio.

Guests were challenged to spot mislabelled fur items before watching the UK premiere screening of documentary-short film Klatki, which exposes the cruelty on a Polish fur farm.

‘We know from our own experience that what customers want from companies is cruelty-free products, transparency and honesty. The public think that, because of public pressure, fur was banished from UK high streets decades ago. They will not thank brands that are either mistakenly or negligently putting real fur onto their customers. It is time for everyone in the supply chain to take responsibility, or customers will lose faith. We are happy to help HSI in this important campaign, to help empower customers and to remind the government that current fur policy is neither consistent nor in line with public feeling.’

Lush ethics director

Fur facts

Around the world in countries such as Denmark, France, Poland and China, animals on fur farms are subjected to terrible conditions. Wild animals are kept their entire lives in small, barren cages, physically and mentally deprived, before being killed and skinned for their fur. Wild animals such as coyotes fair no better, caught in agonising traps for hours or even days before being shot.

Although fur farming was outlawed in the UK on moral grounds in 2000, and EU regulations ban fur from domestic cats, dogs or commercial seal hunts, the UK still imports and sells fur from a range of other species such as fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, racoon and chinchilla.

HM Revenue and Customs statistics show that in 2016, the UK imported £39,867,668 of animal fur from EU countries and £15,746,833 from the rest of the world, totalling £55,614,501 in imports. £30,068,653 of fur is reported as having been re-exported or dispatched, leaving a domestic market of £25,545,848.

A 2016 YouGov poll commissioned by HSI UK shows that the vast majority of the British public oppose fur, with nine out of 10 Brits believing it’s unacceptable to buy and sell real fur, averaged across nine species.

Click here to see Britain’s Next Top Model contestants taking a stand against fur, circuses and bullfighting.

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