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Real fur from rabbit, mink and fox has recently been found in products sold as ‘faux fur’ by Tesco, Boots, FatFace and Romwe. Laboratory tests confirmed that a pom-pom key chain from Tesco’s and a pair of chenille gloves from FatFace contained real rabbit fur, while Boots was found to be selling hair clips containing mink fur. Popular online fashion site Romwe retailed ‘faux’ fur shoes containing real fox fur and a bobble hat containing real rabbit fur.

Unfortunately, these findings, which came out in an investigation by Humane Society International/UK and the Mail on Sunday, are nothing particularly new. Only last month, a joint HSI UK and Sky News investigation exposed T.K. Maxx, Boohoo, Amazon and Not On The High Street for selling mislabelled fur.

There are several worrying aspects to this story. Firstly, could this be the tip of the ice-berg? The investigation in question could logically only examine a tiny proportion of the market. What about the rest? Are would-be ethical consumers unknowingly playing Russian roulette when purchasing faux fur?

This investigation raises another serious issue. Namely, why are suppliers replacing ‘faux fur’ with real fur? The only logical conclusion here is that it is because it is cheaper. The HIS itself supports this theory. “Many of the mislabelled items that HSI UK finds are fur trim and accessories such as bobble hats, keychains, scarves and shoes,” says the HSI in a note. “The items have deceptively low price points; life is cheap on fur farms, with animals often having to endure appalling deprivation. This means that real fur trim can cost the same or even less to produce than faux fur.”

What a depressing state of affairs. The pro-fur lobby has always maintained that animals raised and killed for their fur are kept in humane conditions and have a decent life. Investigations such as this make such a proposition increasingly difficult to believe.

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