Thursday, February 08, 2007

I'll Pass on the Dog Thank You

It seems like those pesky environmental and animal activists' work has paid off once again. Due to their diligence and hard work we now know what some of us knew all along. Clothing companies really are out for the bottom line. In this case, the use of so called "faux" fur is not what it seems to be. I often hear about how most in mainstream society detest these "crazy" people, but I think it is because they alert and remind us that we may not be as guilt-free as we would like to believe. This happened years ago when these groups, along with human rights groups, blew the lid off the gap and nike for their sweat shop labor shops. Most people enjoy the nice quality and sometimes cheaper prices as long as we are not reminded where or how it was made. Unluckily, every time I purchase something I look at the "made in" label and always imagine some Asian or Indian woman and/or child working in less than favorable conditions so we can look good. I admit I am guilty of purchasing from some questionable outlets, but I still have and will not by fur.

Some people say we should buy American products only so that we may avoid these situations, but that becomes harder as we are integrated into a global economy and more manufacturing jobs are shipped overseas for cheaper labor and wages. Also, not so black and white, is that in many cases, these jobs are highly prized in these foreign countries, and while the work conditions may not meet our expectations of days off, minimum pay wages, smoke breaks and well ventilated rooms these are prized jobs for many of the people that work in these factories. I am not saying the companies do not exploit the fact the country has no labor or wage laws, but many of these women and children welcome these conditions rather than face hunger, life on the streets, and often prostitution. When it comes to world labor, there are many issues that must be considered. The best we can do is make some decisions that cause the least harm for others.

As for me my practice of buying leather or questionable products at sale or clearance prices, and or discount shops, has been my mantra for the last couple of years, but i think it is time I move toward returning toward my previous habits of buying used and non-leather items. No, I am not getting rid of my items I currently have since the damage has been done, but as part of a more holistic life I want to move in this direction. We all are complicit in the abuse of someone or something else when we shop mainstream, that is the way consumerism works. There are things we can do to lessen this impact, such as buy from discount or thrift stores, check out companies for human rights abuses, and exchange clothes for others. Just don't throw away clothes. Instead give them away to a needy family or sell them. In case you didn't notice, leather doesn't really break down in a landfill and there are plenty of people without the means to afford new clothes. I'll think I'll pass on the hypocrisy this article missed in how Americans freak out about dog and cat fur but still think it fashionable to use the fur of other animals. As if these creatures were any less of a living thing. Oh well, here's the article.

Humane Society: 'Faux fur' often dog hair

From Sally Holland
CNN Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Many fur or fur-trimmed jackets sold in the United States as having "faux fur" -- or not labeled at all -- are actually made, at least in part, from dog fur, the Humane Society of the United States said at a Capitol Hill news conference Wednesday.

Out of 25 jackets that it tested, the group said, 24 were incorrectly labeled. In many cases, it said, tests showed the fur came from raccoon dogs, nocturnal residents of Asian and northern European forests that bear a remarkable resemblance to raccoons.

It said it had bought the jackets in the United States from a variety of department stores, including Macy's, Burlington Coat Factory and J.C. Penney. Designers and brands included Sean John, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, it said. Most of the jackets tested were labeled as coming from China. (Watch Humane Society spokesman explain where the fur comes fromVideo)

Law prohibits the import or sale of dog and cat fur products. But if the amount of fur on a product is valued at less than $150, no label is required.
Lawmakers move to ban imports

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Virginia, said consumers are being duped into buying garments that are trimmed with fur but are mislabeled as faux fur or not labeled at all.

Moran said he and Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-New Jersey, plan to continue their efforts to plug the loopholes that allow such products, in part by adding the raccoon dog to the list of outlawed furs and requiring all products to be labeled, regardless of value.

The two representatives said they have reintroduced legislation they first put forward during the last session of Congress.

The Humane Society said that it is in discussion with many of the department stores that sold the garments it tested, and several had pulled such products from their stores when shown the group's findings.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Humane Society said its ongoing investigation into fur products found:

* Dog fur sold online as "faux" by several major retailers.

* Raccoon dog fur on coats sold online as having raccoon or rabbit fur.

* Mislabeled or unidentified raccoon fur on other jackets.

No comments: