July 25, 2011
Humane Society International (HSI) has confirmed fears that the Government is failing to enforce a ban on cat and dog fur coming into Australia. Independent scientific tests have proved retail outlets in Australia, including major department stores, are not only selling garments trimmed with dog fur but also laced with hexavalent chromium, a proven carcinogenic.
This is despite a ban the Howard Government imposed against the importation of cat and dog fur in 2004 following an overwhelming public outcry when HSI first exposed the cruel trade. Correspondence with the current Government shows they are not taking it seriously.
Adding insult to injury, the University of NSW Analytical Centre has now uncovered dangerously high levels of toxicity in the leather from the fur vests that tested positive as dog. Hexavalent chromium or toxic chromium in the fur vests was up to 733 times higher than recommended levels.
Hexavalent chromium is classified as a Class 1 human carcinogen by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Hexavalent chromium is also on the National Pollutant Inventory list, and reported to usually be highly toxic.
Fur vests are a popular fashion item this season and the trend is predicted to continue next winter. Australian consumers do not want to wear fur from household pets and if they knew they would be appalled. The fur is often mis-labelled as rabbit fur or just as fur without the animal being specified.
An undercover investigation in China revealed the heart breaking cruelty dogs suffer in the fur farms. Dogs are skinned alive to preserve their pelts and pet dogs are even kidnapped for the trade.
HSI wants to see the Government take the import ban seriously and direct Customs to undertake proper enforcement. We have also continued to call for changes to labelling laws that would ensure that all fur products are labelled with the species and country of origin so that consumers, and retailers, are not mislead.
“When we go public on this issue the response is overwhelming, attracting by far the largest outcry of all the animal causes HSI has ever championed. Australian consumers certainly don’t want to purchase dog and cat fur products and most Australian retailers do not want to be at risk of selling it. It is vital that the Minister intervenes and ensures the gaps allowing these illegal products onto the Australian market are closed immediately, and tighter labelling laws, to protect both consumers and retailers, are enacted as soon as possible."
- Verna Simpson, HSI Director
Please help us pressure the government to act accordingly.
In 2004, the Australian Parliament responded to public outcry and banned cat and dog fur imports. The Government of today has a responsibility to uphold and enforce that legislation.
Given the volumes of fur garments that HSI has found and has been alerted to this season, clearly not enough is being done at the point of entry to stop and detect suspect fur imports.
Consumers also need to be made aware of the potential health risks in wearing these fur vests and retailers have a direct responsibility to urgently recall suspect fur garments.
Please support us in writing to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Home Affairs, and the Minister for Health:
The Hon Julia Gillard MP
PO Box 6022
Canberra ACT 2600
The Hon. Brendan O’Connor
Minister for Justice and Minister for Home Affairs
Canberra ACT 2600
The Hon Nicola Roxon MP
Minister for Health and Ageing
Canberra ACT 2600
In your letter you may wish to include the following points:
- Ask that they direct Customs to properly enforce the law banning cat and dog fur imports to Australia.
- Ask Government to enact legislation to ensure there is ‘truth in labelling’, so that it is mandatory to identify the species and country of origin for fur products.
- Suggest they make retailers aware there is evidence of illegal and hazardous dog fur products on sale in Australian markets and recommend a product recall.
- Please share this with your friends on Facebook
Please send us copies of any responses you receive.
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