The Humane Society of the United States has accused Neiman Marcus of violating an agreement not to sell “faux fur” products containing actual animal fur. In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday, the animal-rights group took the department store to task for defying the Fur Products Labeling Act with its “business-as-usual approach.” Central to the petition are three pairs of boots (one from Taryn Rose and two from Aquatalia), all of which have since been removed from the store’s website. Neiman Marcus faced similar charges in 2013, when it settled with the FTC over “falsely or deceptively advertising any fur product by misrepresenting or failing to disclose that the fur in any fur product is faux or fake.”
Neiman Marcus isn’t the only retail offender, either. In December, Today’s “Rossen Reports” tested so-called “faux fur” products” from some of the nation’s biggest retailers, only to find the hair of animals such as rabbits, coyotes, and raccoon dogs.
Because quality faux furs can be more expensive than the real McCoys, American consumers are continuously being “duped” into buying animal fur, according to Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
“It’s clear to us that strong enforcement is needed,” he wrote on his blog. “We’ve shown, via investigations, forensic testing, and other means, that concerned consumers are being misled by companies that use animal fur and mislabel their products, again and again, without serious reprimand or punishment.”
The Fur Products Labeling Act requires genuine-fur products to not only declare themselves as such but also list what animal species they come from and the animal’s country of origin.
The FTC is empowered to impose penalties of up to $5,000, plus a year in jail, for Fur Products Labeling Act violations, and $16,000 for consent order violations. It may also treat each day of
ongoing noncompliance as a separate violation.
“Many Americans reject animal fur apparel, knowing of the many exposés that have documented inhumane conditions of rabbits, mink, and foxes in tiny wire cages, and bobcats, coyotes, and domestic dogs caught and killed in indiscriminate steel traps set on our public lands,” Pacelle said. “These compassionate consumers deserve to have their strong moral positions protected, and our consumer protection laws should be fully enforced.”‘