WASHINGTON – Two representatives are taking aim at what they call deception in the fur trade, introducing a bill to combat apparel companies that cover up the origin of certain furs, including cats and dogs, used in coats and clothing.
An existing exemption to current law says garments that are made with less than $150 of fur do not have to be labeled with the type of fur used. Because of that exemption, the Humane Society of the United States says some jackets, those made in China, are being made with dog fur around the hood or the cuffs.
Using dog and cat fur is illegal in the United States, so Reps. Jim Moran, D-Va., and Mike Ferguson, R-N.J., announced legislation that requires labeling on all fur garments. The bill would also ban the sale and import of raccoon dog fur, a wild species of dog found in China.
"The raccoon dog and domestic dogs are being killed in inhumane ways for the U.S. fur trade," Moran said.
Representatives of the Humane Society say 24 of the 25 jackets they tested last fall were made from domestic dogs, wild dogs and wolves though they were labeled as using raccoon or coyote fur, or were not labeled at all.
The jackets, made by such companies as Tommy Hilfiger and Sean John among others, were sold in stores such as Burlington Coat Factory, Macy's, and Neiman Marcus.
In response, Tommy Hilfiger told FOX News that it stands by a previous statement saying the company infrequently uses fur. In the cases where real fur is used, it comes from the United States and meets all laws and regulations, they said.
"Any fur that the company uses from outside the United States must pass through Customs with official Fish and Wildlife (Service) documents meeting all legal requirements," the company said.
Macy's also responded, telling FOX News that it has a standing policy against selling anything with dog or cat fur, and that any violation is "pursued vigorously" with suppliers. The inaccurately labeled products are "removed from our stores and online sites," said a company statement.
FOX News' Molly Henneberg contributed to this report.