In comparison, the cat and dog fur industry of China, Thailand and Philippines has always flourished. Truly a horror story for dog- and cat-lovers... no wonder, after a long and vocal campaign focusing on Chinese fur products, supported by Sir Paul McCartney and others in 2007 the EU banned trade in cat and dog fur.
However, items made from cat and dog furs and skins are exported to other countries including India and they are not labelled so. One finds attractive and cute decorative fur items displayed in certain shops, even sold on roadsides. Being cheap, people buy them, little realising the origin.
These cat and dog fur knickknacks are imported mainly from China and are usually not labelled. If they are labelled, cat fur would be called Katzenfelle, Goyangi, house- wild- mountain- or wild-cat; whereas dog fur could be labelled as gae-wolf or sobaki and dog skin as special- lamb- or mountain goat-skin.
The finished products range from golf gloves, handbags, jackets to bed-sheets with fancy home decorations thrown in.
In 2017 a Sky News investigation found real animal fur sold as fake on British high streets. They were either mis-labeled or not labelled at all. The furs were not only those of dogs and cats but other animals from China which included rabbit, racoon and mink.
Given the relationship between humans and dogs/cats, people who suspect the origin of such items to be the skins and furs of companion animals never buy them. But, unfortunately there are many more unsuspecting buyers. They can not imagine that real fur can be so cheap, leave alone it be pets’ pelts.
Investigations made by the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade have found dogs hanging by the neck from wire nooses with water poured down their throats through a hose until they drowned. Many were skinned while still alive. They were cats and dogs that were once some one’s pets, rounded up, transported in sacks and crates, held in dingy buildings, often without food or water.
Like the EU, India also needs to impose a ban on import of dog and cat fur/skins. Beauty Without Cruelty therefore approached the Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, and following new trade developments between India and China in 2013, BWC requested the Director General of Foreign Trade, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Meanwhile, we request people to remember the cost of an item should never be the criteria for judging whether it is of animal origin or not. Very cheap stuff can contain fur, silk, leather – in this case an innocent pet cat or dog’s pelt.