Yet again, another retailer has mislabeled raccoon dog fur, a member of the canid family – the same family that domesticated dogs belong to. This is illegal, and it has been since 1951. To make matters worse, this mislabeled fur is from China, where raccoon dogs and other animals including domesticated cats and dogs, have been documented getting skinned alive, literally.  It is outrageous and disgusting that fur is still being sold by retailers who should know better, but it adds insult to injury when the very least they could do (properly labeling garments) cannot even get done. It is not just a mislabeled fabric… everything is at stake for animals in China and animals on fur farms everywhere. Please read the article from The Humane Society of the United States, and write a letter to Neiman Marcus:

Falsely Advertised, Mislabeled Raccoon Dog Fur Sold by Neiman Marcus

WASHINGTON (Dec. 30, 2010) — The Humane Society of the United States revealed through laboratory testing that an exclusive, $1,895 St. John brand jacket advertised by Neiman Marcus in VOGUE and W magazines is not dyed “raccoon” fur, as described at NeimanMarcus.com and on the garment’s tag, but actually raccoon dog, a member of the Canid family documented to be often skinned alive in China.

“Independent investigations into the Chinese raccoon dog fur industry have revealed horrendous cruelty, including animals being skinned alive,” said Pierre Grzybowski, manager of the Fur-Free Campaign at The HSUS.

Under the nearly 60-year-old federal Fur Products Labeling Act, it is unlawful to describe the fur on a garment as being from a different type of animal. Violations of the federal fur labeling law carry up to a $5,000 fine and a year in prison. On Dec. 18, President Obama signed H.R. 2480, The Truth in Fur Labeling Act, that strengthens the FPLA by requiring all garments made with animal fur—regardless of value—to be labeled and advertised with the correct species of animal.

The September issues of Vogue and W magazine contain identical eight-page ad-spreads from Neiman Marcus entitled “The Art of Fashion.” A full page of the spread is devoted to a model wearing the same style of fur-trimmed St. John jacket bought by HSUS investigators from NeimanMarcus.com, and the last page of the spread gives the Neiman Marcus website and phone number.

The Humane Society of the United States calls on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the matter, and calls on Neiman Marcus to take immediate action, including contacting and offering to refund all customers who purchased this garment, and inspecting and testing any other garments that are purported to be “raccoon” fur from China.

Images of the online ad, garment tags, and magazine ads are available here.