With the growing number of fur items being imported from China, The Humane Society of Canada is urging the federal government to following the example of other countries in banning the import of dog and cat fur. In the United States, The Dog and Cat Protection Act of 2000 banned such imports with fines as high as $11,580 (US $10,000), and the 27 countries of the European Union are considering passing a similar law. In December, 2006 a Draft Bill was published by the European Commission and introduction of a new law across all EU Member States should begin in January 2008.
Undercover investigations have documented the cruel slaughter of dogs and cats in China, and a recent report alleges that this practice may also be taking place in the Czech Republic.
Our undercover team purchased these miniature versions of dogs and cats which ranged in price from $2.99 to $7.99 (US $2.58 to US $6.90) and the sellers admitted the goods were imported from China. One store owner told us the items were made from feathers (clearly not the case), and another was vague and evasive about the type of fur used in its manufacture. Dog and cat fur is also used for trim in the manufacture of clothing, scarves, gloves and other accessories.
The willingness of the Chinese Government to distort the truth is once more underscored by the toxic spill that took place on December 13th of this year which affected the environment in China and downstream in Russian and the drinking water for more than 4 million people. For nearly a week after 100 tonnes of deadly benzene and nitrobenzene spilled into the Songhau River which in turn feeds into the Amur River in Russia, Chinese officials lied to their own people about the nature of the disaster.
The Canadian Government’s longstanding defence of Canada’s own fur trade and seal hunt means that politicians and civil servants have been reluctant to clamp down on this trade. China represents a huge consumer market for the business community at large, and as a result, many governments, including Canada, are unwilling to pick a fight with China over issues resulting in suffering for people and animals and damage to the environment.
This reluctance by Canadian politicians to take China to task for its failure to live up to its standing as a member of the international community is even more remarkable in the wake of SARS which was traced back to the horrific conditions in their wildlife markets; and avian bird flu which has also been traced back to the cruelty found in their animal markets. These two diseases alone caused enormous human and animal suffering and resulted in billions of dollars in lost revenues for the Canadian business community.
Government agencies in Canada also routinely fail to enforce the requirement that all imported goods bear labels identifying the country of origin and the materials used in the manufacture of each item. Even when labels are attached to the items exported from China there is no enforcement in that country to ensure that the information is truthful.
Forensic testing to determine the type of fur costs $100 per item (US $86) and there is a three month waiting period to get the results.
For more than 35 years, The Humane Society of Canada has worked in over 95 countries, and it has been our experience that no animal raised in captivity or killed in the wild ever suffers anything except a cruel death. Each year, the fur trade is directly responsible for the slaughter of tens of millions of dogs, cats, rabbits and wildlife.
Here’s how you can help with our consumer awareness campaign Best Friends Forever:
- The best way to make sure your hard earned money doesn’t support this cruel trade is to make sure that you and your friends and family don’t buy fur of any kind
- Many of these items are for sale in variety stores and import stores which are offering a wide range of other goods for sale. Ask to speak to the store owner or manager and politely tell him/her that until the fur items are removed from their shelves, you and your friends and family will be spending your money someplace else
- Provide us with the name, address, telephone number and e mail address of any stores where you see these items for sale, so we can follow up with a letter of our own
- Write to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A2 and tell him to do the right thing and join other civilized countries in passing a law to ban this cruel trade