Dog and cat fur may also be coming from a source much closer to home—the Czech Republic.
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2005 7:53 AM
Re: PLEASE HELP THESE PRECIOUS ANIMALS, DOGS/CATS BEING SKINNED ALIVE
I've been in rescue close to 20 years..... as many of us we have seen the worst of mankind.. I came apart this morning when I saw this video........ I started shaking and crying. Then began throwing up. My first reaction was no this cannot be happening..... I cannot imagine the hell and pain these babies are enduring. This pretty much wrapped up any hope I had in my fellow humans.
I have sent this to all my lists..... together we have to stop this!!
Liz Morgan NJ
HSI Investigation Reveals a New Source for Cat and Dog Fur in Europe: Europe Itself
December 8, 2005
The long battle to keep cat and dog fur out of Europe has been primarily focused on trying to ban the imports of pelts from China—until now. New evidence recently uncovered by a Humane Society International (HSI) investigation indicates that dog and cat fur may also be coming from a source much closer to home—the Czech Republic.
The undercover video obtained during the recent investigation shows a factory worker in a Czech warehouse telling investigators that most of the cat and dog skins hanging from nearby rails were obtained domestically. A few, he says on tape, were imported from China, where HSI estimates that
at least 5,400 cats and dogs die horribly every day for fur.
The worker even shows investigators one of the products made with cat fur: a so-called back belt, also known as a "kidney belt," which is promoted and sold as a treatment for backaches and rheumatism, despite no medical evidence to back such claims.
Celebrities Ask Britain to Protect Cats and Dogs
Forty-two international celebrities recently sent a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, asking him to use Britain's Presidency of the European Union to help implement an EU-wide ban on cat and dog fur. Among the celebrities who have sent letters:
• Elton John
• Paul Newman
• Eddie Murphy
• Chrissie Hynde
• George Michael
Click here to see the full list.
The video was released during an HSI press conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on Thursday, December 8. Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) Struan Stevenson, Phillip Whitehead, and Paulo Casaca—as well as activist Heather Mills McCartney and HSI Investigator Richard Swain—participated in the press conference as part of their work to focus international attention on the brutal trade, and to secure a ban across the European Union (EU).
"How much more must be shown to put this ban in place?" questioned McCartney at the press conference. The wife of Sir Paul McCartney called the cat and dog fur business "the sickest trade."
Supporters of an EU-wide ban hope that at least 300 million Europeans will agree with McCartney. That's the number of people who call cats and dogs their pets. Supporters believe the discovery of dog and cat fur production in Europe's backyard may bring public pressure to bear on the EU to institute a long sought-after ban on the import and sale of dog and cat fur.
EU's Slow Reaction to Dog and Cat Fur
Cat and dog fur items in the EU are nothing new; HSI first revealed Europe's role in the inhumane treatment and cruel deaths of dogs and cats in China during our 1998 investigation “Betrayal of Trust," which led to the United States banning dog and cat fur two years later. As part of the original inquiry, investigators followed pelts across the world to France and Germany, where the fur continues to be made into coats, clothing trim, glove linings, and children’s toys to this day. The fur was also found in Spain, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and the Netherlands.
Since then, members of the European Parliament, led by a passionate Stevenson, have been lobbying for the EU to ban the import, export, sale, and production of dog and cat fur in the European Union.
"With each passing day we find increasing evidence that the sale of cat and dog fur is widespread throughout Europe," said Stevenson. “This latest evidence underscores how deeply entrenched this cruelty is, encompassing even the slaughter of EU animals. Until we ban this fur, the European Union is part of the problem."
After years of former EU officials stonewalling the issue, Markus Kyprianou, the EU Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, announced this summer that he will seek a ban. Despite that promise, no action has yet been taken.
“We have at the doorsteps of the European Union proof positive that this business is not just an Asian issue anymore, but one that is embraced by some EU nationals as well,” said The HSUS's Swain. “Without a total ban on all activity on the cat and dog fur front, we can’t protect consumers from unwittingly supporting this inhumane trade, let alone ensure the safety of cats and dogs living here.”
The lack of a ban has left consumers in many European countries oblivious to the fact that they may be purchasing items made with the skin and fur of domestic dogs and cats. Even the most well-intentioned consumer may mistakenly buy items with dog or cat fur because manufacturers go to great lengths to camouflage their wares. Products with dog and cat fur, usually lower-end items, can still find their way into the hands of consumers. Coats, gloves, toys, and other items are rarely labeled, and when they are, the labels are often deceiving.
If it implements a ban, the EU would join the United States and Australia, which already ban the import and sale of dog and cat fur skins. Some European countries aren't waiting around for such a ban. EU members Belgium, Italy, France, Greece, and Denmark have already adopted dog and cat fur prohibitions. Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU, was the latest European country to institute a ban.
What You Can Do
The first step is to pledge never to buy fur, no matter where in the world you live. But you can take other actions to help stop the cruel trade in dog and cat fur.
Read our Dog and Cat Fur Action Guide for more tips.