While some retailers have been reported to mistakenly sell real fur touted as fake, animal-conscious consumers need to be extra vigilant.
Differentiating between real fur and fake has become increasingly difficult with the improvement in the quality of fur alternatives, which now provide a feel and look that is often the same as animal fur. Spotting a cruelty-free alternative has not only become more difficult, but animal fur can also end up in inexpensive, mislabeled clothing, which means people unknowingly bring animal hides back to their wardrobes.
Have you seen or purchased an item that you suspect contains real fur, even if it's not what the label says? The following three checks will help you determine what material it is made of.
- Separate the hairs and check the base
Faux fur usually has a textile base. Animal fur, on the other hand, is implanted in a skin.
- Look at the tips of the hairs
Real animal hair will shrink until it is very fine at the end, unless it has been trimmed. Synthetic fur, on the other hand, usually has ends that end in a sharper fashion. So if the bristles are narrowing at the end, you'd better not take a risk and leave the item where it is.
- Test with a flame (if you already own the item)
Remove some hairs, use tweezers to hold them above a non-flammable surface, then burn them with a match or lighter. Burning animal hair has an odor similar to that of burning human hair. Faux fur, which is commonly made of acrylic or polyester, smells of molten plastic when it catches fire.
If you are still not sure whether it is animal or synthetic fur, it is best to leave it on the shelf.
If you discover that you have purchased animal fur by accident or because of misleading labeling, you should immediately contact the store and let them know about your concern. You can also contact the DGCCRF (General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control) which acts in favor of "compliance with labeling rules".
No matter where it comes from - China, Europe, the United States, or anywhere in the world - fur is always the product of a cruel industry. Refuse to wear or buy fur and encourage family members to do the same.