From pool sliders to pom poms to your favourite winter coat, fur is never out of fashion. But with brands such as Stella McCartney leading the way in faux fur, designers and high-street shops are turning their backs on real fur.
This explains the outrage provoked by a new investigation which found real cat fur in a pair of pink high heels sold by fast fashion favourite Missguided. Animal rights campaigners Humane Society International (HSI) and Sky News made the discovery after receiving a tip-off from a customer who suspected the shoes contained real fur. A fibres expert also identified items containing rabbit, raccoon dog and mink fur that were marketed as faux in other stores, reported Sky News.
The Missguided heels, which were sold online and at the brand’s store in Westfield Stratford, listed only man-made materials on the label and have since been removed from sale. A company spokesperson said it has a strict no fur policy and will launch an internal investigation with suppliers.
The investigation also found traces of real fur being sold as fake at House of Fraser, where a pair of gloves contained real rabbit fur. The store has removed the gloves from sale and will be offering a full refund to customers who bought them.
A House of Fraser spokesperson said it would “never knowingly mislead” customers. "Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question,” they added.
The sale of cat and dog fur is banned by the European Union and fur farming has been illegal in the UK since 2003, but it continues in countries such as China, France and Poland.
UK activists have warned that customers are often unwittingly buying real fur, which is marketed as fake, on items such as bobble hats, key rings and hooded jackets.
"We are finding an increasing amount of real fur being sold either mislabelled or not labelled at all as real fur, in the last couple of years in the UK,” Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International, told Sky News.
"This is a problem in two ways. Firstly it's a problem for the animals who are suffering awful, deprived lives and excruciating deaths on fur farms and traps around the world to produce these products.
"And secondly, it's a problem for consumers, who are not being protected from unfair trading, who want to shop ethically and avoid the fur trade."