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EU Parliament votes on mandatory labelling of textiles containing fur - Four Paws demands more comprehensive regulation


12 May 2011


EU Priorities 2020
Health & Consumers

Brussels, 12.05.2011: Yesterday the European Parliament voted on a new directive on the labelling of textiles. According to the directive, textiles sold in the EU must, in the future, contain labels identifying components made from animal products such as fur. It is to be expected that the EU Council of Ministers will agree to the proposal. The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS welcomes the decision as a first step towards better consumer information and choice. However, in the interests of animal and consumer protection, further regulations are necessary.


In the future buyers will be given the opportunity to clearly recognise animal-based elements of textiles. However, FOUR PAWS is convinced that further details are required so that consumers have sufficient information about fur components “From an animal welfare point of view, information concerning the animal species, the geographic origin and the keeping conditions should be made available. Only once a customer is told, for instance, that the item of clothing contains fox fur from China and that the fox was kept in a cage barely a square meter wide, are they given sufficient information”, says Thomas Pietsch, wild animal expert of FOUR PAWS. Fur is produced under horrendous conditions in fur farms across the world, where approximately 100 million mink, foxes and raccoon dogs are killed for their fur every year. Pietsch makes clear that: “The more the buyer is informed about the background of fur production, the easier it will be to make a decision to avoid products based on animal cruelty.”


According to the EU Parliament, the change in the regulation is due to the increasing difficulty for consumers to tell the difference between real and synthetic fur, thereby creating a higher risk that people will unintentionally purchase real fur. A voluntary labelling system by the fur industry is considered “insufficient” by the EU Parliament. “Current certifications of the fur industry, such as the Origin Assured label, are unacceptable as far as animal welfare is concerned, and can furthermore only be found in a small selection of expensive products. Our experience is that fur trim labelling is inconsistent, often incorrect or nonexistent.”       


The EU Parliament wants the Commission to conduct a study of health risks posed by the use of certain materials used in the production or processing of textile products. A study of toxins in fur products conducted by FOUR PAWS in 2010 highlights the necessity of such a step: among numerous other toxins, highly poisonous and allergenic formaldehyde was found in almost all the tested fur products, often in very high concentrations.


Fur is therefore not only the cause of massive animal suffering within the EU and across the world; it can also pose serious health risks for consumers. “The proposed new EU regulation is a step in the right direction. However, more needs to be done to inform the consumer of the truth behind products which contain even small amounts of fur,” says Pietsch.


FOUR PAWS contact:


Thomas Pietsch

Phone: + 49 40 399249 30







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