More retailers who claim to be fur free have been selling real fur labelled as fake, an investigation by Sky News has revealed.
TK Maxx, Boohoo, Amazon, Groupon and Miss Bardo were all discovered to be advertising items as “faux fur” – when in fact they were made from rabbit, mink and fox.
A cross-party selection of MPs is now calling for a fur imports ban in the UK.
Sky News has been working with the charity Humane Society International (HSI) to highlight mass-farmed foreign fur being mislabelled as “faux” in UK stores for eight months.
Claire Bass, the charity’s executive director, told Sky News: “Brexit gives us the opportunity to close our borders to the cruel, unnecessary and outdated fur trade.
“We banned fur farming in the UK back in 2000, because it was deemed unethical. Why are we now paying countries like China and Poland to keep animals in those exact same conditions?”
Our joint investigation found that online fast fashion outlet Boohoo was selling £5 earrings advertised as faux fur, but testing by a fibres expert revealed it was mink.
The company was also selling two pairs of bridal shoes made from rabbit fur, even though it claims to have a no fur policy.
Image: £5 earrings advertised as faux fur contained mink
TK Maxx pledges on its website that “since 2003 we have not sold real animal fur of any type”.
But we found a coat for sale on its website which was made from fox fur, despite it being advertised as fake.
A shopper also contacted us about a pom-pom keyring on sale at TK Maxx after she raised concerns with the retailer that it might contain real animal fur.
After a series of emails with the company’s customer service team over many weeks, they emailed her to say the complaint had “been investigated by our internal trading standards department” and that they had “been assured that this item is in fact faux fur”.
But tests revealed it came from rabbit.
Video: Consumers misguided by being sold real fur
Miss Bardo also states it does not sell real animal fur, but a bobble hat advertised as faux and sold for just £8 on its website was made from fox fur.
We also found mislabelled fur items sold on Amazon and Groupon.
Caroline Lucas, the leader of the Green Party, wants the Government to act.
She told Sky News: “We simply need to have a ban on fur coming in from other countries.
“One of the things that your investigation really did reveal was the fact that this fur can be imported incredibly cheaply which probably just speaks to really appalling conditions that those animals are kept in.”
“The UK’s final fur farms were closed in 2003, and yet we still import fur from countries with arguably worse animal welfare standards.”
Image: TK Maxx thanked Sky News for bringing
Roger Gale MP, who is the founding member and current president of Conservative Animal Welfare group, told Sky News: “It is crazy that we banned it here, and that we are still permitting imports… with the retailer, it’s not an excuse to say, ‘Oh we didn’t know’ – damn well find out!”
All the retailers highlighted told Sky News they have no-fur policies, would never knowingly mislead customers and have removed the items we notified them of.
Groupon says it is “reviewing both the supplier and our internal processes to ensure this doesn’t happen again”.
TK Maxx thanked Sky News for bringing “this serious matter to our attention” – and said customers who wish to return either of the items can get a full refund.
Boohoo said: “We are very disappointed that on this occasion our high standards have been breached by the suppliers from who these items have been sourced.
“The items in question were immediately removed from sale and the breach of the policy and its standards is being investigated as a matter of urgency.”
Image: Boohoo was selling two pairs of bridal shoes made from rabbit fur
Amazon said: “All Marketplace sellers must follow our selling guidelines and those who don’t will be subject to action including potential removal of their account. The products in question are no longer available.”
Miss Bardo told Sky News it feels “appalled that we have been misled by an overseas manufacturer into buying a hat that is not faux fur” and will not be using them again.
It added: “We hope that all companies will follow to ensure fur is firmly banned from being sold anywhere!”
In April, Sky News revealed that fast fashion outlet Missguided and House of Fraser had both sold real animal fur advertised as synthetic, despite both companies claiming to be fur-free retailers.
A fibres expert found shoes sold by Missguided were most consistent with cat fur.
Rabbit fur was also found to be mislabelled as “faux” in both retailers.
More from UK
On Friday Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo became the latest fashion brands to announce they are to stop using animal fur.
In October, Gucci announced it would also stop using fur from 2019, following the same decision by Armani.