2019 was a fantastic year for the fight against fur, with countries like Slovakia and states such as California banning the sale and farming of fur entirely. However, despite the active and dedicated work of the #FurFreeBritain campaign, UK retailers are still stocking and selling fur as fashion.
Today it’s been revealed that the Advertising Standards Authority has penalised fast-fashion online retailer Romwe for selling real animal fur as faux fur, following a complaint by animal charity Humane Society International/UK. HSI UK, which leads the #FurFreeBritain campaign, found two items for sale online marketed as faux fur which subsequent testing by an independent textile analysis laboratory confirmed to be real animal fur.
HSI UK purchased a ‘Flamingo & Slogan Print Faux Fur Detail Top & Striped Pants PJ Set’ with a ‘faux fur detail’ that lab tests revealed to contain rabbit fur, and ‘Black Artificial Mink Fur Ball Earrings’ that lab tests confirmed were made of mink fur.
Romwe, whose FAQ website page tells customers it does not sell real fur or leather, has been listed by the ASA as a non-compliant advertiser.
Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK said: “It’s completely unacceptable that compassionate consumers setting out to buy fake fur are being misled into buying cruel animal fur. The vast majority of British shoppers want nothing to do with the horrors of fur farming and trapping, but because of mislabelling shoppers face a minefield trying to avoid it.”
“As long as animal fur can be legally and cheaply sold here this problem of ‘fake fake fur’ will persist. The UK banned fur farming almost two decades ago because it was deemed too cruel, now we must finish the job and ban animal fur sales too. We are calling on the government to take action to clean up the fur marketplace, protecting consumers, and animals, from the cruelty and deception of the fur trade.”
The ASA first contacted Romwe in January 2019 when it issued an enforcement notice, regarding ‘Misleading “Faux Fur” claims in clothes and accessories’. The notice was issued after the ASA investigated real fur sold as faux and ruled that two retailers had breached the CAP (Committees of Advertising Practice) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation). The ASA contacted Romwe again in January 2020, when it became aware that the retailer was continuing to sell real fur as faux. In the absence of a response to the ASA’s enquiries, and continuation of selling real fur as faux, Romwe has now been listed as a non-compliant advertiser, and may face further sanctions.
When making the original ruling, Advertising Standards Authority Director of Complaints and Investigations, Miles Lockwood said: “Consumers should be able to trust the ads they see and hear and they certainly shouldn’t be misled into buying a faux fur product in good conscience only for it to turn out to be from a real animal.”
“That’s not just misleading it can also be deeply upsetting. Our rulings serve as an important notice to retailers and the clothing and textile industry about the need for truthfulness in their ad claims around faux fur products, and to get their house in order or face further action.”
To sign the official HSI petition against the sale of fur in the UK, click here now.