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Testing (Fur) … One, Two, Three!

The following article was written by peta2 youth marketing coordinator Helena Soh.

So you may or may not have heard recently about how Urban Outfitters mistakenly sold real fur labeled as “faux.” After discovering that a sweater he purchased from the store actually contained real fur, vegan activist Joshua Katcher, who blogs at The Discerning Brute, publicly asked Urban Outfitters for an explanation.

Urban Outfitters then responded by apologizing for its “unacceptable mistake” and said that the error originated from the product vendor’s factory. “We sincerely apologize for this unacceptable mistake,” the company says. “We take our agreement with PETA to stop selling fur seriously and want to uphold our promise.” We’re glad to hear it, UO! Urban Outfitters took responsibility and immediately pulled the item. We just hope that this also makes other retailers more conscious of which vendors are providing them with their faux fur.

It’s times like these that remind us that while many retailers do their part to show compassion for animals, it is ultimately up to us—the consumers—to make educated choices about what we’re buying. So how are we supposed to know if what we’re buying is faux, “faux sure”? Well, take it from Joshua—distinguishing real fur from faux fur can be as easy as one, two, three:

  1. Separate the fur and look at the base. Genuine fur usually protrudes from skin or leather, while faux fur generally has a mesh or threaded backing. If the backing looks like skin (which just makes it doubly gross!), don’t buy it.
  2. Look at the tips of the hairs. Real animal hairs taper to a fine point unless they have been sheared or cut. Faux fur, on the other hand, typically does not taper at the ends. So if the ends of the hairs taper to a fine point, play it safe and leave it on the rack.
  3. Do a burn test (obviously, this one’s only for things you already own). Remove a few hairs and hold them with tweezers over a nonflammable surface. Light them with a match or a lighter and let the smell do the talking. Burning animal hair smells like burning human hair. Fake fur, which is commonly made from acrylic or polyester, smells like melting plastic when burned.

Good thing the Truth in Fur Labeling Act—which requires that all products containing any animal fur, no matter how little, be labeled by species and country of origin—will be in effect soon!

Until then, I think we can all agree that these are simple and easy steps—but that they make a BIG difference. Buying something that has real fur in it, even if it’s “mostly” faux, means one more bunny, raccoon, or fox—or even a cat or dog—probably got skinned alive or anally electrocuted for the sake of “fashion.” And NO coat, sweater, or hat or any other item is worth that kind of suffering.

Commenting is closed.
  • Kelly says:

    This testing needs too stop. It makes me even more sick when i show people who wear fur the fur farm video, they buy more furs.

  • Judith West says:

    Loved the comments. Some very informed people. Now I will definely be on the look out for all of these pitfalls. Purchasing wool & any furs is absolutely out. Thanks to all.

  • kate says:

    Would be great if the world of fashion didn’t include anything made from an animal but it’s going to take some time to educate and change the ignorance of so many people. In the meantime, if fashionista’s are willing to purchase and advertise fake fur and fake leather at least it’s a start. Then hopefully all animal look fashions will be phased out and seen for the dirty, cruel industry that it truly is.

  • kanona says:

    Fur is beautiful….on animals not humans. If God wanted us wearing fur he would have created us with fur. The only fur I have is on my dog and cats where it belongs.

  • Ramey Zamora says:

    Was patting myself on the back for only buying proven faux fur when I read the comments about not wearing even faux fur to make it less fashionable. This rings a strong note for me, thanks for bringing it up. Something to ponder…

  • AW says:

    If you love animals, DON’T buy fur at all – faux or real! Obviously, as long as fur is in fashion, many people are NOT going to settle for faux; they will ONLY BUY REAL. So, if fur is NOT IN STYLE then millions of animals won’t need to suffer at all.

  • AW says:

    If you love animals, DON’T buy fur at all – faux or real! Obviously, as long as fur is in fashion, many people are NOT going to settle for faux; they will ONLY BUY REAL. So, if fur is NOT IN STYLE then millions of animals won’t need to suffer at all.

  • ann says:

    I agree be VERY careful if you buy any thing from China. I worked at NY&co. and the tag said faux but it looked like it had hide. Iwill not buy any thing from China after working in a clothing store.Yes I left my job. I couldn’t find 1 thing made in the US.

  • Joan says:

    I went Mandees in Union NJ and they were selling it says faux fur jackets and then I saw where it came from China I put it back and I was looking for a vet. a animal doctor to see if it was real or not.

  • Tiffany says:

    It is better to not wear anything that even looks like fur. By purchasing “faux” fur you are sending the message that wearing fur is fashionable. Anything that looks like you have a dead animal on you should not pass as fashion, even if it is fake.

  • chander kumar soni says:


  • Sammarye Lewis says:

    If it is made in China, then it is most likely to have real fur labelled as “faux”. There is a company called “Toy Shoppe”that makes cat toys, which are sold at PetSmart and PetCo. Most of those toys that our cats love have dyed real animal fur. Some are labelled “feather boa”. China lies about everything fur…

  • bonnybreeze says:

    it make you ashamed to be called human

  • Pandora1 says:

    Thanks for the tips! I talked to a manager at Freddie’s last week about some suspicious-looking fur on a hooded parka display, and she showed me the quick way to check by the cross-hatching at the base of the fur as you mentioned, but the other tips are great as well. BTW, big thumbs up for FM!!!!

  • wendy says:

    How ironic to see toys covered in real fur sold in a pet department at Marlows. What amazes me is that you wouldnt have to be a ‘fur detective’ to see that it was real. Some tortured animal had it’s skin ripped off for one of our animals to play with.

  • Lisa says:

    The public have the right to know and not be tricked by companies. If someone does not want fur items then that does not mean lying to the consumer is ok, it is unacceptable business practice and those companies guilty need to be put out of business. Zero tolerance policy. Otherwise face the lawsuits and go out of business. China goods are cheap and dangerous, and this use of dog and cat fur or otherwise is wrong. We in the US need to stop buying from China until they are reputable and honest and safe goods. Seems they have failed. God Help us if they manufacture medicine, scary and dangerous.

  • kelly says:

    I am horrified by this ‘mistake’ and the fact that real fur is even making it as far as the clothing racks. It has put me off even purchasing faux fur now, I’d rather not have anything that even resembles animal fur.
    I will be telling all of my friends to make sure they know that they could be potentially buying fur even when they don’t mean to. It is beyond inhumane how these animals are treated and killed. Its truely sickening.

  • Quin says:

    I recently purchased a sweater from Target – I assumed was made of cotton. When I wore it I found myself itchy & the fabric seemed rough. When I finally looked at the label– 40% of it was made of rabbit fur! I freaked. So the lesson is to never assume — especially at a place like Target. Who knew?!

  • bellawilliams87 says:

    What I don’t really understand is why we should want to wear fur at all?…We are all appalled at products containing real fur so, why compensate with faux fur – it still looks like your wearing (or carrying) a dead animal …isn’t the idea to veto it completly?!? My opinion anyway.

  • BB says:

    This is why I NEVER buy anything that even looks like fur. I saw a video of a guy cutting the back legs of a dog whose tail was nervously wagging and the hanging of cats trapped in a cage for so-called faux fur. Let’s just keep on buying the shit from the Chinese who care so little for animals.

  • Tcha Lawa says:


  • anne hoesch says:

    i think its time that celebrities and people in the public eye were made to feel quilty about wearing fur, im sick of seeing these people strutting around with thier little dogs on a leach, which they “love to bits”….with another dog hanging around thier shoulders!! the hypocrisy of it is disgusting,i sometimes think that having money turns people brainless, or maybe they just lose thier ethics and concience? fur is the worst of all cruelties because these animals die horrendously for nothing more than fashion….isnt it time we stepped into the 21st century and started behaving towards other beings in a civilised manner instead of just CLAIMING to be civilised!!

  • emma says:

    Absolutely disgusting and a great shame fur products are still used worldwide and in such inhumane conditions 🙁

  • Me says:

    I just found out (the hard way) that White House Black Market sells real animal fur… I sent them an email, which they replied and said would look into, but who knows… Now I can’t buy their products until they stop using fur! 🙁 And I used to love to shop there…