The Humane Society of the United States said on Monday that Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor had settled a civil contempt suit brought by the animal rights organization after its investigation revealed more than 40 fur advertising and labeling violations between December 2013 and November 2014.
The HSUS’ investigation uncovered evidence that Saks and Lord & Taylor violated the Fur Products Labeling Act and 2009 court orders prohibiting false advertising of animal fur garments. Violations included falsely marketed real animal fur garments as “faux,” incorrectly advertised fur from raccoon dogs — a species in the Canidae family – as “raccoon” fur and failure to disclose the fur garments’ country of origin and other legally required information, the organization said.
“Hudson’s Bay Company remains committed to ensuring the products it sells are compliant with applicable laws and regulations,” the retailer said. “It has taken this opportunity to reinforce and voluntarily strengthen its protocols, including plans to phase out Asiatic Raccoon fur from the products it sells by January 2018.”
The civil contempt case, The Humane Society of the United States versus Macy’s Inc., et. al., was filed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia in 2008. Following separate discussions between The HSUS and Saks and Lord & Taylor, the organization reached settlements with Saks in 2010, and Lord & Taylor in 2009.
Evidence collected by HSUS throughout 2013 and 2014 showed that Saks and Lord & Taylor violated their respective orders.
Under the new settlements, Saks and Lord & Taylor certify that they will cease selling fur from raccoon dogs, which HSUS called “one of the most horribly mistreated and commonly misrepresented species in the fur trade.” The retailers agree to pay The HSUS approximately $50,000 in investigation costs and legal fees and agree to pay additional damages if they breach the agreement in the future.
“We are pleased with the terms of these settlements, which ensure that Saks and Lord & Taylor will phase out raccoon dog fur, while holding the retailers accountable for continuing to falsely advertise fur garments despite their prior agreement to stop, said Ralph Henry, director of litigation at The HSUS. “While the production of animal fur inherently involves suffering, and we urge companies to go completely fur-free, the killing of raccoon dogs for their fur has been repeatedly shown to be among the worst of the worst. The HSUS will continue to aggressively pursue fur vendors who ignore their legal and contractual obligations to protect both animals and consumers.”