Thousands of unsuspecting people may be buying imitation Ugg boots made from the pelts of animals skinned alive. The fur comes from Raccoon Dogs, a species related to domestic dogs, farmed in China.
A sickening video of the skins being collected has led activists to demand a ban on the trade and call for clearer labelling.
(One picture shows) Brutal: Workers in China Skinning a Raccoon Dog, but the Raccoon Dog is still ALIVE and Suffering.
The raccoon dog is indigenous to Asia and related to dogs and foxes.
Ugg boots are made from Australian sheepskin and cost up to £200 - but cheap imitations have flooded the market.
But campaigners have found that other companies in Australia, where the popular boots are made, are using raccoon dog fur farmed in China and labelling it ‘Australian sheepskin’.
Campaigners from Humane Society International (HSI) warned that the footwear could have found its way into the UK.
While the law says that no products using dog or cat fur may be imported or sold in the country, there is no ban on fur from raccoon dogs, an Asian species with links to foxes, dogs and jackals. They are not related to raccoons.
(One picture shows) Pitiful: A bloodied and dazed creature is shown still alive but helpless on a pile of corpses.
(One picture shows) Agony: A raccoon dog is beaten to stop it struggling so it can be skinned alive.
Wendy Higgins from Humane Society International HSI UK said:
‘I have been working in animal rights for more than a decade and have never seen a video that has shocked me so much.
‘It is not just the killing of the animals that is horrific, but the fact that they must endure such slow, painful deaths.
‘These animals are not dogs, so there is no legislative reason why boots containing the fur cannot be imported into the UK. There are also many problems with the labelling of fur products, so many consumers will not be aware of where the fur in their boots comes from.’
Websites found by HSI show other companies are selling the fur on gilets, coats and ear-muffs for delivery to the UK.
Ugg Australia denied they were using the fur in their own boots and pointed the finger at cheap copies.
(One picture shows) Cruelty: A raccoon dog is beaten on the head in an attempt to stun it. Another dazed animal lies on the right-hand of the image.
(One picture shows) Force: A Brutal Chinese worker stands on a Raccoon Dog's neck to stop it struggling. The process of skinning the raccoon dogs is agonisingly slow.
Lena McDonald from Ugg Australia said the use of raccoon dog fur by other companies was tarnishing the entire industry as many people were unable to tell the different brands apart.
She said her company used its own tannery to ensure the standards of its boots, but added that up to 40 products using fur from overseas contained the word ‘ugg’.
She said: ‘As far as I can see many of these boots are not made in Australia at all yet they have the words Australia and ugg on them. We have seen companies cutting off tags saying “made in China” and putting on a “made in Australia” tag.’
The UK Government announced its ban on importing cat and dog pelts from China in 2001 after it emerged that a fur collar, obtained from a leading store in the West End, contained dog fur.
A total ban on the trade in dog and cat fur came into force across Europe in December 2008.
Published: 5th October 2011 by Protection 4 Animals http://wp.me/p1JH8U-9P using Twitter @P4Animals
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Thank you for for kindness
Mícheál (Mike) Caomhánach
Founder of Protection 4 Animals
You Can Watch the footage here (warning - contains extremely graphic footage
Warning, it contains extremely disturbing images.
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