This cute little guy is a raccoon dog. A raccoon dog is a small, canine species native to some parts of Asia. These social animals are at the center of some intense animal welfare controversies. Raccoon dogs have soft, dense coats and are inhumanely farmed for their fur in China and Finland.
Never heard of a raccoon dog fur coat before? That’s the problem. Not only is raccoon dog fur being marketed as other types of fur species, but even worse, raccoon dog fur is commonly mislabeled as “faux fur” and is being sold to consumers who think they are buying coats and other items made with fake fur.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, 70% of fur-trimmed jackets that are labeled or advertised as either faux fur or fur from another species are actually made with raccoon dog fur. Many mainstream retailers and manufacturers have been selling mislabeled raccoon dog fur garments.
How can you make sure the coat you are buying is really made with faux fur? The Humane Society has produced a field guide for telling the difference between animal fur and fake fur. Here are the key tips to keep in mind so you know what you’re getting.
- Push apart the fur and check the base. Animal fur will be attached to leather or skin, often tan or white in color. Fake fur is attached to an open threadwork backing.
- Check the fur for tapering. Unsheared animal hairs will be tapered like a cat’s whiskers. Fake fur is commonly cut straight across and is not tapered at the ends.
- Try the burn test on garments you already own. Pluck out a few hairs and carefully burn them. Burnt animal hair smells the same as burnt human hair. Fake fur made from man-made materials like polyester does not.
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