Fur in Austria

Since 2005, when a nationwide animal protection law came into force, fur farms have been banned in Austria. The production of fur is one side, the trade in it the other. Even if there are no more fur farms in Austria, fur is still sold and processed. Fur industry puts the amount of processed fur exports at € 7.3 million for 2017[1]. This means that it can be assumed that at least a third of this value is imported as fur, because the fur of the 60,000 foxes[2] allegedly shot by Austrian hunters does not necessarily matter.

The fact is that nobody states how much fur is imported from where for further processing and from where. Mink and raccoon dogs are primarily used, both of which are wild animals, but are crammed into narrow wire-mesh cages. In addition, dog and cat fur are also processed. And although there has been an import ban since 2008, they continue to be sold. These are then either given completely obscure names or simply declared incorrectly. [3]

A lack of control and expertise means that these violations go unpunished. But these furs are rarely found as whole coats or jackets, but primarily in the form of collars, pompons, inserts of shoes or gloves and similar accessories. Business is booming. Exact numbers are not available. The relevant bodies remained silent on request.

Ultimately, it is said that the decision rests with the consumer. And in principle the responsibility would also have to be demanded. If you don’t want to wear fur, the best way to show it is by not buying it. But is it really that simple? Is it possible to buy items of clothing with a clear conscience that have been shown to contain no real fur?

Since May 2012 there has been a new labeling scheme in the EU for textile goods that contain real fur. Accordingly, all items of clothing that are provided with fur must be labeled with the wording “contains non-textile parts of animal origin”. The implementation was checked during investigations, and it was found that in Austria 49% of the items of clothing examined had violated the labeling requirement. In addition, the labeling requirement has other deficiencies. The consumer expects a clear reference to real fur, but only finds the addition “contains non-textile parts of animal origin”. However, it is also not clear whether it is leather, down or a button made of horn. In addition, many products that contain real fur do not have to be labeled at all, because garments that „consist of less than 80% textile fibers (i.e. more than 20% fur, but also down, leather, etc.) do not fall under the scope of the EU Textile Labeling Regulation „. This means that the more fur, the less labeling. In addition, corresponding offers on the Internet do not have to be labeled and a large number of products do not need any labeling. The palette ranges from shoes and handbags to accessories.

The Fur Free Alliance has worked out a corresponding improvement in labeling, which must be followed in order to enable the consumer to make a truly free purchase decision. The following should be clear: „The animal species used (species name in the national language and scientific name) the geographic origin of the fur (where the animal was bred or hunted or killed) how the fur was obtained (for example trapping or cage on wire mesh floor)”. This identification should be clearly visible on the label for all products that contain real fur, regardless of the price or the percentage of fur, or in the description of articles in online shops or catalog sales. .[4]

[1] https://www.fureurope.eu/fur-information-center/fur-industry-by-country/, abgerufen am 20.02.2019, 12.00 Uhr.

[2] http://fuechse.info/index.php?navTarget=faq/51_fuchsjagd.html, abgerufen am 20.02.2019, 12.00 Uhr

[3] https://www.tierschutzbund.de/information/hintergrund/artenschutz/pelz/importverbot-fuer-hunde-und-katzenfelle/, abgerufen am 20.02.2019, 12.00 Uhr

[4] https://www.tierschutzbund.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Downloads/Publikatonen_andere/Untersuchung-Kennzeichnung-Pelzkleidung.pdf, abgerufen am 20.02.2019, 12.00 Uhr.

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