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Friday, 10 January, 2003, 18:08 GMT
Italian protest against dog-fur coats
Anti-vivisectionists in front of shop accused of selling dog fur
Italian law prohibits the import of cat and dog fur
Animal rights campaigners have demonstrated outside shops in northern Italy after a DNA test showed that the hoods of winter jackets on sale at several major stores are lined with dog fur.

The activists, who staged a demonstration in front of a popular Turin store where one of the jackets was purchased, say that similar items can be found across the country.

Big chains should pay more attention to what they are selling

Italian Anti-Vivisection League spokesman

They maintain that major chains, as well as small retailers, continue to sell coats, hats, gloves and toys manufactured with cat and dog fur.

The sales are said to be taking place despite a ban on the import and sale of the pelts issued by the Italian health ministry early last year.

'Misleading labels'

The management of one store, La Rinascente, said the certificate from its supplier identified the fur used as "Murmansky (Nyctereutes Procyonides)", or raccoon dog - a wild canid originally from eastern Siberia, northern China and Japan.

The garments said to be trimmed with dog fur
Campaigners say these hoods are trimmed with dog fur

A second store, Carrefour, voiced "surprise", adding that, according to its supplier, the fur used for the lining was raccoon. However, it said it would withdraw the suspect garments to carry out further tests.

But Italy's Anti-Vivisection League (LAV) says that consumers are misled by the lack of information on the garment's labels, and by the use of invented names such as "gae-wolf", "sobaki" and "Asian jackal" for dogs, and "wildcat" and "goyangi" for cats.

"Too many garments carry no labels. We do believe in the retailers' good faith, but such big chains should really pay more attention to what they are selling," Maria Falvo, a spokesperson for LAV, told BBC News Online.

Asian breeding farms

According to the Humane Society of the United States, which has carried out a large undercover investigation in Asia over the past few years, some Chinese manufacturers have admitted they would attach any label to the garments to make them more marketable.

The US organisation estimates that about two million dogs and cats are slaughtered in Asia each year and used in the clothing industry.

In China, Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea, cats and dogs can be raised at large breeding farms. There have been persistent allegations that they are put to death in inhumane ways.

The pelts are then sold to fur traders, and dog meat is usually sold to restaurants.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

07 Jan 03 | England
24 Oct 02 | Asia-Pacific
20 Oct 02 | Country profiles
28 Nov 02 | Media reports
Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


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