Wondrous Wildlife
By Vern and Lori Gieger
For Your Infurmation – What Are You Wearing?

     Few realize the true scale of the suffering and death of wild animals for fur garments. But even less is known about the acquisition of fur used for coats or fur trim products.  Millions of domestic dogs and cats are killed each year for the fashion industry. If your beloved cat or dog had the misfortune to be born in China, it could be them.
     I recently had an opportunity to look over the 2007 Neiman Marcus Christmas Catalog.  I figured I could entertain myself for a couple of hours. My amusement was short lived.  An item on page eight is a full length natural "Lippi Cat" coat, made in the USA, fur origin—China. Being a cat lover, I know the name of almost every breed of cat—large or small— but I have never encountered a "Lippi" cat. Enter the internet. What I found was thousands of web sites on the horrifying trade in dog and cat fur.
     The ‘Lippi cat’ is, in reality, the fur of illegally slaughtered domestic cats, usually tabbies, their markings bear a strong resemblance to a relatively new breed of cat called the Bengal cat, which is a hybrid of the Asian Leopard Cat and domestic shorthair cats. After reading about ‘Lippi cats’, I was compelled to do additional research. What I found sickened me—long essays with graphic photographs of cats and dogs existing in horrific conditions until they are savagely killed. Editorials written by Humane Society investigators about the brutal and inhumane conditions of Asian slaughterhouses; hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens—many of them stolen pets and strays—starved for days then beaten, drowned, or skinned alive once they are too weak to struggle.  
     Here are a few examples of the findings uncovered by the Human Society of the United States (HSUS) when they conducted extensive undercover investigations into the Chinese trade of dog and cat fur.  (Remember China has few laws protecting wildlife to say nothing about domestic animals.) One Chinese company told investigators that it had 50,000 cat skins and 50,000 dog skins in stock. Another Chinese fur factory told investigators that it had 100,000 cat skins stored in its factory. One shipment from a Chinese company to the Czech Republic, including garments for the Czech army, contained 5,329 kilos (11,924 pounds) of 'house cat skin jackets.' A shipment from China to Italy was seized for lack of proper permits. It contained 4.7 tons of dog hides.
     You may ask yourself "why would anyone buy these products." A combination of ignorance and false labeling; a label may say "Faux Lynx" etc. which is true in as much as it is not from that particular species. However, it still may be "real fur" not a synthetic. With today’s technology it is very easy to make cat and dog fur appear to be something it is not.
     Fur traders told investigators that any label could be put in to garments/fur product, depending on the preference of the buyer, indicating other species more acceptable to consumers. Cat fur is known by several names: wild cat, Katzenfelle, Goyangi, Lippi cat etc. Dog fur may be labeled as gae-wolf, goupee, or sobaki, etc.; in addition dog skin is often referred to as special skin, lamb skin or mountain goat skin.
     Most people would be horrified at the way in which cats and dogs are bred, stolen, abused and killed for their fur, they will hopefully realize that there is no difference between this and the murder of any other animal for its fur. Forty million animals are killed each year for their fur: reared on factory farms that cause them to go mad and mutilate themselves or each other, caught in vicious leg hold traps and left to starve, freeze, drown, beaten to death or gnaw off their own limbs in a futile attempt to escape. This is the reality of the fur trade. The trade does not care whether the animals they kill are wild or domestic. Those in the fur trade have no conscience, no morals. They are governed by greed and selfishness.
     China supplies more than half of the fur garments imported for sale in the United States. From the $49.99 fur trim jacket at a discount store to a $10,000.00 lippi cat fur coat. The bottom line is, dog and cat fur is cheap and mislabeled. If you’re buying fur, there’s no way to tell, short of a DNA test, whose skin you’re wearing.  The smart and moral course to take is—Don’t Buy Fur— in any form.