Shoppers in the United Kingdom should take extra precaution this holiday season when purchasing items made with faux fur from Amazon, eBay, Romwe, Shein, and other retailers, animal-rights organization Humane Society International (HSI) UK warns. In a recent investigation, HSI’s secret shoppers purchased items that claimed to be made without animal fur and, after laboratory testing, confirmed that they indeed contained real animal fur. 

Caught in the act
A £13.99 beanie hat was purchased from Amazon UK with a “man-made faux-fur” pom pom that laboratory tests confirmed was real fur; eBay sold a pair of £16.99 “faux-fur fluffy sliders” that also turned out to be real fur; Shein was found selling a £2.49 “faux-fur” keychain that laboratory tests confirmed was real mink fur, as well as Christmas “faux-fur” pom earrings for £2.49 and a flamingo motif sweatshirt with “faux-fur” detail for £10.99, both of which were real fur.

“Fur is cruel which is why most Brits don’t want to buy it,” HSI UK Executive Director Claire Bass said. “So it’s really concerning that yet again we’ve found popular online shopping websites selling an alarming number of products described as faux fur which have turned out to be trimmed with real fur from fox, mink, raccoon, dog, and rabbit.”

Other online retailers misleading customers were Just Your Outfit selling a £15 “faux-fur pom” hat that was labelled as real fur when it arrived in the mail; Danielli selling £10 “faux-fur trimmed” gloves that were actually real fur, most likely rabbit; and Boho Styles selling slippers advertised as “made of voluminous vegan faux fur and 100 percent cruelty-free” which laboratory tests confirmed were real fox fur.  

Romwe scandal 
Earlier this year, Romwe was penalized by the Advertising Standards Authority after HSI filed a complaint against the fast-fashion retailer for making false claims about two items: a pajama set decorated with what it advertised as a faux-fur detail of a flamingo and a pair of earrings it said was made with black artificial mink fur. HSI’s tests found that both items contained real animal fur. 

In its most recent investigation, HSI found that Romwe was still selling animal fur that it advertised as “faux,” including a real mink fur bag charm for £2.50 sold as “100-percent faux fur” and an £88 “faux-fur hooded coat” made with real fur, most likely derived from fox or raccoon dog.

“We’ve exposed this problem for years and in 2018 a Parliamentary inquiry was held to hold companies to account; we’ve even had the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards issue warnings to companies,” Bass said. “Even so, our latest findings show that the ‘fake faux-fur’ scandal continues, meaning would-be ethical shoppers can’t shop online with confidence and avoid inadvertently buying real fur. Several of these well-known retailers are repeat offenders, so it’s extremely disappointing that they haven’t cleaned up their act. Clearly a greater deterrent is needed to stop British consumers being missold cruel fur.”

Fur sales ban
While fur farming is illegal in the UK, the government has not implemented a ban of the sale of the cruelly begotten material. However, HSI’s Fur Free Britain campaign—which has gained support from other animal-rights groups, celebrities, and politicians—is looking to end fur sales in the UK for good. 

“Fur farming is rightly banned in the UK, but for as long as animal fur from overseas is allowed to be sold here, we remain complicit in the cruelty, creating a minefield for shoppers who wholeheartedly reject that cruelty,” Bass said. “We urge the government to bring forward plans to implement a fur sales ban in the UK so that British consumers can trust that their ethical purchasing decisions are not in vain.”