Two German high-street clothiers had a nasty surprise this Christmas when an animal rights group accused them of selling fur products made from cats, and everyone was horrified when the accusation turned out to be true.
According to The Local, the animal protection group Animals’ Liberty broke the story. They found fur hats at a German clothing chain called Tom Tailor–which also trades in Austria, Switzerland, and France–and fur pompoms at Müller, a big drugstore chain, and experts confirmed that the samples were actually made of cat.
“The fur industry knows no limits,” the organization said.
According to Animals’ Liberty, the fur likely came from fur factories in China. Chinese fur recently came under fire when PETA filmed living angora rabbits having their fur ripped out for scarves and sweaters. Several major chains including H&M, Zara, and Topshop have since pulled all angora products from their shelves.
When the news came out, Müller issued a statement saying it had immediately removed all the cat fur items from sale, while Tom Tailor said, “we deeply regret what has happened.”
Animals’ Liberty said they had informed the relevant European legal offices, as importing fur from cats and dogs has been illegal in the EU since 2009.
We don’t know that this story will end here, though. Mislabeled cat fur items seems unlikely to be an isolated incident at those two stores and no others. We’re reminded of the horse meat scandal that shocked Ireland at the end of 2012 when investigators found horse meat included in beef packages, and then shocked everybody in 2013 when it turned out that horse meat was in beef and pork products all around Europe.
In the same manner, we would not be at all surprised if this discovery set off more investigations that find cat fur being passed off as rabbit and other animals in other clothing shops in more countries.