In late 1998, the Humane Society of the United States, America’s largest animal rights group, launched a campaign called “Fur Free 2000”, aimed in part at blocking legitimate fur imports to the US from Asia.
The first major theme to be developed under this campaign was the assertion that Americans (and later, Europeans also) were unwittingly buying furs made from “pet” animals – domesticated dogs and cats. The second theme, launched in December 2000, has been the assertion that sheep are abused in the production of Karakul lamb fur. Fact or hype?
Dog and cat resources
HSUS talks the talk … won’t walk the walk
While criticizing China’s feral domestic dog and cat control programs, HSUS contributes no funding to establish humane shelters in China.
It contributes almost nothing to shelters in the US either, despite its $125 million budget.
Each year in the US, a country of 250 million people, our shelters put down some 8 million domestic and feral dogs and cats. HSUS guesstimates that China, with about 2.5 billion people (or ten times the US), puts down 2 million dogs and cats annually (although other estimates put the number at about 200,000).(1)
The Chinese and other Asians include utilization in their programs for controlling feral and wild dogs and cats. They do not burn such products, as Western cultures do, seeing such an approach as wasteful in poor areas.
In the US, we burn such products and can’t understand how others can utilize them. In Asia, they utilize such products and wonder why the US is so wasteful.
But wherever you are, one thing is constant: HSUS offers no help or funding to address the issue of humane control of feral dogs and cats.
Many of its donors gave money for just that purpose, which is why HSUS today sits on assets of over $200 million.
If HSUS, a public charity, won’t voluntarily spend funds on hands-on animal care at humane shelters, then legislation should be introduced to force it to. Until that happens, it should stop criticizing others.
Physician, heal thyself.
- Feb. 6, 2009: Letter from Dan Boren (D-OK), chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, and Mike Conaway (R-OK) to the House of Representatives, concerning the “Dog and Cat Prohibition Enforcement Act”, an attempt in 2008 to link the sale of Asiatic/Finn raccoon fur to the sale of fur from domestic dogs.
- Nov. 27, 2007: EU to ban trade in dog, cat fur. Deutsche Welle.
- June 19, 2007: MEPs call for a complete ban on the cat and dog fur trade in the EU. European Parliament press release.
- Jan. 8, 2007: Remember this scientific name: Nyctereutes procyonoides. It means Finnraccoon or Asian Raccoon, animals that are unrelated to the family dog. Fur World reports.
- Nov. 20, 2006: Questions and answers on the proposal to ban [domestic] cat and dog fur in the EU. European Union press release, MEMO/06/436.
- Mar. 17, 2006: EU poised to ban trading in [domestic] cat and dog fur. Reuters.
- May 25, 2005: Media wary of latest shock video. FCUSA commentary on alleged evidence of cruelty to furbearers in China.
- International Fur Trade Federation statement on the trade in domestic dog (Canis familiaris) and cat (Felis catus) fur.
- Fair Trade Commission Business Alert: How to Comply with the Fur Products Labeling Act (December 2000)
- Nov. 12, 2000: New Law to Boost Consumer Confidence in Legitimate Fur Trade Tariff Suspension and Trade Act of 2000.
- Aug. 10, 2000: Dogs, Cats and HSUS : What You See Is Not What You Get!HSUS’s proposed “dog and cat” fur legislation comes under scrutiny of House Ways and Means Committee.
- June 10, 2000: Credibility of “Chinese Dog Fur” Story Questioned; Government Regulator Cautions Media About Misleading “Animal Rights” Videos Fur Council of Canada press release.
- Feb. 15, 2000: Dogs, Cats and DNA (HTML) FCUSA commentary on HSUS’s campaign to ban sales of “dog” and “cat” fur.
- July 13, 1999 (revised Aug. 20, 2000): Proposed Legislation Could Disrupt Responsible Organic Fur Trade. FCUSA commentary on HSUS’s campaign to ban sales of “dog” and “cat” fur.
- May 6, 1999: “Fur Free 2000”, Stage Two FCUSA analysis of HSUS’s latest campaign with a trade barrier twist.
- Apr. 16, 1999: Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment Direct link to “American Scientist” magazine.
- Feb. 9, 1999: HSUS Denies Furby “Misinformation” FCUSA commentary on allegation that a children’s toy includes domestic dog and cat fur.
- Dec. 12, 2000: Karakul Lamb : “Animal Rights” Group Attacks Remote Sheep Herders Fur Information Council of America press release.
(1) See Are there too many dogs and cats? by Norma Bennett Woolf, National Animal Interest Alliance. An analysis of US pet ownership, including how many dogs and cats are euthanized each year in shelters.