New 'Truth in Fur' law requires garment labels to disclose all animal species

A new law went into effect Friday requiring all labels of fur garments sold in the U.S. to list every single animal species used to make the clothing item.

Labels must also specify species' country of origin, the manufacturer and other information for consumers. The measure was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.).

The Truth in Fur Labeling Act, which President Obama signed into law last December, was designed to address the illegal dog and cat fur trade. Before this bill, there existed a loophole in the Fur Products Labeling Act of 1951 which allowed garment labels to exempt the species and origin of small amounts of fur.

"This loophole has been exploited to pawn off dog, cat, and other animal fur as an artificial fiber,” Moran said in a press statement. “Many Americans choose not to purchase fur products, preferring instead 'faux' fur as a substitute. Consumers with allergies or ethical objections to fur, or those who may have concerns about the use of certain species for fur production, will now be protected from deceptive advertising and able to make educated purchasing decisions.”

According to the release, in recent years, investigators from the Humane Society of the United States discovered that major U.S. retailers were unknowingly selling falsely labeled dog fur on clothing. Investigators found that 96 percent of the fur-trimmed jackets examined contained parts of domestic dog, wolf or raccoon dog -- these were either mislabeled or missing a label altogether.

The Federal Trade Commission won't enforce policy for clothes purchased prior to March 18, 2011. Read the FTC's ruling here.