“Fake” fur being sold on the high street is actually from cats, raccoon dogs and rabbits, an investigation has found.
Items bought from popular stores Missguided and House of Fraser, which were labelled as faux fur, were found to be real after tests by a fibres expert.
Sky News found that a pair of gloves bought from House of Fraser were found to have fur likely to be from a rabbit.
Missguided sold a pair of pink stiletto heels decorated with pom poms to shopper Donna Allison. After testing the pom poms were found to have been made with real fur, most likely to be from a cat.
She said she initially contacted the store on Twitter with her concerns but representatives insisted that it was fake fur.
She told Sky News: “My life is basically animals and cats, so it’s really hurtful, really shocking.
“Whether they know they are selling it or not there needs to be something done about it. They need to be more responsible for what they are selling.”
Experts said that fur being sold as fake is increasingly real animal fur, often sourced from mass farming in Asia.
Raccoon dog fur is becoming particularly popular because of its soft, dense qualities, they added.
The animals also have large litters of up to 16 per parent couple, meaning they can be farmed on a large scale.
They are then skinned alive for their fur.
Fibres expert Phil Greaves who tested the products said the mislabelling of real animal fur is “becoming increasingly common, particularly over the past five years”.
Both stores have fur-free policies and said they would stop selling the items which had been found to contain real fur.
A spokesman for House of Fraser said that customers would be offered a refund if they had bought the gloves.
He said: “House of Fraser has a strict no fur policy and we ensure all of our suppliers and brand partners are aware of this.
“We would never knowingly mislead our customers, who we believe have the right to know what they purchasing. We are extremely concerned that fur can be mislabelled in this way, particularly for brands that we stock.
“Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not be complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question.”
A second pair of pointed pumps sold by Missguided were identified as having pom-poms most consistent with rabbit fur.
Missguided stressed it had a strict no fur policy and removed the shoes from sale after being informed of the findings.
A spokesman said: “We will be launching an internal investigation with the relevant suppliers and will ensure these matters are addressed urgently.”
At Christmas an undercover investigation by Good Morning Britain found high-street stores Debenhams and Forever 21 were selling items labelled as faux fur which actually contained Angora rabbit fur.
A £40 Debenhams bag had a pom pom attached which contained the fur. A Christmas bag sold by Forever 21 also had a white pom pom attached which was found to contain Angora.
Both chains have a no-fur policy. Forever 21 said it had “zero tolerance for the violation of these policies” and would investigate the claims.
Debenhams said: “On discovery that an external brand had included a real fur item on an accessory product we took immediate action to remove the products from the shop floor and our website.”
Claire Bass, executive director of charity Humane Society International, said: “It is extremely concerning to find cat fur on sale illegally in the UK, both because of the cruelty that cat and all fur products represent, but also because it will rightly dent the confidence of consumers seeking to buy only fake fur.
“Fake faux fur is a growing problem; when items have cheap price tags and labels saying ‘100 per cent acrylic’, consumers can understandably be caught out mistaking them for fake fur, when in fact they contain fur from a tormented animal.”
Written by Olivia Rudgard for the Telegraph