Gift and card shops around the country are selling toy/model animals made of real fur. They come in various shapes and sizes and most are of cats and dogs.
One of the main suppliers of these is a Surrey-based company Nauticalia Ltd who sell toy cats that look as though they are sleeping. These are called Intrepid Ships Cats and are retailed at around 25 pounds sterling each. The company claims they are made from rabbit fur from animals killed in China.
Others are shaped as small cats and dogs in baskets, and sell at a few pounds. There are also a wider variety of animals standing at about 15cm high.
All of these toys claim to be made from rabbit fur, although investigations in the United States found a large number of similar toys to be made from the fur of domestic cats and dogs.
The Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade opposes the use of animal fur,
particularly for such trivial items as toys and novelty gifts. We believe that the suffering and death of animals cannot be justified to supply such a trade.
Rabbit fur comes from two sources - rabbits raised specifically for their fur, and rabbits raised primarily for their meat. The conditions in which the animals are raised (usually factory farming where they are crammed into bare wire cages and denied the ability to perform natural behaviours such as jump, run or dig) are similar, as is their death. Death is usually by neck-breaking or the throat being slit. The rabbits will also suffer when being transported between farm and market and/or slaughter, and are often roughly handled.
In Britain it is illegal to breed animals solely or primarily for their fur. Therefore most fur, including rabbit fur, sold in Britain is produced in a way that would be illegal in this country.
Some people may think that if the fur is a 'by-product' of the meat trade then its use is acceptable. But one must consider the suffering of the animals whatever the purpose of that suffering. We don't need toys made from real fur so how can the use of rabbit fur be justified? The use of real fur financially supports the ways in which the animals are raised and killed. It also promotes the general use of real fur - the fur trade kills 40 million animals a year worldwide, breeding them in barren cages where they go mad and mutilate themselves, or trapping them in vicious leg hold traps where many try to escape by gnawing off their own limbs. The use of rabbit fur for these toys is no different. By buying any real fur these are the acts that you are paying for. With such an abundance of high quality synthetic materials there is no need to use real animal fur.
Companies selling these toys claim the fur comes from animals killed for their meat in China. We have seen evidence of how rabbits and other animals are handled, treated and killed in China, and the conditions would shock many people. We have seen graphic and disturbing pictures of rabbits skinned alive.
Many of the shops selling these toys, and many of the people buying them, do not even realise they are made from real fur until groups such as CAFT point it out to them.
Nauticalia also claim that they donate money to animal welfare groups from the sale of these cats. What they don't reveal is that they do this secretly so that the charities don't even realise they are receiving money from the sale of fur. Those charities who have found out have sent the money back and asked not be associated with Nauticalia or the fur cats. This is all a sales ploy, to persuade customers that the toys are approved by animal welfare groups.
Please, do not buy these fur animals. Check carefully before buying anything - if you are not 100% certain that it is synthetic then don't buy it.
Complain to any shop you see selling these toys, and send us their details so that we can contact them.
CAFT contacts companies selling these and other real fur products. We provide them with information on the cruelties and ask them to stop selling real fur. If they refuse we publish their details and ask others to write polite letters to them. We also support peaceful protests outside shops selling real fur.