Decked out in... dog? More reasons to boycott Chinese goods

Photo: Julianne

Thinking of boycotting Chinese goods? I know I've been pondering it for a while, but I'm definitely struggling with the idea, knowing how hard it will be.

But Chinese exporters keep giving me more reasons to take my frustation with their products to the next logical level... a boycott. Here's something that might just push me over the edge into a China-free zone: the dog and cat fur trade is alive and well in the Middle Kingdom, and animal pelts that are banned in the US still often make it over here attached to coats, hats, and boots.

The EU recently decided to ban the import of dog and cat fur. You'd think that such a ban might have been imposed a while back, but apparently the big impetus here is to outlow mislabeling of fur. That's right - that fox-trimmed coat you bought at Neiman Marcus might contain the pelts of a few long-haired kitties.

Dogs and cats are regularly killed for food and medicine in China (not every part of China, mind you, but still, in enough parts that it matters) and the fur is sold overseas.

The Humane Society has documented a number of cases in which imported Chinese fur from dogs and cats is used in clothing sold in the US. It's mislabeled, of course, to circumvent a ban on the import of such fur already in place in the US.

Think you're not contributing to the problem because you only wear faux fur? Turns out that much of the 'fake' fur is mislabeled, too - it's might be a mix of racoon and dog.

Mislabeling seems to be a fairly common practice for Chinese exporters. China is still in full-fledged 'Make us rich' mode, so honesty is not considered the best policy when it comes to letting people know what they are buying, especially if tainted or illegal ingredients are a part of the product.

Me, I find all fur-wearing abhorrent, but then, I'm a veganish liberal who feels bad about killing a spider. But as someone with two Chinese dogs (including one that I'm afraid to say would have made a lovely hat), I feel a personal and moral obligation to speak out about this practice.

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Guest's picture

I don't but anything from China unless I can't find an alternative. The only way to fight this is with our spending habits, too bad most of us are too lazy to do that.

Guest's picture

I understand the outrage, but that makes as much sense as boycotting American goods because there are some American companies which sell furs. Surely not all Chinese people condone the practice. Not to mention that mink are no less worthy than dogs to keep their skin.

Jessica Okon's picture

Tail. Ha! A few years ago there was a big scandal about a major retail discounter selling dog fur collared coats. Apparently they were not aware of the fur source. Around the same time one of the news magazine shows (dateline or 20/20) did an undercover operation of a fur wearhouse in China with stacks and stacks of cat & dog pelts. Totally heartbreaking. Anyway, if you are going to purchase a fur coat, go to a professional furrier or high-end department store. Because if you buy a cheap fur not only do you run the risk of wearing a pooch, but of looking cheap. I think the same probably goes for leather as well.

If you REALLY love the feel of dog & cat Here are two books:
Spinning Dog Hair

Knitting with dog hair

Andrea Karim's picture

But my outrage is not limited to the cat-dog fur fiasco. China is deeply into deceptive or false labeling practices. From poison dog food to mislabeled fur and bpoisonous fish, China is doing nothing but wrong these days.

"Products from China are often rejected by the FDA due to filth, misbranding, mislabeling, presence of unsafe color additives, poisonous additives, meat products from animals that died other than by slaughter, and items prepared in unsanitary conditions."

So the comparison to American companies that sell fur really isn't apples to apples.

In addition, there's the issue of cruelty. I, for one, don't object to hunting for food - be it fishing or shooting a wild deer or whatever. Humane farming practices, even, at least give animals a chance at a normal life before slaughter. The Chinese practice of skinning animals alive is moral depravity.

Guest's picture

Point taken, and now that I am more informed I agree with you. But you didn't give any of that context in the entry. What I inferred (being a brand new reader to the site and not knowing any of your previous writings) was "Some Chinese people skin dogs, so we should boycott China." Obviously that's not what you meant, but surely you can see how I'd be confused?

Lynn Truong's picture

the worst case of this i heard of was baby formula made in china--basically flavored water. babies were killed.

and because they are starting to export more and more not just finished products, but basic ingredients, like what happened w/dog food, we just can't be sure what's safe.

another reason to stay away from heavily processed foods anyway.

Jessica Okon's picture

Malaria drugs
toothpaste (think twice before you buy dollar store toothpaste folks, this is a time where cheap is probably not good)

To me, that is BEYOND greed, that is EVIL.

Fake Zippos have not only hurt the company, but the town where they are made.

Guest's picture
Brian H

The link to the story has expired: 2-week copyright time limit. Any other sources?

Jessica Okon's picture

Q. What do you call a cat in China?

Guest's picture

Fairly soon portable DNA scanners should be able to quickly pick out the type of fur.


Reminds me, though, of the little Chinese chef's "riddle":

Why do puppies look so cute?

To make you forget how delicious they are!



Guest's picture

Plus they're counterfeiting Colgate toothpaste!

Andrea Karim's picture

I believe that the toothpaste was from South Africa, too. China has a history of that as well, though, as Jessica pointed out.

John, regarding the skinning - it's not a matter of SOME people in China skinning dogs, it's an institutionalized, government-directed practice of brutally harming animals for profit or "common good" - usually trumped up rabies scares.

"Some of the dogs were clubbed to death in the street as their owners watched.

Other dog owners took matters into their own hands, poisoning or electrocuting their pets.

They were paid around $0.60 (£0.32) for each dog in compensation."

I've lost my ability to defend China's actions ("They're new to this whole capitalism thing! Everyone who was poor now has a chance to be middle class!"). When the government can order the military to slwly beat pet dogs to death in front of the owners, you're dealing with something much more troubling and terrifying than capitalism gone wrong.

Guest's picture
Rob in Madrid

trent over at the simple dollar had a comment about that. About buying locally avoiding dangerous chinese food stuffs. And it's not just dog food that's full of position. Problem is even if you buy everything local so much comes from china that it's almost impossible to avoid.

Guest's picture

There's the Falun Gong Monks tortured and harvested for organs.

There's the not faux fur.

There's the sanitation factor in their foods.

There's the takeover of US Banks.

There's their little grandstand play of forcing our currency down a few months ago.

They are not our friends. I love many Chinese people. I am very concerned about their government and their big business.

Guest's picture

I am boycotting - and it can be difficult - so very much has a made in China label.

Why? -invasion of Tibet
-Tiannemen Square
- selling antifreeze as glycerine that got made into cough syrup and killed over 100 people (maybe more)
-selling melamine as a dog food ingredient and killing the animials
-religious persecution
-denial of medical issues (ever ask yourself why the place where SARS originated had very few people (officially)die of it? Or why 'nobody' has AIDS in China?) This sort of denial of a problem could be the trigger that allows the next (flu) pandemic to get out of hand
-lead in the paint of children's toys
-counterfeiting - millions of dollars worth - do you know there is a 'counterfeit-sniffing' dog somewhere in SE Asia with about a quarter million dollar bounty on her head?
-car theft - thousands of autos stolen and shipped in containers.....
-loss of jobs elsewhere - so you can get a cheap DVD - your taxes are up because the guys down the street lost his factory job.
- and maybe lost his factory job to a slave - don't buy the line about better conditions being good for the Chinese - did you see the pictures of the kid (slave) kept in dog cage?
- - - -etc- - -
Boycott the 2008 Olympics (and if our officials don't boycott the games, we can always boycott the TV coverage)

Guest's picture

I have been boycotting chinese goods for many year and it is doable.

There is now a website with a data base of items alternatives, so that no one has to buy anything made in china. We are hoping to get items from all over the world to include in the database.

Please send in some of the items you have found. The larger the database the more effecitve the boycott will be.

Ruth Eisenbud

Guest's picture

You're idea is wonderful. I would enjoy speaking to you in the very neer future to develop an action plan. CHAS

Guest's picture

I think it would be very, very difficult to boycott all Chinese products. I do try to not purchase or use any products that go in my body or on it. (Clothes I don't mind as much but stuff like skin-care products....)
Here's a joke : Why are they building Wallmarts all across China?
So the Chinese will feel at home when they invade.
That joke was told to me by a former Wallmart employee. He said later his boss at work told him he should be careful about what he said, as one of the co-workers was "depressed" by the joke or something.

"Doghouse Reilly"

Guest's picture
samuel welsh

boycot china now

Guest's picture
samuel welsh

this trade with china must stop