Faux Faux Fur

In the midst of holiday shopping, stay up to date on a retailer that is currently being investigated by the Humane Society of the United States: Kohl’s. Selling real fur in place of “faux” fur (synthetic) is a relatively new development. A handbag sold as synthetic fur by Kohl’s was tested in labs and matched positive as rabbit fur. The false advertising is deceitful to consumers who intentionally avoid fur products due to animal welfare issues. More than 75 million animals, including rabbits, raccoon dogs, mink, bobcats, foxes and even domestic dogs and cats, are killed annually to make unnecessary fur products.

    Recent Investigations by HSUS concerning misleading fur sales –

  • August 2013: Federal Trade Commission issued enforcement action against retailers Neiman Marcus, Drjays.com and Revolveclothing.com, in response to 2011 HSUS petition alleging the selling of animal fur as “faux.”
  • March 2013: Investigation by The HSUS revealed NY department store Century 21 sold real fur as faux, including a Marc Jacobs jacket with raccoon dog fur.
  • July 2012: Investigation by The HSUS revealed illegal sale of domestic dog fur in apparel and other items by NY retailer, leading to action by Customs and Border Protection.”

You can contact Kohl’s to ask questions or submit a complaint through the Humane Society’s User Action Page.

Sources: The Humane Society of the United States, “Buyer Beware: Rabbit Fur Sold as ‘Faux’ at Kohl’s”, 02 December 2013; Laura Moss, Mother Nature Network, “Is That Faux Fur Really Fake?”, 04 December 2013

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Sustainability, Ag-Gag, and the Fight to End Animal Cruelty

If you haven’t seen it, Rolling Stone has released a disturbing but well-done piece of some of the horrors of large scale animal agriculture, as well as considerations of sustainability and the menacing threat of ag-gag, which I previously declared war on. The piece is titled “Animal Cruelty is the Price We Pay for Cheap Meat” (click title to access the article). Thanks to Paul Solotaroff for this effective piece of journalism and bringing attention to one of society’s most threatening social problems in a mainstream magazine. Its a sad read and feel free to avoid the videos if you don’t care for graphic content, the words are enough. Share this with who you think would benefit. This article explains a lot of the motivations for why I am who I am today.

Become a Citizen Scientist!

Sound Wave Bat - Urban Hermits

So you happen to have some time on your hands, let’s say 5 minutes. Is your first move to pull up Facebook or play a game? What if you could play games that help scientists collect or manage data for various projects? Well, this is one of the great benefits of citizen science. For example, Bat Detective has accumulated thousands of bat sound recordings to aid in tracking populations effected by global change. However, without a availability of free ears, the project would be extremely set back by time constraints. This is where you come in. With even five minutes, you can sit down and test your brain to identify bat calls.

Below is some other projects of note:

Cell Slider hosts anonymous cancer slides that require analyzing. “This would accelerate research and free up scientists to tackle other research opportunities. Imagine the collective force of hundreds of thousands of people accelerating the race to discover personalized cancer treatments. If we stand united, cancer doesn’t stand a chance, ” say the creators.

Audubon Christmas Bird Count – Now free to participate – help track bird migratory patterns.

Dark Sky Meter  – Collect data on light pollution and night conditions by using a free app to record.

Project Feeder Watch – A winter project, collect data about what birds comes to your feeder.

Monarch Larva Monitoring Project – Help track monarch butterfly populations and nests (and I recommend you read this article by the New York Times.)

Want a great place to start your citizen science search? Try Sci Starter. Do you know of a project that we haven’t heard of? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Image: Lauren Korany, Urban Hermits, 02 December 2013;