Friday, February 23, 2007

Tanuki Trim?

These are Raccoon Dogs, seen here at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, Nebraska (a right fine zoo, too -- I've been there many times). They're native to Asia and are actually dogs rather than related to raccoons. Apparently the kinship to domestic pooches is just too close for comfort for the animal-rights activists, and the designers using the fur are caving in as quickly as possible.

Is your coat fur fake, or Fido?

"Americans don't want Lassie turned into a fur coat," Moran said. "In the U.S., we treat cats and dogs as pets, not trimmings for the latest fashion wear."

Other retailers the Humane Society said sold mislabeled raccoon dog fur included Lord & Taylor, and Neiman Designers whose clothes were mismarked included Donna Karan's DKNY and Michael Kors. A coat from Oscar de la Renta advertised as raccoon had raccoon dog fur.

Neiman Marcus, which owns Bergdorf Goodman, said it removed Bogner and Andrew Marc coats from its Web sites. Michael Kors said it was investigating, and a DKNY spokeswoman said the label was unaware that raccoon dog fur had been used.

Donna Karan's executive vice president for global marketing and communications, Patti Cohen, said, "While it is not illegal to use this type of fur, we have taken measures to ensure that it is never again used for any of our products."

In Japan, the raccoon dog is called a tanuki. It's usually depicted with a large belly and is carrying a bottle of sake. It is something of a comic figure, since the male wild tanuki tends to sport a generous reproductive package. More contemporary representations tend to leave off that particular feature, however. As you can imagine, though, this has made it a mythical symbol of fertility and plenty.

No comments: