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That Raccoon Won’t Hunt: City Bar Calls on FTC to Stop Raccoon Dogs From Being Labeled as Asiatic Raccoons in Fur Name Guide


Eric Friedman
(212) 382-6754

Kathryn Inman
(212) 382-6656

That Raccoon Won’t Hunt: City Bar Calls on FTC to Stop Raccoon Dogs From Being Labeled as Asiatic Raccoons in Fur Name Guide

New York, November 28, 2012 — The New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Animal Law has filed a comment urging the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to amend the regulation concerning the labeling of fur products made from raccoon dogs (Nyctereutes procyonoides). The raccoon dog is in the canidae family, which includes domestic dogs, wolves, and foxes. The animal is unrelated to a raccoon; however, since 1952 the FTC regulations have required such fur to be labeled as an “Asiatic raccoon.”

The FTC is presently reviewing its regulations for naming fur products on garment labels (known as the “Fur Name Guide”) as directed by 2010 federal consumer-protection legislation known as the Truth in Fur Products Labeling Act. Federal law requires that names in the Fur Name Guide be the “true English names for the animals in question, or in the absence of a true English name for an animal, the name by which such animal can be properly identified in the United States.” The Fur Name Guide has not been amended since 1967.

In its comment, the Committee explains that the name “Asiatic raccoon” misleads consumers who might object to wearing the fur of an animal related to the domestic dog. All major English dictionaries, American zoos, state and federal laws, and children’s books refer to the animal as a raccoon dog. The term “Asiatic raccoon” is rarely used in the United States outside of fur advertising.

“Fur sellers have exploited the name ‘Asiatic raccoon’ for decades to leave consumers with the impression that the animal is a raccoon,” states the comment. “Requiring the term ‘raccoon dog’ would make it more difficult for fur sellers to confuse consumers, because dropping the adjective ‘raccoon’ (which describes how the animal looks rather than the country the animal originally came from) would result in the word ‘dog,’ which more accurately reflects the animal’s classification as a canid.”

The City Bar’s comment may be read here:

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The New York City Bar Association, since its founding in 1870, has been dedicated to maintaining the high ethical standards of the legal profession, promoting access to justice and reform of the law, and providing service to the profession and the public. The Association, through its 24,000 members, continues to work for political, legal and social reform, while implementing innovative means to help the disadvantaged. Protecting the public’s welfare remains one of the Association’s highest priorities.