Thursday, March 21, 2013

WTF is a Raccoon Dog?

The fashion retailer Nieman Marcus had a little run in with the Federal Trade Commission this week. It was one of three companies involved in a settlement over fake fur. It turns out that some Burberry coats they had advertised as faux fur were actually real fur. They were made from an East Asian animal called a raccoon dog.
A raccoon dog is not quite a raccoon and not quite a dog. What it definitely is not, is synthetic, which means it cannot be sold as fake fur.
Humane Society attorney Ralph Henry says the society tested coats in a lab and notified the FTC, when they discoverd that the coats were made from the animal's fur.
Actually, Wikipedia comes to the rescue:
The raccoon dog (Nyctereutes procyonoides, from the Greek words nukt-, "night" + ereutēs, "wanderer" + prokuōn, "before-dog" [but in New Latin used to mean "raccoon"] + -oidēs, "-oid"), also known as the magnut or tanuki, is a canid indigenous to East Asia. It is the only extant species in the genus Nyctereutes. It is considered a basal canid species, resembling ancestral forms of the family. Among the Canidae, the raccoon dog shares the habit of regularly climbing trees only with the North American gray fox, another basal species. The raccoon dog is named for its resemblance to the raccoon (Procyon lotor), to which it is not closely related. Native East Asian raccoon dog populations have declined in recent years due to hunting, fur trade, urbanization, an increase of animals associated with human civilization such as pets and abandoned animals, and diseases that may be transmitted between them. Following its introduction into central and western Europe, however, it has been treated as a potentially hazardous invasive species.

I don't get fur, so I don't understand this.  But I bet China was involved.

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