Leading South African retailer Woolworths Holdings has joined the Fur Free Retailer Program (FFR). The international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS is the South African representative of the FFR initiative. FOUR PAWS along with its allied organisations, Fur Free South Africa and Beauty Without Cruelty are proud to announce that Woolworths Holdings have committed to maintain their Fur Free policy. By officially joining the fur free retailer program, the companies commit to exclude fur from their inventory. The fur free declaration applies to all six companies which fall under the Woolworths Holdings umbrella, these are Woolworths, Country Road, David Jones, Mimco, Trenery and Witchery. These companies are represented within South Africa and Australia.

Fiona Miles, Country Director for FOUR PAWS South Africa “Woolworths has taken a stand and backed up their existing policy against the use of fur in their products by signing the Fur Free Retailers Statement of Assurance. The statement shows a commitment by Woolworths to be an ethical supplier of quality brands. This is the first time a South African brand has signed the statement and committed officially to the Fur Free Retailers Program.”

Most fur used in the fashion industry comes from fur farms, where wild animals are kept in small cages and killed by cruel methods that preserve the pelts – such as gassing and electrocution. On top of that, fur production has high environmental costs and health risks due to its chemical-heavy production process.

Justin Smith, Head of Sustainability, Woolworths Holdings

 “Woolworths cares deeply about the welfare of animals and animal welfare is a central focus of our Good business journey programme. Working with NGO’s such as those involved in the Fur Free retailer programme is an important way of making sure we keep benchmarking and improving our policies and practices. ”

FOUR PAWS has been the representative of the international Fur Free Retailer program in Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Romania and South Africa since 2012. The program provides information about fashion companies, which have agreed in writing not to use any real fur products. Besides Woolworths Holdings, the program members already include over 300 respected brands and retailers, including H&M, Zara, Vero Moda, Brunotti, American Apparel, GEOX, the Otto Group, s.Oliver, C&A Ernsting’s family and others.

Founded in 2009, Fur Free South Africa is a registered NPO that campaigns against the global trade in animal fur. FFSA has an educative and investigative function. FFSA informs consumers and retailers about all aspects of fur production in the luxury and budget markets. We investigate mislabelling and false advertising of fur products in South Africa.

FFSA collaborates with other anti-fur organisations and aims to lobby for the change of legislation around the fur trade in South Africa.

Beauty Without Cruelty is an animal rights organisation, with a primary objective to educate and inform the public about the exploitation, abuse and suffering of animals in all its guises, and to offer humane,  non-animal alternatives to replace cruel and harmful lifestyle choices. While the focus is on the use of animals in research, through peaceful and lawful means, we expose and oppose all cruelty to animals and will lobby national, provincial and local government in this regard. www.bwcsa.co.za

Link “Poison in the furs” study: http://www.four-paws.org.uk/files/united_kingdom/Campaigns/Fur/Factsheet.pdf

More information about the “Fur Free Retailer” program: http://www.vier-pfoten.org/en/campaigns/wild-animals/fur/fashion-without-fur-the-fur-free-retailer-program/