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International Fashion Retailers Commit to Go Fur Free

Saturday Dec 22, 2012

Washington, D.C. - This year was the biggest year for the International Fur Free Retailer Program since its launch in 2006, with over 50 retailers signing on in 2012 and a record number (20) of countries served by the program, reports Born Free USA, Founding Partner and Organizer of the program.

Co-founded by Born Free USA, The Fur Free Retailer Program is an international effort to give consumers accurate information about a retailer's fur policy, allowing consumers to make an informed choice when shopping. The program aims to further the spirit of ethical consumerism and provide shoppers with information about the most compassionate retailers in the world.

The program recognizes and supports retailers who have committed, in writing, to a no-fur policy. Without that written commitment, the Fur Free Retail Program will not endorse any company regardless of its current inventory.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President, Born Free USA, "Little by little, retailers are stepping up worldwide to take a stand against the use of fur in fashion. We are proud that the program is attracting an increase in participants and hope this trend continues with great strength. Another year cannot go by when animals are brutally killed for their fur. We need consumers to take a stand to respect wildlife, and encourage and support those retailers willing to go fur-free."

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.

The year not only set a record for how many retailers joined the program, but it also was a year that featured the widest variety of retailers from around the globe including maternity wear, sportswear, eco-friendly, faux fur focused, ballroom, consignment and more.

Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Associate for Born Free USA, adds, "Fashion designers, retailers and consumers must realize that fur garments are bad for the animals and bad for the environment, and have no place in the future of fashion."

Some of the largest and most notable retailers around the world to join this year include:
• ASOS, the UK’s largest online-only fashion and beauty store shipping to over 190 countries.
• COS (Collection of Style), an H&M concept store with 40 storefronts across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. COS has been fur free since its inception and signed onto the program to further support the concept.
• Elisabetta Franchi, a top Italian fashion brand with stores in Italy and 35 other locations
• ZERO, a European fashion company headquartered in Bremen, Germany.
• Noppies, a retailer specializing in maternity wear available in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium.
• ORMAR, a Croatian online retailer.
• Sage and Ivy, based in The Netherlands, is an eco-friendly fashion line committed to using materials produced in ethical circumstances.
• Encore Ballroom Couture in the U.S. features ballroom, specialty, cocktail, and evening dresses, and is the leading consignment and rental company in the industry. Their dresses are seen on the ABC television show Dancing with the Stars.
• Brunotti, distributed in over 20 countries including throughout Europe, South Africa and Turkey.
• Designer Dutchess specializes in faux fur and is the first Australian retailer to join.

Engebretson adds, "Consumers can help by only spending their fashion dollars at fur free retailers and designers; never purchasing clothing from designers and retailers who sell or use real fur; and supporting retailers and designers who have signed on to the international fur free retailer program and put their fur free commitment in writing."

Taking an ethical and public stand against fur fashion offers a company a chance to promote a public policy against violence and cruelty, and to lend its support to the international efforts to end this unnecessary and cruel fashion choice.

Born Free USA brings to the United States the message of "compassionate conservation" - the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film "Born Free," along with their son Will Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

The program is also supported by the Fur Free Alliance (FFA), an international coalition of leading animal and environmental protection organizations worldwide. These organizations facilitate the Fur Free Retailer program in their country.

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