J.C. Penney Co. removed some fur-trimmed coats from its racks around Christmas after animal-rights activists objected that the fur came from wild dogs in China. Penney also downplays any link between Lassie and the animal whose fur is used on some of its garments. That animal is usually called a raccoon dog because of its full coat and dark patches around the eyes. Animal-rights advocates counter that although it looks like an oversized, fluffy raccoon and isn't kept as a pet, it is a canine breed — something Penney doesn't dispute.
"They are definitely a member of the dog family," said Kristin Leppert, manager of the anti-fur campaign at The Humane Society of the United States. "What's equally important is that they're getting killed by the millions in the most atrocious way."
Activists from Swiss Animal Protection posing as a documentary film crew say they went to China and photographed raccoon dogs and foxes being killed at large fur-harvesting operations.
The crew's disturbing video — posted on the Internet — shows animals clubbed or slammed on the ground. Some continue writhing, gasping and blinking as they are skinned alive.