updated 11/20/2006 11:50:19 AM ET 2006-11-20T16:50:19

The European Union’s executive commission proposed Monday to extend a ban on the sale, import and production of dog and cat fur to all 25 EU nations, saying the measure was taken a response to an overwhelming public outcry.

The European Commission said it found cat and dog fur in some clothing, personal accessories and soft toys for children being sold on the European market, either falsely labeled as another kind of fur, or hidden within the product.

“Just the idea of young children playing with toys which have been made with dog and cat fur is really something we cannot accept,” said Markos Kyprianou, the commission’s consumer protection commissioner. “In Europe, as you know, cats and dogs are considered companion animals and nothing else.”

Kyprianou said Europeans were shocked by “images of cats and dogs being kept in cages and slaughtered in cruel and shocking conditions for their fur.” He noted that 15 EU member states already have bans in place, but that an EU-wide ban — which he expected to be approved quickly — serves to bring clear guidelines for all member nations.

'People are disgusted'
Because of the fur trade’s secretive nature, he said, it was hard to estimate how much dog and cat fur finds its way onto the market or pinpoint its source.

However, a December 2005 investigation by the Australian animal-rights group Humane Society International showed dog and cat fur production had taken place in the Czech Republic and other Eastern European states.

“People are disgusted when they find out that cats and dogs are killed every year for their fur,” said HSI Director Mark Glover.

HSI estimates around 2 million cats and dogs are killed for fur each year, with an estimated 5,400 cats and dogs killed in China each day.

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