ANIMAL rights campaigners have been buying clothing and other items in Hunter outlets to send to Britain for testing, as part of their push to end the fur trade.
The Animal Justice Party's regional group leader, Darren Brollo, said he and his colleagues recently visited stores and market stalls at random, looking for products that may have included animal fur. He wouldn't name the outlets.
Some of the items bought were "suspicious", Mr Brollo said, while others were "clearly fur", so testing would be done "to work out what animal it's from". He said fur trim from jackets and beanies, along with material from small cases were being sent for testing, and he expected the results within a month.
Darren Brollo said, generally speaking, real fur was sometimes wrongly labelled as "faux fur", or as being that of animals seen as "more acceptable" to be used, such as rabbits, when it could be from rarer species, or a domestic animal, such as a cat or dog. He believed local retailers would not like to think they could be selling animal fur products.
"I'm very confident the vast majority of community members don't want to support the fur industry," Mr Brollo said.
The Animal Justice Party has also set up a petition, calling on the City of Newcastle to ban the sale of animal fur products on council land. According to Mr Brollo, more than 650 people have signed the petition.
But he said he had been disappointed by the lack of response from the council to the party's call for a ban.
"The community response has been fantastic; the council has been very, very slow," he said. "I think Newcastle City Council paints itself as being a progressive council and should be truthful to that by being fur-free."
Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor, Cr Declan Clausen, did not believe there were fur sales on council property.
"I've looked into this issue and cannot find any evidence to suggest that furs are currently being sold on council-owned land, either directly by council, or by any third parties," he said.
"The Animal Justice Party are welcome to their profile-raising campaign, but I don't believe any action is needed from the City of Newcastle at present, as this is a practice that simply isn't occurring."
The Olive Tree Market, one of the city's popular outlets for artisans and designers, usually operates on council land at Civic Park.
Due to COVID-19, the market hasn't been held since March. The organisers have set up a virtual market, with almost 100 stall holders, which is operating online on Saturday.
The Olive Tree Market founder, Justine Gaudry, said no one was selling fur products at the Saturday event. Ms Gaudry said she "100 per cent" agreed in no fur sales.
"We're very aware of being in line with what our community thinks is appropriate and doing things ethically and sustainably," she said, adding that the issue of a ban was "a larger conversation for council".
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