Hamster-fur coats on sale again in Scotland

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The Independent Online

Less than six months after a public outcry forced them from the shelves, coats made from hamster fur are back on sale at a top Scottish country store.

Less than six months after a public outcry forced them from the shelves, coats made from hamster fur are back on sale at a top Scottish country store.

The House of Bruar, near Blair Atholl in Perthshire, withdrew the £1,750 coats made from the fur of more than 100 hamsters in March after a public outcry led by animal-rights campaigners called for a boycott of the shop.

The Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals called the garments "coats of death" while other welfare campaigners launched a campaign to get members of the public to bombard the store with letters of complaint.

However, with Christmas fast approaching and the cold weather just around the corner, executives at the store have decided to offer the garments for sale at bargain prices in an attempt to clear remaining stock.

At least 100 of the tiny rodents have to be killed and skinned to supply enough fur for each of the Austrian-made coats which were being sold exclusively in Scotland through the Perthshire store.

The House of Bruar, which also sells garments made of mink, fox and raccoon fur, said they expected the remaining coats to sell quickly at their bargain prices.

Under a poster which informs the public that the coats on sale are the last the store will be selling, the small selection has been reduced by up to 60 per cent of their original prices.

"The policy of the House of Bruar is that we will no longer be purchasing fur-lined loden coats," said a spokesman for the company yesterday. "The policy of non-purchase has not changed and these coats were only re-introduced at less than cost price in order to clear minimal residue stocks."

However, welfare campaigners have condemned the move, which they said was inexcusable. "We are very disappointed that the House of Bruar has gone back on their word," said a spokeswoman for Advocates for Animals. "If they really want to stop selling fur and just want to get rid of these garments then they should hand them over to us and we will distribute them to poor and homeless people."

In the past few years, the British fur trade has revived from a low point of £11m in 1989 to around £500m a year.

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