SPCA cautions against animal cruelty as bag chains made of real rabbit fur gain popularity in Singapore

A rabbit bag chain sold in shops in Singapore.
A rabbit bag chain sold in shops in Singapore. PHOTO: SPCA/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - A recent investigation conducted by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) has found that rabbit bag chains sold in Singapore are made of real rabbit fur.

SPCA said in a Facebook post on Monday (July 25) afternoon that the chains' rise in popularity and feedback from concerned members of the public had spurred the investigation.

The post has garnered over 2,800 shares and nearly 300 comments.

According to SPCA's executive director Dr Jaipal Singh Gill, the sample tested came from a shop in Bugis. There are also shops selling similar products in the area, including shopping malls Bugis+ and Bugis Junction. 

"Members of the public have also informed us that the product is sold in places such as Far East Plaza, Sun Plaza, Scape and by various online retailers," Dr Gill added. 

These chains, depending on their size, are priced at between $20 and $30. 

During its investigation, some sellers told SPCA that the fur was real, while others said it was not.

Based on its own in-house tests, which included microscopic examinations that compared the fur used in the chains with real rabbit fur and synthetic fur, SPCA concluded that the fur used in the chains was real.

Examples from SPCA's in-house microscopy test comparing fibre morphology. PHOTO: SPCA

"Fur is often obtained with much animal suffering and in Singapore, there is simply no excuse to wear fur, even as an accessory," SPCA wrote in its post.

"Exercise your right as a consumer to refuse this symbol of excessive cruelty."

It is not known what type of rabbit fur was used in the making of the chains being sold here. 

In response to queries from The Straits Times, an Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) spokesman said the import of animal products - including rabbit fur keychains - derived from species protected under the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora (CITES) have to comply with the necessary CITES requirements. 

"Some rabbit species, such as the Assam rabbit and the volcano rabbit, are endangered species protected under CITES Appendix I, for which international trade in their parts and products is strictly prohibited," the spokesman added. 
Finished animal products derived from non-CITES listed animals, however, do not require import permits from the AVA as they pose minimal disease risk to humans and animals. 

On its part, SPCA said it will actively raise awareness on the issue via social media media, educational talks and outreach programmes. 

"We are also reaching out to the sellers to encourage them to not bring in products made from real animal fur," said Dr Singh.