Cuddly toys made using real fur from cats and dogs have gone on sale in Britain angering animal rights groups.

Produced in China, these toys are made to replicate sleeping puppies and kittens and are being sold in markets and gift shops around the country for as little as £3.

Under current British law manufacturers are not obligated to reveal what the toys are made from on the label. However, it is hoped that the government will introduce new laws which state that any products made using real fur will have to be clearly labelled.

Consumers will then be able to decide whether they want to buy a product which is made from either dog or cat fur, rather than buying something without knowing where it has come from.

It is estimated that two million dogs and cats are being killed in Far East slaughterhouses each year. Real fur is now cheaper and easier to come by than fake fur and in some instances it has even been dyed and labelled as synthetic fur.

According to a report in the Sunday Express (9 February) imports of cat anddog fur rose nearly 50% between 1991 and 2001.

A spokesperson from PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) said: “The fur trade is a violent and bloody business and its use in the production of toys is disgusting. Consumers need to be cautious when buying items and should ensure they are made from synthetic materials.”