A Vancouver MP is harnessing a new parliamentary technology as part of his crusade to ban the importation and sale of dog and cat fur in Canada.

Vancouver Kingsway MP Don Davies says because of a lack of federal laws and labelling requirements, many clothing items labelled “faux fur” in retail stores actually contain real animal fur, from species including rabbits and domestic dogs and cats.

Much of the fur is imported from dog meat and fur farms in foreign countries, where animals are housed in tiny cages in appalling conditions, according to The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. The fur can also be the byproduct of a canine killed in the dog meat trade. The group says the creatures are often killed by being hanged, electrocuted, stabbed or sometimes skinned alive.

Large volumes of that animal fur is then processed by the garment industry and intentionally mislabeled as faux or synthetic fur, according to the BC SPCA. It can commonly be found in jacket trim, boot and glove lining – and even children’s toys, like stuffed animals.

Davies says the deception amounts to a consumer fraud where animal lovers who are trying to boycott fur may unwittingly be supporting the fur industry.

“It’s shocking,” Davies said.

“Dogs and cats are part of our families in Canada and I think there’s a general consensus in this country that we object strongly to cruelty against them.”

Davies has just sponsored a new e-petition, or electronic petition, calling on the federal government to not only ban the importation of dog and cat fur into this country, but also to outlaw the sale of it.

If 100,000 Canadian citizens sign the petition by May 17, it will be formally introduced in the House of Commons.

The parliamentary e-petition is a new tool for Canadian democracy, just rolled out last week. A petition is launched once it is signed by six citizens, and then must be sponsored by an MP in order to be registered.

Davies says the petition is a “direct pipeline into parliament” that will allow him to call on the government to affect policy because of it.

“We need a double barreled approach. There needs to be strong labelling requirements, and a ban on the sale of fur itself,” Davies said.

A seldom-talked about part of the fur industry, the U.S., European Union, United Kingdom and Australia have already prohibited the importation of cat and dog fur.

Geoff Urton of the BC SPCA said it would be natural for Canada to join the ranks of other nations that have made the commitment to prohibiting the practice.

“Why would we purchase products from another country that we find morally unacceptable here?” he said.

Canadian residents can sign petition e-123 here, after registering online.