Image source: WashingtonPost.com
After reports last year of "raccoon dog" fur being used and labeled as faux fur, the Humane Society came out with a few quick tests you can use to test whether any animals were hurt in production. First, look at the base of the fur - fake fur will have a threaded backing while real fur will just have dyed skin. Second, animal fur tapers into a point - like a cat's whisker or a sewing needle. This one is harder to tell.
The third option is only for fur owners who want to check on a purchase they have already made - snip off a tiny portion of hair and light it on fire. Animal hair will smell like human hair when ignited - synthetic fur won't. If you do find that you have a fur coat and don't feel like you can wear it in good conscience, then the Humane Society has a tip for you (see below). There are other tests commonly used, such as "push-pin test, blow test, finger roll test, color of the fur, length of the fur and relative softeness of the fur" but none of these are very reliable. The test chart also comes complete with pictures so you know exactly what you are looking for. The Humane Society includes several resources on their website like clothing companies going fur-free, and ways you can donate your furs to animal rehabilitation clinics where they are used to warm animal babies.