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January 4, 2017

The Case for a Fur Free Britain

Humane Society International/United Kingdom

  • It’s probable that millions of pounds worth of fur is sold each year to UK consumers who don’t realise that it’s animal fur, and wouldn’t buy it if they did. Jo-Anne McArthur

When fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000, the government of the time stated that ‘public morality’ dictated a ban was justified. In proposing the Bill, the Minister responsible for animal welfare, Elliot Morley, told MPs:

“Morality is important when it comes to the treatment of animals. Fur farming is not consistent with a proper value and respect for animal life. Animal life should not be destroyed in the absence of a sufficient justification in terms of public benefit. Nor should animals be bred for such destruction in the absence of sufficient justification. That is the essence of our argument for applying morality to a Bill of this kind.”[1]

But although all fur farms were closed by January 1st 2003, that didn’t make Britain free of fur.

Whilst imports of fur from some species is banned across the EU (from domestic cat and dog, and fur from commercial seal slaughter), fur from other species is not. The UK imports fur from countries where fur farm conditions are as bad, or worse, than those we outlawed in our own country.

Government figures show that since 2003, the UK has imported hundreds of millions of pounds of fur, peaking at £62.6 million in fur imports in 2014 (more than half of this value was then re-exported).[2]

Tackling this apparent contradiction by banning all fur imports to the UK has been challenging under World Trade Organisation rules because, as a member of the EU, we can’t ban imports of products still produced by some EU member states. However, in post-Brexit Britain, that restriction is removed, and when the government decides to write the EU cat and dog and seal fur bans into UK law, there is no impediment to expanding the ban to include all fur.

Sign our Fur-Free Britain petition now.

According to a new YouGov/HSI opinion poll, the British public agrees that fur from all species should be banned from sale. Our poll shows that a similarly low percentage of Brits agree with selling fur from foxes, mink, chinchilla, raccoon dogs, coyotes and rabbits, as from already banned species.

Brexit is a clear opportunity for the UK to ditch fur once and for all, to be a fully fur-free nation and to ensure that we no longer bankroll a trade in products that we deem too morally unacceptable to produce within our own borders.

Notes:
[1] Elliot Morley, Hansard (15 May 2000) (London: HMSO, 2000) Vol. 350, No. 99, p. 76; see also pp. 40-

[2] UK Government trade data

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