LONDON—Prime Minister Boris Johnson has received a letter from eight of Britain’s top fur-free fashion designers and retailers, urging him to make the UK the first country in the world to ban fur sales.
Designers Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood, Katharine Hamnett, ERDEM, Shrimps, Christopher Raeburn and Helen Moore plus luxury fashion department store Selfridges are backing Humane Society International’s #FurFreeBritain campaign and say that they are proud to support the fur-free movement.
Fur farming was banned in Britain almost two decades ago in 2003 as it was deemed too cruel an industry to support. But since then, Britain has imported more than £800 million worth of fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where animals suffer miserable lives on fur farms, and from North America where animals such as coyotes are also cruelly trapped in the wild using leg hold traps banned in the UK.
Despite animal fur still being imported into the country, the number of British designers and retailers rejecting real fur continues to grow. Not only does the use of real fur contradict the ethical trajectory of many fashion companies, but it reflects consumer sentiment over many years, with a recent poll showing 93% of British citizens reject the wearing of real fur.
The designers’ letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson reads: “fashion, driven by consumers and enabled by innovation, is evolving to make animal fur obsolete, as more and more luxury fashion designers and high street retailers eliminate it from their collections. Our fur-free policies are informed by the beliefs and expectations of the majority of UK consumers, who reject animal fur on ethical grounds. We are proud to support the growing fur-free movement as we know that the majority of British consumers want fashion items without fur. We acknowledge and welcome Humane Society International’s #FurFreeBritain campaign.”
Recent years have seen a tremendous growth in the number of fashion designers dropping real animal fur from their collections. Some of the world’s best-known fashion labels that have adopted fur-free policies include Armani, Hugo Boss, Prada Group (Prada, Miu Miu, Church’s), Burberry, Versace, Gucci, Chanel, Coach, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg, Columbia Sportswear, Farfetch, Net-a-Porter, Timberland, The North Face, Zara, Nordstrom, Macy’s and Bloomindale’s.
Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, says: “By proudly flying the flag for fur free fashion, these iconic British fashion designers have their finger on the pulse. They refuse to put cruelty on the catwalk because they know there is nothing glamorous about mentally deprived foxes, anally electrocuted raccoon dogs, COVID-19 infected mink and wild trapped coyotes shot in the head. The vast majority of British consumers reject fur, and as the revolting cruelty of fur is exposed, a global decline in demand for fur fashion has sent this industry into a downward spiral. Killing animals for fashion does not reflect brand Britain, even her Majesty the Queen has stopped buying new fur. So it’s time for our government to consign the fur trade to the history books where it belongs and ban the sale of fur.”
Daniella Vega, director of sustainability at Selfridges, says: “As a luxury fashion retailer we’re proud of our long-standing no fur policy which has been in place for more than fifteen years. Our customers care about animal welfare and we are committed to providing ethical and sustainable products. There are many alternative materials for brands and designers to use; the future is fur-free and we support a ban on the sale of fur in the UK.”
Helen Moore, founder and director of Helen Moore, says: “We’re a British business dedicated to designing and making gorgeous luxury faux fur products in the Devon countryside. We pride ourselves on producing affordable luxury clothing and homewares without compromising our ethics, that’s why we will never use real animal fur. We believe that it is unjust and unnecessary to cause suffering to animals just so their fur can be used in fashion. We’re delighted to see more and more designers and retailers around the globe are turning their backs on real animal fur and opting for beautiful luxury alternatives instead. We are proud to support Humane Society International/UK’s Fur Free Britain campaign and we urge Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban the sale of real animal fur”.
- More than 1,500 brands have signed up to the Fur Free Retailer scheme. The most recent brand to do so was adidas, joining the likes of H&M, Jack Wolfskin, Lacoste, Mango, Marks & Spencer, Mulberry, Next, The North Face and Zara.
- More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and rabbit – that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for fur.
- Fur farming has been banned across the UK since 2003, and has been banned and/or is in the process of being phased-out in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia. Most recently the government in Hungary declared a ban on the farming of animals for fur including mink and foxes, France committed to phase out mink farms by 2025, and the Irish government made a commitment to bring forward legislation in 2021.
- Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania, Montenegro, Poland and Ukraine are also presently considering bans on fur farming, and in Finland the majority party of the coalition government just announced its support for a ban on fur farms.
- In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. Legislators in Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Hawaii, New York and Massachusetts have introduced fur sales ban proposals. A bill introduced in Washington State would ban the production of fur.
- Mink on more than 420 mink fur farms across 11 countries have been found to be infected with COVID-19, leading to mass culls in several countries. The potential for zoonotic disease spread, and for mink fur farms in particular to act as reservoirs for coronaviruses, incubating pathogens transmissible to humans, is another compelling reason for governments around the world to call time on fur, by banning farming and sales.
Media contact: Leozette Roode, HSI/UK Media and Campaigns Manager: Lroode@hsi.org; +27 713601104