LONDON – The UK’s Environment Food and Rural Affairs Committee has called on the Government to hold a public consultation to consider whether to ban animal fur in the UK, post-Brexit. In a new report, it also calls for a new mandatory fur and animal product labelling regime to enable consumers to make informed buying choices. Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Donna Karan, Jimmy Choo, Hugo Boss, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vivienne Westwood have all introduced fur bans in recent years. However, despite a ban on on fur production the UK imported almost £75m of animal fur last year from countries including Poland, Finland and China.
Humane Society International (HIS) has led calls to ban the import of fur into the UK in recent years. In response to the Committee’s question ‘Should the UK ban fur?’, HSI UK presented detailed evidence of the cruelty of fur farming and trapping, as well what it claims is a “moral inconsistency” between the UK’s ban on fur farming and the importation of fur.
HSI UK executive director Claire Bass said: “The UK was the first country in the world to ban fur farming, after the British public, politicians and veterinary experts concluded that it is an inhumane and completely unnecessary industry. So it is total double standard for us to still be importing and selling fur from animals still suffering the same conditions we banned here.
“The UK Government has the opportunity to blaze a trail as the first country to ban the sale of all animal fur, so we are delighted that EFRA Committee members are pressing government to launch a public consultation to help inform and build that case. Our #FurFreeBritain campaign already has the support of the British public, veterinary experts, as well as an ever-growing list of retailers and designers who see that the future of fashion is fur-free.
“With innovation in textiles offering high quality humane alternatives to real fur, the fur trade’s days are clearly numbered, but it can’t end quickly enough for the hundreds of millions of animals trapped and tormented in tiny cages. A UK ban would be a major nail in the coffin of this morally bankrupt industry.”
The EFRA report is critical of the mis-sale of real animal fur as fake fur, a scandal exposed by HSI UK, and urges decisive action from retailers and Trading Standards to ensure that consumers are not sold ‘fake faux fur’. Evidence presented to the Committee by HSI UK underlined deficiencies in the current labelling laws, including that there is no legal requirement to use the specific word ‘fur’ on items containing real fur. Evidence submitted by HSI UK showed the Committee numerous examples of real fur being sold as fake fur on the UK high street and online, commonly containing labels such as ‘100 per cent acrylic’.
The Committee acknowledged the extent of the problem, stating that the “current labelling system is confusing, not-fit-for purpose, and with a high degree of non-compliance. It is also not being enforced.” The report recommends that a new labelling law should ensure that items containing fur should list the species, country of origin and method of production.