Twenty years ago, Parliament passed the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act, which banned fur farming in England and Wales. Parliament agreed that it was immoral and uncivilised to allow this cruel businesses to continue in the name of fashion.
However, fur farming continued in other countries, and individuals and businesses in the UK have continued to import furs and support this animal cruelty.
A recent investigation by the Mirror has highlighted what goes on in modern fur farms, where more than 100 million animals are killed every year for their furs – that’s three every second.
TV wildlife presenter and campaigner Chris Packham described it as “like a scene from hell” and one of the worst cases of animal cruelty he has witnessed.
Over a decade ago, the EU introduced a ban on the importation of cat and dog furs, and there are also restrictions on seal fur imports, however, this is as far as the restrictions go. You can still import the furs of foxes, mink, raccoon dogs, chinchillas and rabbits.
A significant majority of the British public is in favour of taking action against fur; a YouGov poll commissioned by Humane Society International in January revealed that 72% of people support a ban on the import and sale of animal fur.
In addition to strong public support, the fashion and retail industries are turning their backs on real fur too, with many big fashion brands now vowing to stop using it in their future collections. Demand is declining, so now would be a great time to end fur cruelty being sold on our high streets for good.
I have raised a ban on fur importation with the Government on a number of occasions over the last few years, however, the answer is always the same – when we leave the EU, they will maintain the current regulations, but will not extend them.
This means that after we leave the EU, we will still be in the same illogical situation that we are in now, with a ban on the importation of some animal furs but not others.
The EU’s and the UK Government’s policy is that the importation of cat, dog and seal furs is abhorrent, but the importation of other furs is perfectly acceptable.
Whilst I appreciate the Government’s stated commitment to working internationally to strengthen animal welfare standards, I believe that this is an issue that the UK could lead on, by implementing a complete ban on the importation of fur.
A complete ban would be the logical approach to take, however, there are no signs that the Government is moving in this direction. Regardless, this is the policy that I support, and I will continue to raise this issue with the Government whenever possible.