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Animal charities urge UK government to ban animal-fur imports

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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Animal charities including Humane Society International UK and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have sent a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May, backed by over thirty UK celebrities, demanding that she take action and introduce a UK ban on animal-fur imports.

In the #FurFreeBritain letter, the charities say: “We believe that Britain’s responsibility to animals does not end at our borders, but extends globally, to those animals killed to be traded into our country.

“With that in mind, we write to urge your government’s action to ban the import and sale of animal fur in the UK. In fur farms and traps around the world, more than 100 million animals suffer and die every year for the frivolous fur trade, including fur sold here in the UK.”

Fur farming has been illegal in the UK since 2000, but since then Britain has imported over 650 million pounds worth of fur from countries such as China and Poland, where animals are typically bred in appalling conditions on fur farms.

The letter adds: “The animal fur arriving in British ports is from animals who have suffered a lifetime in tiny barren cages, often driven insane by neglect. It is from animals who have been brutally electrocuted or gassed, and sometimes even skinned alive.

“It is from animals caught and left for days in barbaric leg-hold traps. They endure all of this to then have their fur processed into a frivolous trim on a hat, coat, shoe or handbag. We should not trade on their suffering.”

Celebs back #FurFreeBritain campaign

The campaign has received support from celebrities including Judy Dench, Joanna Lumley, Andy Murray, Twiggy, Fearne Cotton, Alesha Dixon, and Ricky Gervais, and comes as a UK Government and Parliament petition approaches its March 23 deadline and nears the target of 100,000 signatures required to trigger a parliamentary debate on the UK fur trade.

"We are delighted that so many of the UK's best-loved celebrities have spoken out in favour of a Fur Free Britain," said a Fur Free Britain campaign spokesperson. "Their words echo the calls from the vast majority of the British public who want to see an end to animal fur being imported onto our shores.”

Fur Free Britain campaign spokesperson added: “The UK banned fur farming almost two decades ago because of animal suffering, but we continue to import that same cruelty from other countries such as Canada, China, Poland, and the US, where the appalling suffering continues. We urge Theresa May and her government to put an end to this double standard.”

The letter adds that polls show that 69 percent of the British public support a ban on the import and sale of animal fur in the UK, and later this month animal charities will present a petition with over 360,000 signatures of support.

The prominent group of animal charities supporting the campaign includes Humane Society International UK, the RSPCA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Four Paws, Animal Aid, Brian May’s Save Me Trust, Viva!, The Jane Goodall Institute UK, and Open Cages – and supported by social network Care2.

The #FurFreeBritain campaign comes as the fashion industry is also turning against fur, with top designers such as Gucci and Michael Kors dropping fur, and more and more high street stores across Britain going fur-free.

More than 100 million animals suffer each year for the global fur trade, most of them reared in terrible conditions on fur farms and although fur farming is outlawed in the UK and EU, and regulations ban imports of fur from domesticated cats and dogs and from commercial seal hunts, Britain still imports and sells the fur of a variety of other species, including foxes, rabbits, minks, coyotes, raccoon dogs, and chinchillas.

Image: courtesy of Humane Society International UK by Jo McArthur
Humane Society International UK