Ahead of London Fashion Week, which officially kicks off on February 15, leading vets and #FurFreeBritain campaigners at animal charity Humane Society International UK are warning that any designers who put real fur on the catwalk will breach the British Fashion Council’s ‘Positive Fashion’ guidelines, which includes animal welfare provisions.

The guidelines include the ‘Five Freedoms’ of animal welfare: freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain, injury or disease; fear and distress; and with the ability to express normal behaviour.

The report authored by leading vets, Professors Stephen Harris, Marc Bekoff and Alastair MacMillan and Drs Sandra Baker, Andy Butterworth and Alick Simmons, warns that the intensive farming of fur-bearing animals is incompatible with these ‘Five Freedoms’, and advises that all animal products shown during London Fashion Week should come from animals whose lives meet these essential welfare standards, which they not is “impossible to meet if using fur”.

Dr Alick Simmons, former UK Government deputy chief veterinary officer said in a statement: “I firmly believe that the very nature of fur farming, essentially wild animals confined in small wire battery cages, precludes it from meeting even the most basic of the five freedoms. If designers continue to show fur at London Fashion Week, they are clearly showing flagrant disregard for both science and public opinion.”

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK added: “We applaud the British Fashion Council for putting in place guidelines to show designers the standards they expect to prevent harmful exploitation of people, the environment and animals, and now all eyes are on the designers to see if they’ll respect these principles.

“Clearly, fur cruelty is out of step with globally recognised welfare standards, so showing fur at London Fashion Week would be the ultimate fashion faux-pas, and at a time when the vast majority of designers are dropping fur in order to distance themselves from this cruel and outdated product.”

In September 2018, London Fashion Week was hailed as progressive for going fur-free in all collections shown.

Across the fashion industry brands have made u-turns on their use of fur, in the last two years alone, leading designers including Gucci, Versace, Burberry, Chanel, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Coach, Belstaff, Donna Karan/DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Maison Margiela, have made a commitment to go fur-free.


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