- Vivian Hendriksz |
MPs from all political parties spoke out in favour of a UK ban on fur imports on Monday evening, during a landmark debate held at Westminster Hall. MPs voiced their concerns with the fur trade, calling it "vile", "loathsome" and the "grimmest of human activities."
The debate was held in response the submission of the 425,834 signature strong petition delivered to Number 10 Downing Street by the #FurFreeBritain coalition earlier this year, in addition to another 100,000 signature strong online petition. Although George Eustice MP for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, failed to commit to government action during the debate, there was no doubt that MPs and their constituents are calling for a UK fur ban.
MPs support UK ban of fur import despite lack of government commitment
The Labour Party previously pledged to ban fur imports to the UK ahead of the debate, as Labour MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy highlighting that much of the fur imported to the UK stems from countries which lack animal welfare standards. "Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in the year 2000 and two years later in Scotland on the grounds of public morality and the fact that fur produced in the same methods is allowed to be imported into the country is fundamentally illogical and surely it must be immoral too," argued McCarthy.
"A lot of our fur imports come for countries where animal welfare standards are even lower than the UK’s were before we introduced a fur farming ban, in some countries you could say the standards are simply non-existent." McCarthy went on to counter the idea of "ethical fur farming" as the UK's ban on fur farming came after animal welfare council concluded fur farms were not able to even satisfy wild animals most basic needs. "The council explicitly stated it was not possible to safeguard the welfare of animals kept on fur farms," added McCarthy.
"The door for a fur import ban is open, will the Minister walk through it?"
Other MPs echoed McCarthy's sentiments, adding that the UK government is currently outsourcing this "form of animal cruelty." Conservative MP for Clacton, Giles Francis Watling, added: "By waiting for this to happen we only prolong our role in supporting an enabling these terrible animal welfare practices and I do not believe this is in keeping with our British values." SNP MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, Patricia Gibson stressed that UK consumers made an ethical decision not to wear fur, which is why a fur import ban is key. "A ban is important to keep these loathsome and vile products from our country, to help us wash the blood from our hands," Gibson said.
Eustice went on to acknowledge there is nothing in the World Trade Organisation rules which precludes the UK from banning items, such as fur, on ethical grounds and that there is case law for the Humane Society International UK, one of the front-runners of the #FurFreeBritain campaign, to advance the UK ban on fur imports. "It was fantastic to see so many MPs, from across all parties, speak so passionately about the need for a fur free Britain," said Claire Bass, Humane Society International UK Executive Director, to FashionUnited following the debate. "Although it is extremely disappointing that George Eustice failed to commit to a concrete government action, the debate certainly left him in no doubt that MPs and their constituents are demanding a UK fur ban."
"The government has a clear public mandate to take a moral stand against the cruel and unnecessary trade, and the vast majority of British retailers and designers are making it abundantly clear that there is no future for fur in fashion"
"The debate was a significant step forward for HSI’s campaign to end fur imports into the UK, from here we plan to galvanise cross-party political support and build on the considerable momentum we've created, to make a robust case for a UK ban that the government can't ignore," added Bass. "We are also working hard to spread awareness of the animal suffering inherent in the fur trade, and in doing so build on the overwhelming support we have already seen for the campaign. The public's backing is invaluable in reaching our goal - people power really can move mountains!"
"We can’t be sure of the government’s next move, but one thing is for certain - HSI will continue campaigning until Britain is fur free."
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- Should feathers be the next material banned from Fashion?
Photo: Courtesy of HSI UK