I believe that we should implement a ban on the import and sale of fur in the UK. This outdated and unnecessary trade should have no place in the UK’s fashion industry. I believe in a vision where no animal is made to suffer unnecessary pain and degradation and where we continue to drive up standards and practice. This is why I was proud to have recently participated in a Parliamentary debate on stopping unnecessary animal testing (watch this here). I know people want Britain to be a beacon for animal welfare, putting the health of our animals first and foremost, whether that is regarding preventing animal testing, the fur trade, or other animal rights issues.
According to Humane Society International, more than 100 million animals suffer and are killed for the global fur trade every year. Animals are treated terribly in the fur trade: farmed animals are kept in small cages for their entire lives and wild animals are caught using cruel leg-hold traps.
I am proud that the UK was the first country to ban fur farming two decades ago. Since then, the EU has also banned the importation of dog, cat and seal fur and this has been retained in UK law after Brexit. However, although many retailers now refuse to stock real fur, fur from other species can still legally be imported and sold in the UK. Consumers may also be misled into buying real fur, believing it to be fake.
I believe we should go further and ban the importation and sale of fur altogether. We should not have a fur trade that relies upon the suffering of animals abroad, and we cannot go on being complicit in this cruel and inhumane practice.
The UK Government previously said that it was not possible to introduce restrictions relating to the fur trade during the transition period, and that once our future relationship with the EU had been established, there would be an opportunity to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales. It recently launched a Call for Evidence in conjunction with the Welsh and Scottish Governments on the fur trade which closed on 28 June 2021. The UK Government has said it will publish a summary of responses and any next steps in due course. I will continue to follow developments on this closely.
I can assure you I will continue to urge the UK Government to implement a ban on the import and sale of fur at the earliest opportunity. I can assure you, animal welfare is a key priority for me (view my column on animal welfare to read further about my position).