Yesterday, (31 May) the UK government launched a call for evidence to hear from both industry and the public to help inform future government policy on the fur trade.
The government aims to look at what more can be done to strengthen our world leading standards of animal welfare. The call for evidence is part of a series of plans as outlined in the Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, which builds on our existing world leading standards by recognising animals as sentient in law and committing to a range of new game changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.
The call for evidence has been launched alongside the Scottish and Welsh governments and will ask for views surrounding animal welfare as well as the social and economic impacts associated with the trade.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said in a statement: "We already have some of the highest animal welfare standards in the world and as an independent nation we are now able to re-examine some of our animal welfare laws, including the import of fur for use in fashion products.
"The views, data and case studies we receive will be vital to helping to inform future government policy in this area including by better understanding the trade both at home and abroad."
Fur farming has been banned in England, Wales (since 2000) and in Scotland (since 2002). Strict rules are already in place for certain skin and fur products, including from commercial seal hunts and domestic cats and dogs, prohibiting them from being imported into the UK.
While fur farming has been banned, more than 800 million pounds worth of animal fur has been imported in Britain from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland where animals experience terrible suffering and mental distress on fur farms.
Humane Society International welcomes the UK government decision as an important milestone.
Claire Bass, Executive Director for Humane Society International UK said: “We welcome Defra’s Call for Evidence as a significant milestone in our #FurFreeBritain campaign and hopefully the first concrete step towards banning the sale of cruel fur in the UK. This is an important opportunity for both individual consumers and fashion businesses to let the government know that fur is firmly out of fashion in the UK.
“As the government defines the UK as a new independent nation in trade, it’s critical that we use this moment to stop bankrolling cruel industries overseas – we banned fur farming here because it was too cruel so we should not be paying people overseas to incarcerate animals for their whole lives in tiny cages all for a bobble hat or hood trim. When the selling stops the suffering stops too, and we are hopeful that this Call for Evidence will give Government everything it needs to move forward confidently with a ban.”