As we ‘take back control’, let’s use that to stop the cruel and dangerous fur trade
Credit: Oikeutta Elaimille
The UK banned fur farming in 2000 but we still allow tens of millions of pounds worth of cruel fur to be imported and sold here. Now the UK has left the EU, we can change this double standard and ban fur sales.
Before being sold as a fashion accessory the fox above spent his entire life on a Finnish fur farm in a wire cage, measuring around one square metre.
He had deformed feet, swollen eyes and a single piece of bone as his only ‘enrichment’.
He will have waited hundreds of days before being electrocuted and skinned for his fur. Fur that could be shipped for sale in the UK.
Around 100 million animals live and die like this each year in the global fur trade. As well as causing immense animal suffering, scientists are linking the appalling conditions in fur farms to transmission of deadly diseases, such as Covid19.
In November last year the Danish government ordered all 17 million mink on its fur farms to be culled to protect public health, in light of uncontrolled Covid19 infections.
Also in response to Covid19 infections on fur farms, the Netherlands brought forward its planned fur farming ban, and in January this year the Swedish government banned breeding of mink during 2021, informed by the Swedish Public Health Agency’s risk assessment.
Even when pitched in this poll against critically important societal issues such as ‘resourcing the NHS’ and ‘getting the economy restarted after lockdown’, it is enlightening to see how much public support a fur sales ban commands.
The UK banned fur farming in 2000 because it was deemed unethical, but we still allow tens of millions of pounds worth of cruel fur from overseas to be imported and sold here.
The UK’s departure from the EU means we can change this double standard, by following California’s example and banning fur sales.
Fur is not welcome in the majority of British wardrobes; opinion polls show that most Brits (93%) don’t wear fur, and 72% support a UK fur sales ban (1).
Over 900,000 people have signed petitions supporting a ban. In response to our #FurFreeBritain campaign the government has said: “Fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years.
"Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales.”
The path is clear for government to begin formal consultations to inform a ban.
In the grip of a global pandemic and with so many unprecedented problems to occupy the Parliamentary timetable, we appreciate the need for patience.
But even during such turbulent times, the voting public retains its passion for government action to protect animals.
A September 2020 poll commissioned by the British Fur Trade Association revealed that nearly one in ten (9%) people believe that a fur sales ban should be amongst the government’s top three priorities for action in the next twelve months, rising to almost a fifth (17%) amongst people aged 18-34 (2).
Even when pitched in this poll against critically important societal issues such as ‘resourcing the NHS’ and ‘getting the economy restarted after lockdown’ it is enlightening to see how much public support a fur sales ban commands.
When the selling stops, the suffering stops too. As we ‘take back control’, let’s use that control to stop bankrolling the cruel, unnecessary and dangerous fur trade.
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(1) Total sample size 1,682 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 4th-5th March 2020. Survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (18+). Full results: https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/5r7ryfdp97/HSI_FurRegulation_200305_w.pdf
(2) Opinium research, sample size 2,002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 18th and 21st September 2020. Weighted to be nationally representative. Full results via firstname.lastname@example.org