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BREAKING: UK Government launches Call for Evidence to consider a fur import and sales ban

Humane Society International UK

4 min read Partner content

New poll shows strong public majority in support of a ban

LONDON – Following a one million signature petition, and strong support from British celebrities, designers and retailers, the UK Government has launched a formal Call for Evidence to inform a decision on banning the import and sale of animal fur. The Government’s response to the high profile #FurFreeBritain campaign is warmly welcomed by Humane Society International/U.K, which today published its latest opinion poll showing huge public support (72%) for a fur import and sales ban.  

Fur farming has been banned across Britain since 2003, but since then the UK has imported more than £800 million worth of animal fur from countries including Finland, China, France and Poland, where animals can experience terrible suffering and mental distress on fur farms. 

Claire Bass, executive director for Humane Society International/UK says, “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. Our latest opinion poll confirms what previous polls have consistently shown, that the majority of Brits want nothing to do with the cruelty of fur farming and trapping and support a ban on fur being imported and sold here. 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."

A 2021 Yonder opinion poll commissioned by HSI/UK shows that 72% of the British public support a UK fur import and sales ban, including 52% who responded that they ‘strongly support’ a ban. 12% were opposed to a ban, 14% were neutral and 3% answered that they did not know. Support is strongest in Wales, which showed 82% public support for a ban, and only 6% of people opposed.

The Yonder poll confirms a 2020 YouGov opinion poll that also showed 72% support a ban; it also showed that only 3% of the British public wear real animal fur, and the words people most closely associate with a fashion brand selling fur are ‘unethical’, ‘outdated’, ‘cruel’ and ‘out of touch’. 

In April this year a petition of more than one million signatures was handed in to No.10 Downing Street by the #FurFreeBritain coalition which comprises Humane Society International, PETA UK, Four Paws, RSPCA, Viva!, Open Cages, Brian May’s Save Me, The Jane Goodall Institute, and Animal Aid. In February, Prime Minister Boris Johnson received a letter signed by 50 of Britain’s biggest stars, including Dame Judi Dench, Dr Brian May, Leona Lewis, Alesha Dixon and Ricky Gervais, all backing a ban.

Last autumn, Defra Minister Lord Goldsmith stated that “Fur farming has rightly been banned in this country for nearly 20 years and at the end of the transition period we will be able to properly consider steps to raise our standards still further. That is something the Government is very keen to do.” Defra’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare, launched last month, stated that “Whilst there are existing import restrictions on seal, cat and dog fur, it is still possible to import other fur from abroad, so we will explore potential action in this area”. Since its launch, the #FurFreeBritain campaign has received cross party political support from 140 MPs who have signed Early Day Motion 267 against real fur imports.

In the United States, California became the first US state to ban fur sales in 2019 following similar bans in cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. The towns of Weston and Wellesley in Massachusetts have also recently banned fur sales, and more US towns and states are looking to follow suit in the future. 

Find out more about fur cruelty here https://www.hsi.org/issues/fur/

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