Prominent celebrities including Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais, Joanna Lumley and Simon Pegg are urging British Prime Minister Theresa May to use Brexit to end fur imports. Despite fur farming being made illegal in the UK in 2000, fur from rabbits, minks and foxes continues to be imported. According to Humane Society International (HSI), over 650 million pounds of fur has been imported into Britain since the 2000 ban – and more than 100 million animals die each year for the fur trade.
Now, more than 30 celebrities have teamed up to campaign for a UK ban on animal fur imports. A letter delivered to May this week stated that the lack of a ban “makes no sense”, The Independent reports. “If fur is too cruel to produce in this country, it’s too cruel to sell in this country. We believe that Britain’s responsibility to animals does not end at our borders, but extends globally, to those animals killed to be traded into our country.”
So long as the UK is a member of the European Single Market, a complete ban of animal fur imports is impossible because fur products are still produced in several European countries. Last week the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched an enquiry into the fur trade to examine “how the industry can be made more transparent”.
The letter highlighted the abuse animals suffer for the trade. “Mrs May, the animal fur arriving in British ports is from animals who have suffered a lifetime in tiny barren cages, often driven insane by neglect”, it reads. “It is from animals who have been brutally electrocuted or gassed and sometimes even skinned alive. It is from animals caught and left for days in barbaric leg-hold traps. They endure all of this to then have their fur processed into a frivolous trim on a hat, coat, shoe or handbag. We should not trade on their suffering.”
“The import and sale of fur from dogs, cats and commercially-hunted seals is already banned. We urge you to extend these bans to protect all species. Fox or dog, cat or mink, animal fur has no place in our shops and wardrobes”, the letter concluded. “We want Britain to be a ‘world leader on animal welfare’’, so we urge you make the compassionate decision for a #FurFreeBritain”.
A petition calling for a total ban on animal fur in the UK now has over 96,000 signatures. If it reaches 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered in parliament.