MPs push for UK ban of fur imports during landmark debate

March 22, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

MPs from all political parties spoke out in favour of a UK ban on fur
imports on Monday evening, during
held at Westminster Hall. MPs
voiced their concerns with the fur trade, calling it “vile”, “loathsome”
and the “grimmest of human activities.”

The debate was held in response the submission of the
strong petition delivered to Number 10 Downing Street by the

coalition earlier this year, in addition to another 100,000
signature strong online petition. Although George Eustice MP for
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, failed to commit to government action
during the debate, there was no doubt that MPs and their constituents are
calling for a UK fur ban.

MPs support UK ban of fur import despite lack of government commitment

The Labour Party previously pledged to ban fur imports to the UK ahead of
the debate, as Labour MP for Bristol East, Kerry McCarthy highlighting that
much of the fur imported to the UK stems from countries which lack animal
welfare standards. “Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in the year
2000 and two years later in Scotland on the grounds of public morality and
the fact that fur produced in the same methods is allowed to be imported
into the country is fundamentally illogical and surely it must be immoral
too,” argued McCarthy.

“A lot of our fur imports come for countries where animal welfare standards
are even lower than the UK’s were before we introduced a fur farming ban,
in some countries you could say the standards are simply non-existent.”
McCarthy went on to counter the idea of “ethical fur farming” as the UK’s
ban on fur farming came after animal welfare council concluded fur farms
were not able to even satisfy wild animals most basic needs. “The council
explicitly stated it was not possible to safeguard the welfare of animals
kept on fur farms,” added McCarthy.

“The door for a fur import ban is open, will the Minister walk
through it?”

SNP MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, Patricia Gibson

Other MPs echoed McCarthy’s sentiments, adding that the UK government is
currently outsourcing this “form of animal cruelty.” Conservative MP for
Clacton, Giles Francis Watling, added: “By waiting for this to happen we
only prolong our role in supporting an enabling these terrible animal
welfare practices and I do not believe this is in keeping with our British
values.” SNP MP for North Ayrshire and Arran, Patricia Gibson stressed that
UK consumers made an ethical decision not to wear fur, which is why a fur
import ban is key. “A ban is important to keep these loathsome and vile
products from our country, to help us wash the blood from our hands,”
Gibson said.

Eustice went on to acknowledge there is nothing in the World Trade
Organisation rules which precludes the UK from banning items, such as fur,
on ethical grounds and that there is case law for the Humane Society
International UK, one of the front-runners of the #FurFreeBritain campaign,
to advance the UK ban on fur imports. “It was fantastic to see so many MPs, from across all parties,
speak so passionately about the need for a fur free Britain,”
said Claire Bass, Humane Society International UK Executive Director, to FashionUnited following the debate.
“Although it is extremely disappointing that George Eustice failed to commit to a concrete government action,
the debate certainly left him in no doubt that MPs and their constituents are demanding a UK fur ban.”

“The government has a clear public mandate to take a moral stand
against the cruel and unnecessary trade, and the vast majority of British
retailers and designers are making it abundantly clear that there is no
future for fur in fashion”

Claire Bass, Humane Society International UK Executive Director

“The debate was a significant step forward for HSI’s campaign to end fur imports into the UK,
from here we plan to galvanise cross-party political support and build on the
considerable momentum we’ve created, to make a robust case for a UK ban that the government can’t ignore,” added Bass.
“We are also working hard to spread awareness of the animal suffering inherent in the fur trade,
and in doing so build on the overwhelming support we have already seen for the campaign.
The public’s backing is invaluable in reaching our goal – people power really can move mountains!”

“We can’t be sure of the government’s next move, but one thing is for certain – HSI will continue campaigning until Britain is fur free.”

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  • Photo: Courtesy of HSI UK