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Government set to drop UK ban on fur imports

Tom Shearsmith
21 February 2022

The UK government is likely to drop plans to ban imports of fur, with several cabinet ministers raising concerns about the proposals.

The government confirmed that a final decision had not been taken but sources said the measures look set to be shelved to allow other elements of the bill to progress.

A spokesperson for the government told the BBC that it was "united in its commitment to upholding its world-leading standards in animal welfare".

In September 2021, MPs from across the political spectrum called on the government to ban the sale and import of real animal fur in Britain, in the first fur debate since the UK left the EU.

Britain has banned fur farming since 2000 with the last fur farms closing in 2003, but has always stopped short of banning the import of farmed fur, saying that it would contravene the UK's membership of the EU. However now that the Brexit transition period has completed, anti-fur MPs and campaign groups, such as Humane Society International, have stepped up calls for an import and sales ban.

The #FurFreeBritain campaign has received support from over 50 British celebrities, including Dame Judi Dench, Brian May CBE, Leona Lewis and Alesha Dixon, and designers such as Stella McCartney OBE, Vivienne Westwood DBE and Katharine Hamnett CBE.

In response to the speculation, leading animal charity Humane Society International/UK urges Ministers to listen to the overwhelming public support for a ban and to publish the results of its Call for Evidence which received 30,000 responses.

Claire Bass, Executive Director for Humane Society International/UK, said: "Polls show that 72% of Brits want a fur ban, and over 140 MPs from all parties agree that we should not remain complicit in the death and suffering of millions of animals caged or trapped overseas for frivolous fashion. Last year there were 30,000 responses to the government’s Call for Evidence on the fur trade, we are calling for the results to be published. This evidence should determine government policy, not the personal preferences and hunches of a small number of influential Conservatives."

Many major brands and retailers have dropped fur from their collections in recent years including leading names such as Chanel, Gucci Versace, Michael Kors, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Diane von Furstenberg and John Galliano.

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