Jul 23, 2018
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MPs call for UK fur trade ban to be considered

Jul 23, 2018

A committee of MPs in Britain is recommending that a ban on sales of real fur should be considered. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee has been investigating the fur and retail sectors after it was found that some real fur products have been labelled as fake fur and sold via a number of big names.

A committee of MPs is calling the fur labelling system broken

Probes by animal welfare group Humane Society International (HSI) and Sky news had uncovered a large number of mislabelling issues. As a result, the MPs have called the current labelling of fur products "not fit for purpose".

Fur farming has been banned in Britain since 2000 but it’s still permissible to sell many fur products, as long as they’re labelled correctly - although ‘correct’ in this case simply means stating that they’re real fur. 

Will a complete ban happen? That’s unclear, despite the Efra calls for its to be looked at. There’s some political support for a ban with the opposition Labour Party saying it would introduce one, while the current Conservative government hasn't gone that far. But it has said that after Brexit, the UK would be able to “go further” to introduce more restrictions on the fur trade than it can as a member of the EU. However, it’s uncertain whether that’s just making political capital out of the Brexit issue or a real commitment to action.

The Efra committee came to its conclusion that a ban is an option after deciding that retailers and official Trading Standards officers have been complacent about labelling under current rules.

Revelations in recent periods have seen retailers including TK Maxx, BooHoo, Amazon and Tesco selling items containing real fur that were labelled as synthetic. These mistakes came despite the stores concerned having no-fur policies.

The committee’s report highlighted that “many consumers have an ethical reason for not buying garments containing real fur, [but] the last few years have shown that there is vulnerability in retailers' supply chains. Our inquiry has highlighted that the current labelling system is confusing, not fit for purpose and with a high degree of non-compliance. It is also not being enforced.”

The British Fur Trade Association has welcomed the committee's recommendations around the mislabelling issue with CEO Mike Moser saying it’s vital for consumers to be able to make informed decisions. He’s calling for a fur-specific UK label that would give more details about the type of fur in use.

But Moser said he’s disappointed at calls for a total ban on fur sales, saying fur is a legitimate business and it should be down to consumer choice.

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