UK parliament is to debate a ban on importing fur into the UK today, following on from a ban on fur farming in this country in 2000.
Designer Stella McCartney, who has built a business on her refusal to use animal skins (including leather), has written an open letter to the government to urge them to outlaw the importing of fur.
“While fur farming may not occur on our shores, the UK is currently complicit with animal cruelty by allowing fur imports and supporting the industry,” McCartney said.
The debate takes place following public statements from a number of high profile luxury houses stating they will step away from the use of real fur in their collections. Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, Tom Ford, Versace, John Galliano, Furla, Tommy Hilfiger and online luxury group Yoox Net-A-Porter are just some of the names to state they will stop selling fur.
British luxury house Burberry has said that it has not used fur on its catwalks in recent seasons but does still sell products containing fur, however this practice is currently under review.
Shadow environment secretary, Sue Hayman, told Sky News she would be pressing the government to harden its stance on animal welfare by introducing an import ban, following on from Labour’s fur farming ban 18 years ago.
“I was so proud when the Labour government back in 2000 actually brought in a ban on fur farming in this country. Now we want to take the next step and ban importation of fur all together,” she told the news organisation.
“The Conservatives, instead of being morally indefensible and refusing to do so, need to step up to the plate and follow Labour policy and ban fur imports,” Hayman added.
Some, however, feel the ban on fur is hypocritical when consumers will still happily wear leather and eat meat, saying that farmed animals do not know what the end purpose is, and that the focus should not just be on fur but other animal-containing products such as silk.
“It is disingenuous to claim that leather is a by-product of the meat industry, a cow still had to die to provide the product. Silk cocoons are placed in boiling water to help unravel the thread with the silk worm inside,” Andrea Martin from the British Fur Trade Association recently told Marcus Jaye in an article published on The Industry last month.
This latest debate was triggered by a public petition which received almost 110,000 signatures by the time it was closed on 23 March.