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The UK is considering an outright ban on fur sales post-Brexit

The move to completely ban the controversial material comes 20 years after the UK became the first country in the EU to prohibit fur farming.

The time has finally come. Over the past few years, almost every top designer from Chanel to Prada has shed animal fur from their collections. Sugaring the pill, the state of California has outright banned it, Queen Elizabeth II has renounced it, and in February, PETA retired its decades-long campaign against the use of fur in fashion, focusing its activism elsewhere.

Now, in a move that’s sure to contribute to the material’s eagerly anticipated demise, former CEO of the British Fur Trade Association Mike Moser has declared the industry ‘anachronistic, barbaric, and unnecessary.’

Upon realising he was defending the indefensible, Moser came to understand that fur simply cannot be produced humanely – not to mention its hefty environmental price tag which, when compared to other textiles, takes a significant toll in terms of CO2 emissions – and resigned from his position to instead use his knowledge and experience to publicly support the #FurFreeBritain campaign for a UK-wide fur sales ban.

‘The Zeitgeist today is that caging and killing animals for an unnecessary fashion product, that has only vanity value, is unacceptable,’ he told Humane Society International (HSI) in an interview last month. ‘The UK banned fur farming two decades ago but for as long as we import and sell the fur from overseas, we’re still supporting fur farming and trapping by proxy which is both morally and politically ambiguous.’

What Moser refers to, is the country’s decision to ban fur farming in 2000, a positive change of course, but one that didn’t prevent the import and sale of fur from animals farmed overseas. Unfortunately, since the law came into effect all those years ago, a whopping £800m of fur has still been imported into the UK and in 2018 alone, a quantity equivalent to some 2-3 million animals (as estimated by HSI) passed easily through the border.

It’s not all bad news, however, with 93% of the British population claiming to have never worn fur, or that they no longer wear it, and the majority (72%) are in favour of an official sales ban as revealed by a YouGov opinion poll in March.

The UK Fur Debate: 'Plainly, fur is immoral, cruel and barbaric'

Following the survey (and obviously triggered by Moser’s announcement) a petition urging the government to introduce unilateral legislation banning the import and sale of real fur products was quickly set in motion, and the UK government is currently on course to adhere post-Brexit.

According to plans being considered by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), the country would have the power to put the outright ban into effect after leaving the single market.

‘Once our future relationship with the EU has been established there will be an opportunity for the government to consider further steps it could take in relation to fur sales,’ a spokesperson for Defra told The Guardian. ‘We have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, and that is both a source of pride and a clear reflection of UK attitudes towards animals.’

MPs push for UK ban of fur imports during landmark debate

Essentially, while it won’t be possible to establish restrictions relating to the fur trade during the Brexit transition period (which ends on December 31), whatever barriers might have prevented the government from raising standards on ‘imports at the point of entry’ will dissipate once the UK formally leaves the EU.

By helping to stop animal-fur hawkers in their tracks, the ministers proposing this ban deserve high praise and it may well inspire the rest of the world to follow suit.

Yes, there will continue to exist concerns about the environmental impact of faux-alternatives with critics of the ban calling the fur trade a ‘solution’ to fast fashion, but the primary reason behind boycotting real fur remains animal welfare, and rightly so. Plus, thanks to the plethora of designers and retailers now using revolutionary vegan fabrics that are not only trendy and practical but also animal and eco-friendly, there really isn’t an excuse to be making the faux pas of wearing real fur anymore. So, why don’t we welcome the next step with open arms.