An outright ban on the sale of fur should be considered, MPs have told the government.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Committee made the recommendation today following an inquiry into numerous cases of real fur being sold as fake by big-name retailers.
Because of these slip-ups, UK consumers have unwittingly been contributing to animal cruelty. For animals, fur farms mean a life spent in cramped cages, then ended by electrocution or gassing. In 2018, it's a practice that's not just barbaric but incredibly dated – many leading brands are already fur-free, and Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo have pledged to phase out fur by the end of the year.
Efra warned today in its Fur Trade in the UK report that our current fur labelling system is "not fit for purpose". It also said that local authorities and Trading Standards have been "poor" at enforcing regulations relating to the sale of real fur.
The Committee's chairman Neil Parish said in a statement: "Reports of real fur being sold as fake fur shows that retailers are flouting their responsibility to consumers. The mis-selling of real fur should not be discovered by campaign organisations and the media, but by Trading Standards officers and retailers.
"Retailers of all sizes are complacent about the issue of fake faux fur. It is illegal to give misleading information and Trading Standards have been poor at identifying and acting against those who are doing so. The Government must ensure that Local Authorities are properly resourced, and local authorities should ensure that Trading Standards are properly trained."
Parish also said that "Brexit provides an opportunity to step up our game when it comes to labelling," as the UK is currently bound by EU requirements which "are not good enough to allow consumers to understand the origin and contents of their clothing".
He added: "Finally, the Government should consider launching a consultation to ban the sale of real fur outright."
Animal rights group PETA hailed Efra's recommendations as "progress" and echoed the committee's call for a public consultation into an outright ban.
The group added: "While this news moves us closer to making the UK a fur-free-zone, we must continue to speak out against the cruel fur industry."
The government said in a statement: "The government shares the British public's high regard for animal welfare, and fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000. Trade in fur from domestic cats, dogs or commercial seal hunts are also banned, but while the UK is a member of the EU it is not possible to introduce additional restrictions on the fur trade.
"Brexit gives us the opportunity to go further. Meanwhile, we will closely consider the committee's report and respond in due course."
Earlier this year Norway became the 14th European country to phase out fur farming. The UK made the practice illegal in 2000 and the last fur farms on British soil were closed down in 2003.