On Sunday, The Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (EFRA) Committee recommended an outright ban on the sale of fur in the United Kingdom following an investigation 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, ended by electrocution or gassing, a practice that's not just barbaric but incredibly dated. As such, many leading brands are already fur-free, with major names, including Michael Kors, Gucci, Versace, and Jimmy Choo having pledged to completely phase out fur by the end of 2018.
The EFRA's newly-released report, "Fur Trade in the UK," warned that the UK's current fur labeling system is "not fit for purpose." It also said that local authorities and Trading Standards officers 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 organizations and the media, but by Trading Standards officers and retailers."
He continued: "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 labeling," 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 also suggested that "the Government should consider launching a consultation to ban the sale of real fur outright."
Animal rights group PETA hailed the 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."
In a statement, the government said that it "shares the British public's high regard for animal welfare," noting that "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."
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 in 2003.