Fur Trade: October 2021

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about the fur trade.

This country has a strong animal welfare record, but my Ministerial colleagues and I know that more can be done. I am encouraged that as an independent nation we can now re-examine some of our animal welfare laws, including the import of fur for use in fashion products.

Fur farming has been banned in England and Wales since 2000 and since 2002 in Scotland and Northern Ireland. As well as this, there are already restrictions on some skin and fur products which may never be legally imported into the UK. These include fur and products from cats and dogs, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts. The UK has established controls on fur from endangered species protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and does not allow imports of fur from wild animals caught using methods which are non-compliant with international humane trapping standards.

I appreciate that there is considerable support for banning all imports of fur products. We have some of the highest welfare standards in the world, which is both a source of pride and a clear reflection of UK attitudes towards animals. However, while there are existing import restrictions it is still possible to import other fur from abroad. I therefore welcome the UK Government’s decision to seek views on animal welfare from the public and businesses through a joint call for evidence alongside the Scottish and Welsh Governments. The call for evidence, which received around 30,000 responses, explored the social and economic impacts associated with the fur trade, both at home and abroad. The evidence received will be vital in shaping future government policy in this area, and will allow a better understanding of the trade both at home and abroad. I look forward to reading the results in due course.

I know that Ministers continue to put animal welfare at the heart of every decision made in this area. On May 12th an action plan was published which includes plans to recognise animal sentience in this Parliamentary session. Furthermore the Government is establishing an expert committee to guide future legislation to ensure that animal sentience is considered in future legislating and policy decisions. The action plan also commits the Government to an ongoing review of further action in the area of fur imports and I look forward to seeing the results of this review in legislation and policy announcements over the course of the rest of the Parliament.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Sincerely,

Richard Fuller