I am grateful to the many constituents who have contacted me recently about the Petitions Committee debate held on 4 June, “That this House has considered e-petition 200888 relating to the sale of animal fur in the UK”.
I support the highest standards of animal welfare so I am pleased that the importation of fur products is tightly regulated. It is illegal to import furs derived from cats or dogs, or products made from them; in addition the fur and skin of endangered animals or fish cannot be imported without a valid permit.
Meanwhile, under European legislation it is prohibited to import furs or fur products from 13 wild animal species originating in countries where they are caught in the wild by leg-hold traps, or trapping methods that do not meet international standards of humane trapping. Strict rules are also in place in the European Union to ensure that animals kept for fur production are kept, trapped and slaughtered humanely.
In addition, the Government has pressed for higher animal welfare standards worldwide to phase out cruel and inhumane fur farming and trapping practices in other parts of the world, which are banned here.
Once the UK has withdrawn from the EU, the Government plans to retain the current regulations banning the import of cat and dog fur and products, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts. Any further restrictions on importing fur and fur products after we leave the EU should be based on the protection of animal welfare and I understand that the Government is considering the case for further steps.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee is currently examining the UK fur trade and you can read more about it here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environment-food-and-rural-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/fur-trade-in-the-uk-17-19/