Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has teamed up with around half a million people to shame the Conservative government. A large number of Conservative MPs also joined in the fray over the refusal of Theresa May’s government to ban the fur trade in Britain.
Ban the fur trade
A coalition against Britain’s fur trade delivered a petition with over 400,000 signatures to Downing Street in March. And a petition on parliament’s website calling for a ban on the fur trade reached over 100,000 signatures. So a debate on the issue happened in parliament on 4 June, introduced by Labour’s Daniel Zeichner.
Zeichner argued that a ban on fur is necessary, because as the petition explains:
Fur farming was banned in England and Wales in 2000, followed by Scotland in 2002. However fur products can still be legally imported from other countries and sold here in the UK. Much of this fur comes from countries that have very weak or no animal welfare laws at all.
Numerous MPs supported Zeichner’s argument that it is “wrong for our country to continue to support such an industry, whether it lies inside or beyond our borders”. The government, however, disagrees. In response to the petition, it published a statement that said:
While some fur products may never be legally imported into the UK the Government’s view is that national bans are less effective than working at an international level on animal welfare standards.
Labour’s John McDonnell also joined campaigners outside parliament on the day of the debate.
This morning I joined campaigners calling for a ban on imports of fur to prevent the large scale, brutal treatment of animals in the fur trade across the world. Sue Hayman MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State, is urging the Government to Support a ban. #FurFreeBritain pic.twitter.com/GSI0bVQuza
— John McDonnell MP (@johnmcdonnellMP) June 4, 2018
Furthermore, as McDonnell’s tweet explains, Labour’s shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman is calling on the Conservative government to take action on the issue. She told Sky News:
The Conservatives, instead of being morally indefensible and refusing to do so, need to step up to the plate and follow Labour policy and ban fur imports.
But Labour isn’t alone. Many Conservative MPs argued for a ban in parliament, as did MPs from other opposition parties. The Conservative Animal Welfare Association also wants a ban. It says more than 130 million animals die each year for their fur. The industry keeps many animals in battery-like conditions. Some spend hours or days in traps. And all of them eventually face either being gassed, electrocuted, shot or “crushed to death” so people can wear their fur.
On Monday the UK government will debate in parliament banning the sale of fur in the UK. At Stella McCartney, we don't believe any animal should die for fashion.
— Stella McCartney (@StellaMcCartney) June 1, 2018
Complicit in cruelty
Conservative agriculture minister George Eustice said:
in 2017, we imported £63 million-worth of fur and articles with fur, and exported £33 million-worth.
But despite the clear will of MPs, including his party’s own, Eustice didn’t promise to end Britain’s role in this cruel trade. Even though MPs pointed out that a YouGov poll in February shows overwhelming support from the public too. 69% of those surveyed support a ban.
Conservative environment secretary Michael Gove has made a big effort to convince people that his party can be trusted to set a “gold standard” in animal welfare policy. But as Zeichner explained, on this issue the government is getting in the way of Britain adopting such standards. The Labour MP said:
This House has the votes. What it needs is a Government willing to introduce a ban. That is what the public expect.
It’s time for the government to listen to the public and their representatives in parliament, and ban the despicable fur trade. After all, it’s the public that the government should supposedly be serving.
– Take action with the Humane Society International.
– Email Theresa May to share your thoughts about her government’s refusal to ban the fur trade.