After a report called out retailers for inadvertently mislabelling real fur as fake, a cross-party group of MPs has suggested a ban on selling real fur altogether.
In their study ‘Fur Trade in the UK’, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (EFRA) found that retailers such as TK Maxx, Amazon, Boots, Boohoo and Tesco were selling real fur products as fake. Some retailers, like Kurt Geiger and Etsy, were doing the same despite advertising no-fur policies.
“Reports of real fur being sold as fake fur shows that retailers are flouting their responsibility to consumers,” Neil Parish MP, chair of the committee, said. “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.”
Fur farming was banned in the UK back in 2000, but companies can still legally sell some furs that are imported, such as rabbit, chinchilla and fox fur. In fact, in the last year, the UK imported almost £75million of animal fur, according to the most recent trade statistics from HMRC, with the majority of these animals factory-farmed in battery cage systems in countries such as China, Poland and Finland, much of which is the fur that is being sold as ‘fake’.
The EFRA committee told the BBC that ‘many consumers have an ethical reason for not buying garments containing real fur.’ They said: “Our inquiry has highlighted that the current labelling system is confusing, not fit for purpose and with a high degree of non-compliance. It is also not being enforced.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested that real fur sales should be entirely banned in the UK. He said: “I think fur products are unnecessary and there is often a great deal of cruelty involved in the production of fur pelts. And the synthetic alternatives are much better.”
In response to this issue, the government has assured the committee that Brexit will provide an opportunity for the UK to introduce further restrictions on the fur trade.
The government statement said: “Brexit gives us the opportunity to go further. Meanwhile, we will closely consider the committee’s report and respond in due course.”