News Shorts.

Use Brexit to end fur imports, celebrities including Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais and Andy Murray urge Theresa May

‘Britain’s responsibility to animals does not end at our borders’

Dame Judi Dench, Paloma Faith and Andy Murray are among more than 30 celebrities urging Theresa May to introduce a UK ban on animal fur imports after Brexit.

Fur farming has been illegal in the UK since 2000, but fur from animals such as foxes, rabbits and minks continues to be imported.

According to Humane Society International (HSI), Britain has imported over £650m-worth of fur since the ban on farming.

A letter delivered to the Prime Minister on Monday and signed by 31 high-profile British figures argues “this makes no sense”.

“If fur is too cruel to produce in this country, it’s too cruel to sell in this country.

“We believe that Britain’s responsibility to animals does not end at our borders, but extends globally, to those animals killed to be traded into our country.”

A total ban on imports of animal fur is impossible as long as the UK is a member of the European Single Market, as fur products are still produced in several European countries.

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But HSI hopes that Brexit will provide the chance for the government to “close our borders fully to this cruel and archaic trade”.

According to HSI, more than 100 million animals die each year for the fur trade, many of them reared in tiny barren cages, electrocuted, gassed or even skinned alive.

Monday’s letter was written to support the #FurFreeBritain campaign, which calls on the government to extend a current ban on imports of dog and cat fur to all species and is backed by animal welfare charities including HSI, PETA, the RSPCA and Animal Aid.

Signatories include Bill Bailey, Fearne Cotton, Joanna Lumley, Ricky Gervais and Simon Amstell.

An inquiry into the fur trade was launched last week by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which will examine “how the industry can be made more transparent” and look at post-Brexit possibilities for altering legislation around the import of fur.

The inquiry follows revelations last year that a number of major retailers including Amazon, TK Maxx, Boohoo and Groupon were selling products containing animal fur, despite advertising them as synthetic.

Norway pledges to shut down all fox and mink fur farms by 2025

Animal rights groups ‘delighted’ by news but warn more must be done to end trade

Norway’s government has pledged to shut all fur farms by 2025, a move welcomed by animal rights charities.

The country is the 14th European nation to phase out fur farming, according to Humane Society International (HSI), which campaigns against the fur trade.

Norway’s Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg made the pledge to shut down all fox and mink farms as part of a deal with the anti-fur Liberal Party, which is now set to join her two-party minority government.

Guri Wormdahl, of the Norwegian Fur Breeders Association, said the organisation was “shocked [and] shaken to the core” by the news.

There are nearly 250 fox and mink farms in Norway, according to the organisation’s website, and mink production is currently increasing, with several new farms under construction. The country currently produces around one million pelts a year.

The number of farms used to be far higher, however. In 1939, Norway was the world’s biggest producer of fox fur and was home to almost 20,000 farms, according to a government report.

In 2013, the Nordic country produced just 3 per cent of the world’s fox furs and only 1 per cent of global mink output, with both markets now dominated by China.

“It’s not a very lucrative business in Norway,” said Sveinung Fjose, of Menon Business Economics and an expert on fur farms. “It wouldn’t harm the Norwegian economy severely” to close it down.

Animal welfare organisations were delighted at the news.

“We are thrilled to see such an unequivocal pledge from the Norwegian government to ban all fur farming,” said Ruud Tombrock, executive director of Humane Society International’s Europe branch.

“We also hope that Norway’s fur farmers will decide to dismantle their businesses before the phase out deadline. Factory farming wild animals for fur in appallingly deprived conditions is unconscionably cruel, so to see a ban on this dreadful trade in a Scandinavian country is truly historic.”

Campaigning charity Animal Defenders International (ADI) also welcomed the news. The group has been at the forefront of the movement to end the international fur trade, which it claims causes the death of more than 110 million animals a year.

In September last year, ADI activists released footage filmed on a Polish fur farm showing two Arctic fox cubs dragged from their cages and electrocuted to death.

The foxes seen on the farm allegedly had bent feet and overgrown claws, which ADI claimed was the result of the animals spending their entire lives standing on floors made of wire mesh.

“Wherever this cruel trade exists, there is suffering and death,” ADI said in response to the news from Norway.

The group was “delighted” at the announcement, but insisted that the closure of fur farms does not mean the demise of the fur industry.

Despite banning fur farming in 2000, the UK continues to export and import large amounts of fur, according to ADI.

In addition, an investigation by HSI last year allegedly found that real cat fur labelled as fake had been found in a pair of shoes sold in UK high street store Missguided.

“We have been finding an increasing amount of fur either mislabelled or not labelled at all. This is misleading ethical consumers, who assume it is fake because it’s cheap. Consumers don’t know what they are buying,” said Claire Bass, director of HSI UK.

“Ultimately, banning the import or sale of fur is the final nail in the coffin for this industry,” Wendy Higgins, spokesperson for HSI, told The Independent.

“It’s also critical that we continue working with retailers and designers to take fur out of fashion from the top down.”

Ms Higgins welcomed the announcement last year by fashion label Gucci that the brand would soon become “fur-free” – a pledge also made by Michael Kors – but said more needed to be done.

“There are still far too many celebrities wearing fur. Whether it’s Katie Price in her raccoon dog fur pom-pom hat or Kim Kardashian in a full length fur coat, it glamorises a grim industry and needs to stop.”

 

Swedish zoo admits killing nine healthy lion cubs because they became ‘surplus’ animals

Only two of 13 cubs born to different litters at animal park have survived past five years

A zoo in Sweden has said it euthanised healthy lion cubs because it could no longer keep them.

Boras Djurpark, an animal park around 25 miles from Gothenberg, admitted it had put down nine healthy lion cubs since 2012.

Bo Kjellson, chief executive of the park, said healthy animals sometimes had to be euthanised if they were rejected by their pride, or cannot be rehomed elsewhere.

“I think they were killed after two years,” Mr Kjellson told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

“At that time we had tried to sell or relocate them to other zoos for a long time but unfortunately there were no zoos that could receive them, and when the aggressions became too big in the group we had to remove some animals. And then it had to be them.

“It’s no secret in any way and we do not try to hide that were working this way. So it’s unfortunately a natural path for groups of lions.”

Mr Kjellson said the zoo was unsure of what would happen to the other lions.

“That we will see in the future. Currently, the group works well, but some of them may become surplus animals, and then we will try to place them elsewhere.

“It could be so that we have to put them to death.”

Only two of the 13 cubs, born to three separate litters, have survived the past five years.

Two lions died of natural causes and the remaining cubs were put down.

Helena Pederson, a researcher in animal studies at Gothenburg University, told SVT the euthanisation of animals in zoos raised the question of whether such institutions should be open.

“It is clear that there is a contrast to the public’s perception of what a zoo is,” she said.

“To kill animals as part of the organisation, I think that upsets quite a few.

“I think we need to contemplate on why it’s important for us to have zoos and if it’s worth the price the animals pay for it.”

 

London’s historic Old Spitalfields market bans the sale of fur from 2018

‘Real fur is extremely cruel, environmentally-unfriendly and should be confined to the history books’

The historic Old Spitalfields Market in London has announced traders will no longer be able to sell fur from the beginning of theyear.

“Following a review carried out by the Market, we have taken the decision to request stall holders do not offer animal fur for sale from the beginning of 2018,” a statement posted on the market’s Facebook page reads.

“The exact wording and details are still being worked out but we thought we’d share this now.”

The news is being hailed as progress by animal rights activists.

Humane Society International UK (HSI) director Claire Bass said: “HSI is delighted that Old Spitalfields Market has made the compassionate decision to request that its stallholders no longer sell animal fur.

“Real fur is extremely cruel, environmentally-unfriendly and should be confined to the history books.”

Earlier this year, fashion giant Gucci announced it would stop using fur from 2018.

Although fur farming was banned in the UK in 2000, Britain has imported at least £650m worth of fur since then, according to HSI.

The majority of the fur comes from farms overseas, including from China and eastern Europe.

Earlier this year, an investigation by the Humane Society International and Sky News revealed many trusted retailers, including Missguided and House of Fraser, had been inadvertently selling real animal fur instead of fake fur.

Some of the items being labelled as faux fur were actually found to contain cat fur.

 

 

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