Britain should “make history” by becoming the first country in the world to ban the importation and sale of fur, a Labour MP has suggested.
Taiwo Owatemi said the UK’s exit from the EU presented the opportunity to eliminate the “double standard” of permitting imports while prohibiting the “cruelty of fur farming”.
The move she said would “have the overwhelming support of the animal-loving British public”.
The MP for Coventry North West urged the Government to press ahead with the law change at the “earliest opportunity before it can become a bargaining chip” in any trade negotiation.
Britain, she said, was the first country in the world to ban the cruelty of fur farming, adding: “But despite that decision the products of that same cruelty have continued for the last 20 years to be imported into our country from overseas and put on sale in our shops.
“That double standard has continued, simply, because as a member of the EU decisions on what imports to permit were not ours to take.
“But now as an independent trading nation we have the opportunity to eliminate that double standard and once again to make history by becoming the first country in the world to ban the importation and sale of fur.”
The Fur Free Britain campaign she said earlier this week delivered its petition to Downing Street with more than one million signatures in support.
She added: “Last year, the value of those imports was £29 million, the majority of that imported fur is turned into clothing, hats and accessories by the fashion industry here in Britain either to be sold in our shops or exported overseas with an export trade worth £20 million last year.
“Under my proposed Bill, everything I have just mentioned will be banned in the UK, the import and export of fur and fur products and the sale of new fur products in our shops.”
Ms Owatemi said she agreed that new legislation “should not criminalise the wearing of existing fur products in the UK or their sale in the second-hand market”.
She also spoke in favour of an exemption for fur hats and other items traditionally worn for religious reasons, adding: “A reasonable ban on this trade would be able to distinguish between fur worn as a mark of faith and fur worn as a fashion accessory.”
It was, she added, “high time” for the Queen’s guards to “transition to synthetic alternatives” for their hats.
She backed support and compensation for “any businesses and workers affected” adding “but we should not exaggerate those economic effects”.
The Fur Trade (Prohibition) Bill was listed for a second reading tomorrow, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.