Animals - The Fur Trade (May 2024)

Thank you for contacting me about the fur trade.


My ministerial colleagues and I are committed to upholding our high standards in animal welfare. The Government’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare sets out Ministers' vision to introduce a range of world-leading reforms to improve the welfare and conservation of animals at home and abroad.


I appreciate that there is considerable support for banning all imports of fur products.  Fur farming has been banned in the UK for 20 years and legislation prohibits the keeping and breeding of animals solely or primarily for slaughter for the value of their fur. There are also strict restrictions on some skin and fur products that may never be legally imported into the UK. Those include fur and fur products from cats and dogs, whose import, export and placing on the market is prohibited.


While fur cannot be farmed in the UK, it is still possible to import and sell other types of fur from abroad. In 2021, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published a call for evidence on the fur trade in Great Britain, which asked for views on animal welfare and on the social and economic impacts associated with the trade. Around 30,000 responses were received from businesses, representative bodies and individuals, demonstrating the strong public interest in this area.


I know that officials from Defra have been analysing the responses received and have also engaged directly with stakeholders. I look forward to reading more information about this in due course. In addition, Defra continues to build its evidence base on the fur sector, which will be used to inform any future action on the fur trade.


Finally, the Animal Welfare Committee has been considering the issue of responsible sourcing in the fur industry, including the animal welfare standards and safeguards that apply to fur imported into this country. I will continue to follow this issue closely.


Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.


Yours sincerely,


Sally-Ann Hart