1st Jul, 2022

Coventry MP presents bill seeking to ban fur trade in UK - as celebrity-backed petition handed into No 10

COVENTRY North West MP Taiwo Owatemi presented a bill to Parliament yesterday (Wednesday April 21) seeking to ban the purchase and sale of fur in the UK.

It comes after a petition by the Fur Free Britain campaign – signed by more than a million people, including Chris Packham, Leona Lewis, Laura Whitmore, Ricky Gervais, Dame Judi Dench, Dame Twiggy Lawson, Simon Pegg, Joanna Lumley and Brian May – was presented to Downing Street on Tuesday.

The Fur Trade Prohibition Bill would make the UK the first country in the world to ban the fur trade entirely, having been the first to abolish its domestic production in 2000.

It was presented in the House of Commons after Prime Minister’s Questions, co-sponsored by Shadow Cabinet ministers, Emily Thornberry, Luke Pollard and Ed Miliband.

Taiwo Owatemi said: “Britain led the world in banning fur farms, and two decades on, we now have the opportunity to lead the world again by abolishing the fur trade altogether.”

“More than 100 million animals around the world are still bred and killed for their fur each year, living their short, miserable lives in overcrowded cages. Millions more suffer slow, agonising deaths after being trapped in the wild.”

“As the Fur Free Britain petition shows, the British public do not want our country to have anything more to do with this cruel, barbaric and unnecessary trade, and I hope the government will listen to their voices and take up my Bill.”

In her speech to the House of Commons, Ms Owatemi will propose exemptions for fur worn for religious reasons, and for existing fur items circulating in the second-hand market.

It is the first occasion a Bill has been proposed to ban the fur trade since Britain’s departure from the European Union made the move a legal possibility. In 2020, the UK imported at least £28.8 million in furskins and fur products and exported £19.9 million.

The government is reported to be considering including a fur ban in a wider Animal Welfare Bill expected in the upcoming Queen’s Speech, but Labour’s Shadow International Trade Secretary, Emily Thornberry, says the legislation cannot wait.

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