It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Rees.
Historically, the UK was the foremost leader when it came to animal welfare—the first island of nations in the world to implement legislation protecting animal rights. Fur farming has rightly been banned in the UK since 2003, yet we continue to import tens of millions of pounds of animal fur each year. If it is too cruel an industry to have on our shores, how can we justify importing fur that is farmed using the same inhumane methods that are illegal in the UK? As Christian Wakeford said, all we have managed to do is outsource our animal cruelty overseas.
The slaughter methods used on fur farms are horrendously cruel. Before an animal reaches its first birthday, it will be slaughtered using one of the following methods: by electrocution, with probes inserted into the animal’s mouth; by gassing, slowly starving the animal of oxygen; or by brutally beating the animal to death. Alternatively, many animals have their necks broken or are poisoned with noxious chemicals that result in organ failure. In some particularly horrific cases, animals may even be skinned alive. How can we really, truly call ourselves a progressive and caring society when we allow such actions to take place, purely for commercial purposes?
The fur trade not only has a devastating impact on innocent animals but also creates a risk to human welfare from zoonotic diseases. Last year, we witnessed a devastating cull of mink in Europe because of large outbreaks of covid-19. Dangerous viruses thrive when animals are kept in filthy, crowded conditions. By allowing the sale of fur in Britain, we are inadvertently supporting a reservoir of deadly viruses. The UK public overwhelmingly reject these barbaric and entirely outdated practices. One YouGov poll shows that 72% of our population want to see a ban on the importation and sale of fur.