Thank you, Ms Rees. I am grateful to be able to speak in this important debate, although I am frustrated that we need it in the first place.
In April, I introduced a Bill to the House that called for the fur trade to be banned once and for all in Britain. I called on colleagues across the House to step up and make history, making the UK the first country in the world to prohibit the sale of fur in full. I am therefore extremely disappointed that this cruel practice continues to be an issue in the United Kingdom. Twenty-two years ago, my hon. Friend Maria Eagle introduced a Bill to ban fur farming. She said it was time to
“put an end to a cruel barbaric practice”.—[Official Report,
That Bill was taken up by the last Labour Government and a year later it became law, making Britain the first country in the world to ban fur farming outright.
Despite that decision, the products of fur farming have continued for the past 20 years to be imported into our country and sold in our shops. We do, however, have the option of eliminating that double standard and once again making history by becoming the first country in the world to ban the importation and sale of fur. The Government have shown some willingness and stated that they want to drive up animal welfare standards in the United Kingdom. Banning the fur trade in its entirety, including fur imports, would be a bold step toward reaching these aims.
We need actions, not just warm words from the Government. In banning the fur trade, we will have the overwhelming support of the animal-loving British public. Many Members have spoken about the YouGov poll commissioned by the Humane Society International, which showed that 72% of the British public support a complete ban and that only 3% of people even wear animal fur. This year alone, over 60 of my constituents have reached out and asked me to take action against ongoing fur sales. I am sure every Member participating in the debate has received similar correspondence. My constituents have made it clear that they have had enough of this cruel and often violent industry. Fur stoles in the UK are often taken from animals that are killed by electrocution after having spent their short, unhappy lives inside crowded cages.