Fur trade in the UK Contents
In recent years, there have been high-profile cases of real fur being sold as fake fur by major high-street and online retailers. This “fake faux fur” was made from a variety of animals including rabbit, fox and chinchilla. We launched our inquiry in February 2018 in the light of investigations by Humane Society International UK, Sky News and BBC London News.
Our Report examined how the industry can be made more transparent for consumers. We also examined whether, longer-term, Brexit could provide an opportunity for the UK Government to change legislation around the import of fur.
The Committee’s key recommendations and conclusions are:
- Consumers should be able to have confidence in the product they are purchasing. All retailers, including online sellers and marketplace sellers, have a responsibility to ensure that they are selling items as described. We recognise that it is more difficult for online market sellers to examine all the products they sell, but that does not remove the responsibility they have to ensure that the products they sell on their site are correctly described. All retailers must comply with the law and those named in the Report have not done enough to track the risk of selling real fur accidentally. This is not something that should have been discovered by campaign organisations and the media.
- The retail industry must not be complacent about the issue of fake faux fur. We welcome the work that has been done so far to improve the supply chain and to improve communications with online sellers, and call on the retail industry to ensure that this continues.
- It is illegal to give misleading information about the characteristics of goods. We are disappointed that there has been a lack of enforcement by Trading Standards officers in local authorities against those retailers responsible. The Government must ensure that local authorities are properly resourced to deliver these services.
- We call on local authorities to ensure that Trading Standards officers enforce the law on selling fake faux fur. Where required, we call on local authorities to ensure that Trading Standards officers receive training on this issue and to conduct proactive investigations into the mis-sale of real fur as fake fur.
- Consumers have a right to know what they are buying. The current EU labelling regime lacks clarity and is confusing for retailers and consumers alike. The “animal origin” label is unclear, and can refer to a number of animal products in a garment; it does not specifically identify when a product contains real animal fur. The labelling of clothes has to be consistent, transparent and customer-friendly.
- We welcome the Government’s acknowledgment that the current EU labelling regime is confusing and needs amending. The Government’s ability to amend the labelling regime after Brexit will depend on the nature of the future EU-UK trading relationship.
- We recommend the introduction of a new mandatory labelling regime that identifies fur and other animal products accurately. The fur label should show the species of fur, the country of origin and method of production. We call on the Government to amend the labelling regime for products containing fur post-Brexit.
- We recommend that the Government holds a public consultation to consider whether to ban fur. In looking at whether to ban the sale and import of fur post-Brexit, the Government will have to balance the needs of animal welfare against consumer choice.