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Israel, the first country to ban the sale of most fur clothing

The crazy bad fur trade

The government of Israel has banned the sale of fur in the fashion industry. In doing so, they are the first country to outlaw fur clothing I am told although there is a weakness in their new policy which is that there is an exemption in allowing sales to ultraorthodox Jewish men who wear fur hats. Another exemption is used for educational purposes. Married, ultraorthodox Jewish men will still be able to buy shtreimels.

The crazy bad fur trade

The crazy bad fur trade. Image: MikeB

In the European Union trading in cat and dog fur was banned as at 31 December 2008. Although, it is legal to import and sell fur from a range of species such as chinchilla, raccoon dog, coyote, mink, rabbit and fox. In the UK fur farming was banned in 2000. As a result of a petition gathering over 100,000 signatures, the UK Parliament debated the ban on sale of animal fur in the UK. I wrote at the time that the UK government’s response to the petition was that they prefer to work internationally rather than imposing a ban unilaterally within the UK. I get that but they could ban the sale of fur in the UK while also exploring options to impose a universal ban internationally.

I am being far too idealistic and optimistic. It simply won’t happen. But China is the biggest exporter of animal fur and in that country many millions of cats and dogs are brutally slaughtered for their pelts. It is a highly objectionable trade and the international community does pretty well nothing about it except in this instance Israel have taken steps unilaterally to attempt to improve animal welfare in distant parts of the world.

In 2019 California became the first American state to enact law which bans the sale of the products. It takes effect in 2023. The Humane Society International estimates that about 100 million animals are bred and slaughtered annually to supply the fur trade. When I dictated that sentence, I shook my head because it absolutely staggers me that people can still do this in 2021.

The problem, the real problem, is that it all happens a long way away in China (and other countries including the USA and Switzerland) and nobody sees the horrible slaughter unless you look it up on the Internet and study the history of this ridiculously objectionable trade. As Paul McCartney said, on a different topic but a similar one, if abattoirs had glass walls nobody would eat meat any more. If everybody went to China and watched them killed cats and dogs for their pelts, nobody would buy fur clothing any more.

Israel has quite a good history of animal rights protection and animal welfare support. They are one of the few countries in that part of the world which has banned the declawing of cats in specific legislation. In the UK declawing is banned through an umbrella law which the Animal Welfare Act 2006.


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