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Total ban on dog and cat fur

ON NEW Year’s day a total ban on trade in dog and cat fur became law in the European Union. Conservative MEP Struan Stevenson has campaigned for the ban for nine years, supported by a number of celebrities as well as dog and cat lovers.

Among the celebrities supporting Mr Stevenson were Paul McCartney and Rick Wakeman, who posed on the Heather Mills website holding a rug made from Golden Retriever skins to show that the vile trade was being conducted legally at that time. Heather Mills had on her website a petition which had more than 250,000 signatures. The Scottish MEP Mr Stevenson also got the backing of many Hollywood celebrities after Dennis Erdman, director of US show Sex And The City, persuaded Hollywood celebrities to write to the European Commission supporting a ban.

The trade in dog and cat fur was brought to the attention of the public by the International Humane Society, who first exposed the trade ten years ago, when they revealed evidence of a thriving cat and dog fur market in many European countries including France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium and Denmark. Mr Stevenson has welcomed the ban as he hopes it will save thousands of animals who would be slaughtered across Asia for their skins. The main trader in animal skins destined for Europe is China.

‘The ban comes just in time as I understand there is something of a revival in fur in the fashion world. The onus is now on retailers and others to ensure that such demand doesn't encourage unscrupulous fur dealers to search for ways to break the law. We all need to remain vigilant if we see suspect fur in this country and ask questions as to its origin,’ said Mr Stevenson, adding that, ‘It is now up to importers and retailers to stay vigilant against a vile trade in which cats and dogs are rounded up and often skinned alive.’

The resulting law will prohibit all EU imports, or any trade in dog or cat fur in all twenty seven EU countries. Italy, Denmark, France, Belgium and Greece have already banned the import and use of dog and cat skins. China has a thriving trade with Russia for these skins. Mr Stevenson said: ‘I urge the Chinese authorities to ban this trade and in particular to close down the export of cat and dog skins to Russia.’

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