Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury
Thank you for your email regarding your opposition to the cruel and unnecessary fur trade, and your support for a ban on the sale of animal fur in the UK.
I fully agree with everything you say, and I was pleased to note that in a recent YouGov survey, it was found that almost three quarters of the British public stand with both of us in our opposition to the fur trade, and our desire to see fur imports banned.
As an animal lover, I am proud to belong to a party with a proven track record of tackling cruelty to animals, from the 2004 Hunting Act to the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, and one of the proudest moments in that history was making the UK the first country in the world to ban the domestic production of fur twenty years ago.
In Labour’s Animal Welfare manifesto, published before the 2019 election, we pledged to go one step further and become the first country in the world to ban the import of fur.
In my role as Shadow International Trade Secretary, I joined my colleagues Luke Pollard and Ed Miliband earlier this year to demand urgent action from the government in this area. You can read our joint letter to International Trade Secretary Liz Truss by clicking this link: https://www.facebook.com/EmilyThornberryLabour/posts/4013523008697716
In April, we co-sponsored our Labour colleague Taiwo Owatemi’s Ten Minute Rule Bill, the Fur Trade (Prohibition) Bill, which demanded that this cruel trade be put to an end before it can be used as a bargaining chip in future trade negotiations.
As a member of the Shadow Cabinet, I am limited in my ability to sign EDMs. However, I am very pleased to see that EDM 193 has received wide cross-party support.
Like you, I was also pleased that a Westminster Hall debate on Real Fur Sales was granted on 14th September. As Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade, I am only able to participate in debates that relate to my trade brief – not a debate like this one directed at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Nevertheless, I was glad to hear arguments being made from MPs across the House in favour of outlawing real fur sales. As Labour MP Olivia Blake said: “Taiwo Owatemi was right in her recent speech in the House that our moral objection to the fur trade should not be bargained away in any future trade deals. There really is no time to lose.”
Indeed, just last month, the Icelandic government claimed that a UK ban on fur imports would be in breach of the UK’s newly signed free trade agreement with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, clearly demonstrating why I and others have been right to raise these warnings, and urge the government to get on with the implementation of a ban.
For now, the government says we must wait for the results of its ‘Call for Evidence’ on the UK fur trade, which closed at the end of June, and see what legislation – if any – they are willing to bring forward in response to that process once they have considered the 30,000 responses which it received. Let us hope that when they finally do act, they do so quickly.
Thank you again for contacting me about this vital issue, and please be assured that it will remain central to the work I am doing in Parliament. If you have any further points you would like to raise about this matter or any other, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade