Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais among stars calling for UK fur ban

Judi Dench, Joanna Lumley, Alesha Dixon and Ricky Gervais are among the stars who have written to British Prime Minister Theresa May urging her to introduce a UK ban on animal fur imports.

Fur farming is outlawed in the UK and EU and regulations ban imports of fur from domesticated cats and dogs and from commercial seal hunts.

However, Britain still imports and sells the fur of other species including foxes, rabbits, minks, coyotes, raccoon dogs and chinchillas.

Thirty-one stars signed the open letter to show their support for the #FurFreeBritain campaign run by a group of animal charities – Humane Society International UK, the RSPCA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), Four Paws, Animal Aid, Brian May’s Save Me Trust, Viva!, The Jane Goodall Institute UK, and Open Cages – and supported by social network Care2.

Other stars adding their names to the letter include Alison Steadman, Chris Packham, Douglas Booth, Fearne Cotton, Gabrielle Aplin, Martin Clunes, Paloma Faith, Simon Pegg and Sue Perkins.

Ricky Gervais has signed the open letter (Ian West/PA)

The letter says: “Mrs May, the animal fur arriving in British ports is from animals who have suffered a lifetime in tiny barren cages, often driven insane by neglect.

“It is from animals who have been brutally electrocuted or gassed, and sometimes even skinned alive. It is from animals caught and left for days in barbaric leg-hold traps.

“They endure all of this to then have their fur processed into a frivolous trim on a hat, coat, shoe or handbag.

“We should not trade on their suffering.”

The celebrity support comes as a UK Government and Parliament petition approaches its March 23 deadline and nears the target of 100,000 signatures required to trigger a Parliamentary debate on the UK fur trade.

A Fur Free Britain campaign spokesman said: “We are delighted that so many of the UK’s best-loved celebrities have spoken out in favour of a Fur Free Britain.

“Their words echo the calls from the vast majority of the British public who want to see an end to animal fur being imported on to our shores.

“The UK banned fur farming almost two decades ago because of animal suffering, but we continue to import that same cruelty from other countries such as Canada, China, Poland, and the US, where the appalling suffering continues.

“We urge Theresa May and her government to put an end to this double standard.”

The #FurFreeBritain campaign is calling on the Government to make the UK a fur-free zone by extending the existing bans on imports of cat, dog, and seal fur to all fur-bearing species.

As a member of the European Single Market, under rules relating to the free movement of goods, the UK is not currently at liberty to ban imports of animal fur, which is produced in several European countries.

But Brexit gives the Government the freedom to close its borders fully to the trade.

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