Ahead of Fur Free Friday, an international day of action on 23 November, animal rights group Animal Defenders International (ADI) has teamed up with a number of celebrities to urge brands and consumers to ban the use and purchase of fur in garments.

Actors including Emily Deschanel, Gemma Atkinson, and Alexandra Paul are the latest to join the campaign to speak out against what they say is the "cruel" suffering of animals killed for the fur trade.

While the UK banned fur farming 18 years ago, ADI says it remains a major importer and exporter of fur. Figures from the animal rights group show the UK is one of the largest exporters of fur in Europe: garment exports amount to over EUR25m a year, while imports of fur skins are valued in millions, including GBP4.5m from Poland and GBP4.5m from China in 2016 alone. Last year, more than GBP63m worth of fur was imported into the UK.

"Treated like a product, intelligent, feeling individuals continue to suffer for this brutal trade," says ADI president Jan Creamer. "Born in a cage, they die a terrifying and painful death. This is the real cost of fur – help end the cruelty and say no to fur."

With a number of "fake" fur products recently found to be real fur, ADI is advising ethical shoppers to report items that are not labelled, or mislabelled, and is providing advice on how to identify the real fur being sold as ethical fake.

A parliamentary inquiry on the UK fur trade was held earlier this year, to which ADI submitted written evidence calling for a ban; a measure it says was backed by the public. The UK Government responded to the recommendations of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee earlier this month.

"Disappointingly it stated that the proposed mandatory labelling of fur items, which would enable consumer to avoid these cruel products, would not be an 'effective remedy'. No commitment was made either to consult on a fur trade ban as recommended," ADI says.

Designers and fashion brands, however, are increasingly turning their backs on fur. This year, Burberry, Donatella Versace, DKNY, Donna Karan, Diane Von Furstenberg, Gucci, and Michael Kors all announced fur free policies, with Jean Paul Gaultier pledging to go fur free earlier this month. And for the first time, no designer used fur at London Fashion Week in September.

"We can all make a difference by making fashion choices that are kind not cruel to the animals," says British actress Gemma Atkinson. "Don't contribute to the suffering and deaths of millions of animals – say no to fur, forever."

Emily Deschanel, co-star of the hit US TV drama series Bones, adds: "Fur looks best, and belongs, on animals not people. To end the horrific suffering of millions of animals we need to say no to fur – for good."