An investigationin December found furs in items such as hats, shoes, scarves, and coats sold by retailers labelled as "faux fur"

An investigationin December found furs in items such as hats, shoes, scarves, and coats sold by retailers labelled as "faux fur"

UK MPs have launched an inquiry into Britain's fur trade following the false labelling of "faux fur" items by major retailers.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee launched the enquiry on Wednesday (7 March) to examine the current fur trade and how the industry can be made more transparent for consumers.

Longer-term, the Committee says Brexit may provide an opportunity for the UK Government to look at legislation around the import of fur.

The move follows an investigation by Sky News in December, which found furs from fox, rabbit, chinchilla and mink in items such as hats, shoes, scarves, and coats sold by retailers including Not on the High Street, FatFace, Tesco, and Miss Bardo. The items were all advertised as containing faux fur.

The inquiry will see representatives from House of Fraser, Boohoo, and Missguided, all of which have no-fur policies and were implicated in the investigation, face questioning from the Committee and members of Humane Society International and the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The UK banned fur farming in 2000. According to HSI, there is no legal requirement to use the specific word "fur" on items containing real fur. EU regulations do require items defined as "textile products" to carry the wording "contains non-textile parts of animal origin" but as well as not clearly telling consumers it means "real animal fur", in practice this wording requirement is rarely adhered to at all, it says.

And the vast majority of the British public are against wearing fur. A 2016 YouGov poll showed nine out of ten Brits believe it is unacceptable to buy and sell real fur, averaged across nine species.

"HSI is campaigning for the British Government to make the UK a fur-free zone by extending the cat, dog and seal fur bans to include all fur-bearing species," it says. "As a member of the EU single market, under rules relating to free movement of goods, the UK is not currently at liberty to ban the import of animal fur, which is farmed in several European countries. But Brexit could give the government the freedom to adopt policies that reflect the public's distaste for all fur and close our borders fully to this cruel and outdated trade."