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Israel has announced that it has banned the sale of fur in the fashion industry with environmental protection minister Gila Gamliel signing an amendment that will go into effect in six months. Animal rights group PETA says this marks the “first entire nation” to completely ban sales of fur.
PETA senior vice president of campaigns Dan Mathews and honorary director Pamela Anderson, along with local activists, have called on Israeli officials to enforce a ban on fur, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has agreed to do so.
With over 86% of Israelis supporting the proposal to ban sales of fur, the minister of environmental protection of Israel Gila Gamliel signed the bill into law thus protecting rabbits, minks, foxes, and other vulnerable species that are mercilessly slaughtered for their fur.
Speaking about the amendment to 1976 regulations passed within the framework of the Wildlife Protection Law, Gamliel said: “The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering. Using the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral and is certainly unnecessary. Animal fur coats cannot cover the brutal murder industry that makes them. Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”
Animal fur coats cannot cover the brutal murder industry that makes them. Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animalsGila Gamliel, minister of environmental protection of Israel
Animals are exposed to extreme cruelty on fur farms, from being cramped into wire cages to fur farmers using methods like neck-breaking, suffocation, poisoning, and genital electrocution to kill the animals, with several video investigations showing how minks have been gassed, foxes electrocuted and several others skinned alive causing a mass biodiversity crisis.
Another animal rights NGO Animals Now called the Israeli ban a “historic milestone” that will “save countless animals from the hell of the fur industry.” “We have been fighting for years to ban the sale of furs to the fashion industry, and from the start, 86% of the Israeli public supported this. We thank Minister Gamliel and Tal Gilboa, the prime minister’s adviser on animal rights, and our partners in the struggle over years, Let The Animals Live and the International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC).”
Apart from the inhumane treatment these animals receive, keeping them together in unhygienic conditions has led to fur farms becoming a breeding ground for deadly diseases, especially with the coronavirus detected on mink fur farms in countries like Canada, Denmark (where a variant of the disease in minks infected humans), France, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the U.S. leading to a majority of the animals being culled.
“The IAFC has promoted a bill to ban the sale of fur in Israel since 2009, and we applaud the Israeli government for finally taking the historic leap towards making fur for fashion history. All animals suffer horrifically at the hands of this cruel and backward industry. Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. Killing animals for fur should become illegal everywhere – it is high time that governments worldwide ban the sale of fur,” added IAFC founder Jane Halevy said in a statement.
When the ban was first discussed in October, discussions suggested there would still be certain permits given that allowed for the use of fur by the Nature and Parks Authority, with the criteria including instances of “scientific research, education, for instruction and religious purposes and tradition.”
In Israel, fur plays a crucial role in the religious tradition of haredi Jews, who don fur hats called shtreimels on Shabbat and holidays. Under the new law, it is likely that the religious community will get an exception as the import of fur for religious reasons is still allowed, with importers now having to apply for special permits.
Back in 2019, the U.S. state of California banned the sale of fur to the fashion industry with a study further showing that 55% of U.S. consumers desire leather alternatives owing to environmental, ethical, and animal welfare reasons associated with animal leather.
Several leading fashion designers and retailers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Giorgio Armani have also banned fur in their apparel collections.
In the U.K., celebrities like Brian May and Ricky Gervais have called on the U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to ban the sale and the use of fur, with the #FurFreeBritain campaign. Thus far, no ban has been enacted.
Lead image courtesy of Unsplash.