UK Government Set To Ditch Plans To Ban Foie Gras & Fur Imports

By Divya Kashyap. Updated: April 2022.
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The British government is set to drop plans to place a ban on imports of fur and foie gras within the new animal welfare legislation called the new Animals Abroad Bill. The measures are in talks of being introduced because of opposition from some members of the cabinet.

While several members have different opinions about the bill, the measures look set to be put to one side to allow other elements of the bill to progress amid disagreement among some cabinet ministers, according to the BBC.

The proposed bill is to be seen as a bid to tackle animal cruelty in the industry and support conservation efforts overseas. Not only will the ban put an end to the trade of hunting trophies from threatened species but also the sale and advertising of touristy experiences like elephant rides.

Ban on Foie Gras & Fur Imports

In addition, the ban proposes a stop on the importing of foie gras, made mainly in France and Spain by force-feeding corn to ducks or geese with a tube – a process also known as gavage, which is considered unethical by animal activists. 

Foie gras production is already illegal in the UK, but around 200 tonnes of foie gras are imported into the country each year, mostly from France where it is considered a heritage product.

Celebrity stars Ricky Gervais and Peter Egan recently wrote to the Government, calling foie gras a ‘cruel and unnecessary product.’

Fur farming was outlawed in the UK in 2003, and more than £800m worth of animal fur has been imported to Britain since then, according to figures from HM Revenue and Customs. The material is found to be used in hat bobbles, boots and slippers, hood trims, and in high-end fashion coats. 

Campaigners and animal welfare organizations have long called for a ban on such products being brought from overseas. Animal protection organization Animal Equality launched a petition to ban the importation of such products, and have since surpassed 250,000 signatures.

Delayed Verdict

A final say on the bill has been extended due to differing concerns raised by ministers involving the personal choice of consumers in the UK and challenges around the enforcing of the ban. 

Brexit Minister Jacob Rees Mogg is a cabinet member who believes the government should not be imposing restrictions on what consumers can and cannot purchase, according to the BBC.

Whereas Defence Secretary Ben Wallace raised concerns about banning imports of black bear fur, used by military Guardsmen. It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson backed the use of real black bear fur in making ceremonial hats worn by the Queen’s Guard.

While the black bear fur has been said to be responsibly sourced in a Canadian Government-run cull, campaigners maintain that the process still involves cruelty.   

Claire Bass, executive director at the Humane Society International UK, said a ‘very large number of people will be disappointed if the Government does not follow through with the ban.  

Frank Zilberkweit of the British Fur Trade Association added it would be difficult for the government to enforce a ban and said: ‘If the public agrees that fur is not a suitable product to wear, they won’t buy it.’

Divya is a content crafter at Vegan Avenue. She is a long-term happy vegan who is also enthusiastic about slow, mindful living in the company of cats.