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Committee finds retailers ‘poor’ at regulating fur sales

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee has found that retailers, local authorities and Trading Standards have been “poor at enforcing regulations around the sale of real fur”, following its recent inquiry.

The committee also said that Brexit would provide an opportunity for the UK to improve its system of labelling as current EU requirements were “not good enough” to allow consumers to understand the origin and contents of their clothing. It also said that the current EU labelling regime, namely the ‘animal origin’ label, lacked clarity and was “confusing for retailers and consumers alike”.

The report found retailers had not done enough to ensure items were correctly described – which is illegal – or to prevent the mis-selling of real fur, and condemned Trading Standards for not enforcing the law against such retailers. Further, the committee recommended that the government launch a public consultation to ban the sale of all fur outright.

There have been recent high-profile cases of real fur being sold as ‘fake fur’ by major high-street and online retailers, including TK Maxx, BooHoo, Amazon, Not On The High Street, Groupon, Etsy, Tesco, FatFace, Boots, Kurt Geiger, and Romwe. Many of these retailers had no-fur policies, but their ‘fake faux fur’ was made from a variety of animals including rabbit, fox and chinchilla.

The committee took evidence from representatives from Amazon, Not On The High Street, Camden Market, The Humane Society, Trading Standards, Fur Europe, the British Fur Trade Association, International Fur Federation, and representatives from Defra.

Neil Parish MP, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said that real fur being sold as fake fur showed that retailers were “flouting their responsibility to consumers”. He also said that it was not up to campaigners or the media to discover the mis-selling of real fur but the job of Trading Standards officers and retailers.

Parish said: “Retailers of all sizes are complacent about the issue of fake faux fur. It is illegal to give misleading information and Trading Standards have been poor at identifying and acting against those who are doing so.

“The government must ensure that Local Authorities are properly resourced, and local authorities should ensure that Trading Standards are properly trained.”

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