Fur has no place in decent society, says Queens Brian May

Queen guitarist Brian May at 10 Downing Street in London, to hand in a petition with more than 400,000 signatures urging Prime Minister Theresa May to introduce a UK animal fur import ban
Queen guitarist Brian May at 10 Downing Street in London, to hand in a petition with more than 400,000 signatures urging Prime Minister Theresa May to introduce a UK animal fur import ban

Queen guitarist Brian May has said wearing animal fur "has no place in a decent society" as he joined calls for imports of fur to be banned.

May joined animal protection campaigners to hand in a 400,000-strong petition to 10 Downing Street urging Prime Minister Theresa May to introduce an animal fur import ban as the UK leaves the European Union.

Fur farming was made illegal in the UK in 2000, but since then more than £650 million worth of furs have been imported from countries such as China and Poland where animals suffer "appalling conditions", campaigners said.

The petition has been handed in after celebrities including Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais sent a letter to the Prime Minister calling for a import ban.

The signatures were collected as part of the Fur Free Britain campaign by UK animal protection charities including Humane Society International UK and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

Under EU rules the UK cannot currently ban imports of animal fur, which is produced in several European countries, the campaigners said.

But they are calling on the Government to use Brexit as an opportunity to make the UK a fur-free zone.

May said: "In light of the now proven appalling cruelty in the production of fur, it's time to make a stand.

"Fur that did not grow on us has no place in a decent society."

A spokesman for Fur Free Britain said: "Hundreds of thousands of British people have supported our call for a Fur Free Britain, so we hope Mrs May will take decisive action to address the current double standard of fur cruelty.

"Britain made its stance on fur clear almost two decades ago by banning fur farming because it's unethical, so it makes no sense to still be importing hundreds of million of pounds of fur from animals who have endured horrific cruelty in other countries.

"It's time the UK pulled the plug on the fur trade."

More than a quarter of the signatures were gathered for a UK Government and Parliament petition started by Diane Bartlett and Catherine Reda, which has collected the 100,000 signatures needed to secure a parliamentary debate.

A spokesman for the Environment Department (Defra) said: "The Government shares the British public's high regards for animal welfare.

"After we leave the EU we plan to retain the current regulations banning the import of cat and dog fur and products, and seal skins and products from commercial hunts. We are also considering whether further steps could be taken outside the European Union.