Cat and dog fur trade is totally ban: proposal adopted by European Commission

The European Commission has adopted a proposal today to ban the import, export and sale of cat and dog fur in the EU.

The cruelty is massive. Many animals are taken from the streets and butchered using
appallingly inhumane methods.

A number of Member States have responded to public concerns by introducing national legislation on cat and dog fur, and legislative initiatives are underway in response to public campaigns against companion pets being used for fur production.

Findings of cat and dog fur on the EU market have provoked a strong response from EU consumers, who have asked for measures to be taken to prevent such fur and fur products from being sold in the EU (through letters to the Commission and MEPs as well as through petitions). The Commission has been informed that such fur has been found not just on clothing but also on a number of personal accessories as well as children’s soft-toys.

There is evidence that cat and dog fur is being placed on the European market, usually undeclared as such or disguised as synthetic and other types of fur.

The vast majority of the cat and dog fur is believed to be imported from third countries, notably China where the rearing of these animals for this purpose is practiced. where millions of animals are slaughtered every year for the trade.

Many Member States have introduced their own specific legislation against cat and dog fur in response to the strong opposition of EU consumers to the trade of fur from these animals.

However, as these national bans are divergent, they may cause disruption to the internal market. The proposed Regulation adopted today addresses EU citizens concerns and creates a harmonised approach, prohibiting all production, marketing and imports and exports of cat and dog fur in the EU. It also establishes a system of information exchange on the detection of cat and dog fur.

Next steps

The draft regulation will now be considered by the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers for adoption by the codecision procedure.
For more information, see:

Some important notes:

1. ‘The Cat and Dog Fur (Control of Import, Export and Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 (SI 2008 No. 2795) introduce a criminal sanction for breach of EC Regulation 1523/2007 banning the commercial import, export and sale of cat and dog fur. This commercial trade ban comes into force across the EU on 31 December 2008.

2. EC Regulation 1523/2007 was published in the Official Journal on 11 December 2007 and the prohibition officially came into force 20 days thereafter. However, Member States were given until 31 December 2008 to provide an effective, persuasive and proportionate penalty for breach of this directly applicable prohibition.

3. Existing UK legislation, the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA), provides a penalty of seven years’ imprisonment for deliberate breach of any enactment which has the effect of prohibiting imports into or exports from the UK but this would not cover unintentional breaches of the customs prohibition or deliberate or unintentional breaches of the prohibition on sale. Now that a ban is in place the (CEMA) Act 1979 applies.

4. Officers from HM Revenue & Customs will enforce the new ban and will utilise new forensic knowledge to detect cat or dog fur. This will build on work already carried out with DEFRA to prevent the illegal movement in endangered species and other banned animal goods.

5. These regulations also grant powers of investigation, seizure and forfeiture of the goods to Trading Standards bodies and introduce a criminal sanction with a maximum penalty of a £75,000 fine.

6. Several Member States, including the UK, now have the technology to test for domestic cat & dog fur using mass spectrometry and DNA testing. Previously it was difficult to assess, especially if the fur had been dyed.

7. Labelling of fur included in garments is not mandatory in the UK. However, the Trade Descriptions Act requires that if a manufacturer chooses to label a garment, the label must be accurate. The British Fur Trade Association introduced a voluntary labelling scheme in 2003.

8. Pictures and film footage of illegal cat and dog fur rearing, slaughter and products are available from Care for the Wild, phone 01306 627900 or 07970 987742.

Source: Department for Enterprise & Regulatory Reforms []


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