Just days after WAN reported the news that House Of Fraser was selling fur again after a decade-long fur-free policy, comes news that the British department store has decided to stick with their original fur-free policy following global backlash.
#FurFreeBritain campaigners at Humane Society International UK have confirmed that all real fur items have been removed from the company’s website, and store managers at their flagship Oxford Street store confirmed to HSI/UK’s Director this morning that all real fur has also been removed from every House of Fraser site nationwide.
Claire Bass, UK Executive Director of Humane Society International said: “We are delighted to see that cruel animal fur products have been removed from House of Fraser’s website and stores nationwide. HoF’s new CEO Mike Ashley has been hit by a tsunami of public protest, with thousands of messages from shoppers shocked and appalled to see this respected high street store turned into a House of Horrors, selling fur from factory-farmed rabbits, foxes, and raccoon dogs, as well as coyotes trapped and shot in the wild. British shoppers have sent the message loud and clear that fur is bad for business, and has no place on the British high street. We urge House of Fraser to publicly reinstate and uphold its long-standing fur-free policy.”
House of Fraser was dubbed “House of Horrors” by Humane Society International/UK just days ago for ditching its long-held fur-free policy and once again selling real animal fur in store. Jackets made by Parajumpers, Pyrenex and Mackage using fur from wild-trapped coyote, as well as fur from factory farmed rabbit, and raccoon dog from China, as well as raccoon dog and fox from Finland, went on sale instore and online for the first time since House of Fraser first banned all fur over a decade ago. On November 12th, House of Fraser confirmed to HSI/UK that its policy had changed in October 2019 following the company’s takeover by Sports Direct. On the same day HSI/UK wrote to CEO Mike Ashley to register its deep alarm at finding real animal fur for sale and asking for an urgent meeting.
House of Fraser had previously declared that its customers don’t want fur. In response to a 2017 HSI/UK investigation that found the retailer selling real fur as faux, a House of Fraser spokeswoman told reporters “Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not being complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question.” (Full quote below)
The UK banned fur farming almost two decades ago in 2000 on ethical grounds, but since then has allowed imports of more than £820 million worth of fur from overseas, including Finland and China. These UK fur imports are a double standard that HSI UK through its #FurFreeBritain campaign is urging the government to address.
Claire continued “The public response to House of Fraser’s misjudged fur experiment should leave political parties in no doubt that pledges to end the UK fur trade would be a popular policy with voters. We encourage all parties and prospective parliamentary candidates to state their commitment to a UK fur sales ban in the next parliamentary term.”
HSI’s petition calling for the UK government to ban UK fur sales can be SIGNED HERE!
In response to HSI/UK exposing House of Fraser for selling real fur as faux in 2017, the retailer issued the below announcement: “House of Fraser has a strict no fur policy and we ensure all of our suppliers and brand partners are aware of this,” a spokesperson for House of Fraser told us this morning. “We would never knowingly mislead our customers, who we believe have the right to know what they are purchasing. We are extremely concerned that fur can be mislabelled in this way, particularly for brands that we stock. Our customers want assurances that House of Fraser is not being complicit in such unnecessary suffering of animals and we take this issue very seriously and have communicated this to the brand in question.”
In March 2018, House of Fraser’s then Head of Sustainability, Dr. Dorothy Maxwell, provided evidence to an Environment Committee inquiry into HSI UK’s investigations of real fur being sold as fake fur. When questioned by MPs, Dorothy Maxwell confirmed HoF customers don’t want to buy fur. She said: “We know from asking our customers that they are not interested in buying real fur. Having been a fur-free retailer for many years, it is also because we know our customers do not want it… Our understanding of the market is that, when we look at our customers, roughly eight out of 10 tell us they want products that are not only free of fur but that meet other good performance standards on sustainability. That is the information that we have… We have genuinely been a fur-free retailer for many, many years, and we do not want to have real fur in our stores.”
Since the UK fur farm ban, the UK imported more than £14million worth of fur from Finland, and HM Revenue and Customs figures also show sizeable imports from a range of other countries such as Italy, France, Poland, China, and Russia. In 2019, so far fur imports to the UK total £25.7million, including over £2.5million from China alone. Finland is by far the biggest ‘producer’ of fox and raccoon dog fur in Europe, rearing and electrocuting around 2.5 million foxes every year for the global fur trade; only China farms more foxes globally.
In 2016, the value of fur imported into the UK was £55.6 million. A provisional estimate of the number of animal skins that equates to in that year is approximately 2,000,000
Britain imports and sells the fur of a variety of species, including fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, raccoon dog and chinchilla. Fur imports from dogs, cats and commercial seal hunts are banned across the EU, and HSI wants those existing bans extended to protect all fur-bearing species.
Since the United Kingdom banned fur farming on ethical grounds in 2000, more than a dozen countries in Europe, including Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Norway, have legislated against the practice. In June of this year, the government in Ireland agreed to phase out fur farming and the Slovak National Council approved a ban on fur farming in October. Legislation to end the practice was presented to the Bulgarian parliament earlier this autumn.
Several cities in the United States, including San Francisco, West Hollywood and Los Angeles have all introduced fur sale bans and on October 13th the state of California passed a ban on the sale and manufacturing of fur.
In addition to the physical and psychological torment of being confined in small, barren cages, for the animals’ entire lives, the killing methods typically used on fur farms are equally distressing. Mink are killed by gassing, and fox and raccoon dogs are killed by electrocution.
An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last two years alone: Prada, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, DKNY, Burberry, Chanel and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, online fashion retail platforms Net-A-Porter and Farfetch have introduced no-fur policies.