Beliefs and Attitudes of British Residents about the Welfare of Fur-Farmed Species and the Import and Sale of Fur Products in the UK

Animals (Basel). 2022 Feb 22;12(5):538. doi: 10.3390/ani12050538.


Around 100 million animals are killed annually for the global fur trade, with 85% reared on fur farms and 15% trapped in the wild. Fur farming is banned across the United Kingdom (UK) under the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 in England and Wales and parallel legislation in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Despite the farming bans, the import and sale of fur products to the UK have continued, largely due to European Union (EU) membership. The UK left the EU in 2020 and the British government is exploring a potential ban on the import and sale of fur post-Brexit. This paper reviews public surveys on attitudes to fur farming in the UK from 1997 to 2021. It then reports the results of an online questionnaire to investigate in greater depth the beliefs of UK residents (n = 326) about the welfare of animals used in fur production, knowledge of the legal context of the fur trade and attitudes toward a ban on the import and sale of fur in the UK. A large majority (86%) of respondents believed that fur-farmed animals do not experience a good life. Over four-fifths (83%) disagreed that it is morally acceptable for the UK government to ban fur farming and yet continue to import and sell fur from producers overseas, with over three-quarters (78%) supporting a legal ban on the import and sale of fur in the UK.

Keywords: Brexit; COVID-19; animal welfare; fur farming; fur trade; prohibition; public attitudes.