Israel is the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur for frivolous fashion, effective six months from now, Humane Society International reports. The news comes ahead of the G7 summit where world leaders are gathered and activists have urged the UK and US governments to ban fur sales.

Environmental protection minister, Gila Gamliel, who passed the ban into law, issued a statement after the occasion, “The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering. Using the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral and is certainly unnecessary. Animal fur coats cannot cover the brutal murder industry that makes them. Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”

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Israel’s ban allows for the use of fur in “scientific research, education or instruction, and for religious purposes or tradition.” The ban allows for the use of shtreimels, which are fur hats traditionally worn on holidays and Shabbat by Orthodox men.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, said in an emailed statement, “This is a truly historic day for animal protection, with Israel becoming the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur fashion. Even with the exemption for traditional dress, without which this ban was unlikely to have succeeded, Israel’s fur ban will save the lives of millions of animals suffering on fur farms or languishing in cruel traps around the world, and it sends a clear message that fur is unethical, unnecessary and outdated. We now call on the British government to follow Israel’s compassionate lead and implement a UK fur import and sales ban once DEFRA’s Call for Evidence is completed. For as long as the UK remains open for business to sell fur that we deemed too cruel to farm here two decades ago, we are complicit in this cruelty.”

Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Norway, Luxembourg, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia have phased out or are in the process of banning fur farming.

The first infections on mink fur farms were found in April and the Dutch government used the opportunity to take a stance against the industry and call for closing all farms by March 2021. Over a million mink were killed during the pandemic. Read more about mink and fur farms during coronavirus, including the coronavirus spread through Dutch farms, a million mink killed by Dutch fur farms during coronavirus, and the Dutch government’s previous statement on mink and the coronavirus. 

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