A comprehensive EU-wide ban on trade in cat and dog fur was approved by the European Parliament Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection on 12 April.
The committee scrapped a proposed exception that would allow trade in fur from cats and dogs “not bred or killed for fur production”. As Committee Chair Arlene McCarthy said, “We want a ban, not a restriction.” In December 2003, the European Parliament called on the European Commission to draft a regulation banning the import, export, sale and production of cat and dog fur and skins.
Three years later – after a public outcry over evidence that cat and dog fur products were still entering the EU, despite a voluntary code of conduct adopted by European fur traders – the Parliament got its wish. “The placing on the market and the import to or export from the Community of fur of cats and dogs and products containing such fur shall be prohibited”, stipulates in Article 1 of the draft regulation proposed by the Commission.
The Committee backed the thrust of this article by a large majority, with just a minor adjustment of the wording. What they did not back, however, was the Commission’s proposed exception from the ban. As drafted, this exception would open up the possibility for the placing of cat and dog fur on the EU market provided that the fur (or products containing it) would be (a) “labelled as originating from cats or dogs that have not been bred or killed for fur production”, or (b) constitute “personal or household effects” introduced into, or exported from, the Community.
Rapporteur Eva-Britt Svensson (Sweden) was adamant about doing away with the exception. If it stayed, it “would provide a gaping loophole, which would be ruthlessly exploited by traders of all future consignments of cat and dog fur, thus rendering the entire regulation useless”, she said. Committee Chair Arlene McCarthy (UK) agreed. “We want a ban, not a restriction”, she said at a press conference after the vote.