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Dear Mary
I just cannot believe that this is still happening!
After giving up 4 days to gather thousands & thousands of signatures at Crufts in 2003, also sending hundreds of emails to the Crufts Pet trade stand holders etc, then last minute e-mailing to nearly all of the EU MEP's...   According to Sandra Edwards from www.voice4dogs ,  it was my last efforts that swayed the MEPs to sign the directive by an overwhelming majority, & now to learn that all this horrendously cruel barbaric trade is still happening...
Kindest regards
Diane Irwin   
01626 356742

How UK is centre for 7million trade in cat and dog fur

By Isabel Oakeshott, Evening Standard Political Correspondent
31 August 2004

Cat and dog fur is being shipped into Britain on a record scale, it is
revealed today. Figures obtained by the Evening Standard show a huge surge
in imports of the pelts for sale to the fashion industry. Traders from
Europe and the Far East ferried up to 7million worth into Britain last

London has become a major international trading centre for the furs,
following bans in other countries.

The scale of the business emerged in Customs and Excise records released to
an MP. The statistics are normally available only to those who pay a
subscription to access an obscure government website.

More than 40million of fur-related items poured into Britain last year -
almost double the amount of five years ago. Imports of clothes and fashion
accessories made with real fur have tripled from 4 million to about
12million in the past decade.

As well as fur clothes, more than 6million of "raw" animal fur, and
22million of tanned or "dressed" fur, from 12 named species and "other
animals", was shipped into Britain last year.

Most of the pelts were from minks, foxes, or rabbits - although more unusual
species, such as sea otters, sea lions and beavers are also involved.

However, 1 million worth of fur came from "wild felines" - while ?5.9
million fell into the " other " category. Experts say the majority of this
is from domestic cats and dogs, since the 12 named categories cover almost
everything else.

Andrew Butler, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: "These
figures are shocking. There is a huge international trade in cat and dog
fur, much of it coming from backyard suppliers in the Far East who are
totally unregulated.

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

Although America, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Greece and Australia have banned
all cat and dog fur imports, there are no such restrictions in Britain.

The majority of cat and dog fur arriving here comes from China, where two
million animals a year are slaughtered for the trade.

MEP Struan Stevenson, who has campaigned for an EU-wide ban, said: "As
dealers are forced out of other countries, they are coming here. The only
way to stop this evil trade is to ban it throughout the EU."

Most of the pelts are only in Britain temporarily and then shipped to other
countries. Although some cats and dogs are from fur farms, bred for their
pelts, many are strays.

Undercover investigators from animal rights organisations have filmed
backstreet operators in China and the Philippines rounding up cats, cramming
them into tiny cages, and killing them using barbaric methods.

The figures - released at the request of Labour MP Lynne Jones - show the
fur trade has undergone a dramatic revival. After a slump, which saw the
overall value of fur imports to Britain drop to little over  26million in
1999, imports climbed to 40.8million worth last year.

While the majority of British designers and models shunned real fur in the
Nineties, many now appear to regard it as acceptable.

Last week, it emerged that Cindy Crawford - who once posed for the "I'd
rather go naked than wear fur" campaign - has become a model for mink coat
firm Blackglama.

Paul Littlefair of the RSPCA said: "We are very disturbed to see a general
increase in the reappearance of all types of fur.

"This trend has created a market for whole garments as well as fur trim,
toys and other novelties. Countries in east Asia have only recently begun
producing dog and cat fur to meet demand.

"Most animals reared for fur in China and elsewhere are kept in extremely
poor accommodation, and generally not slaughtered humanely."

The Department of Trade and Industry has not ruled out banning imports of
fur from domestic cats and dogs, but fears new laws would be very difficult
to enforce.

A DTI spokesman said: "It is almost impossible to tell whether the fur comes
from wild or domestic animals. Often the only way to be sure is DNA testing.
We would like to see more hard evidence from animal rights groups."