In a landmark victory for fur-bearing animals, Israel just became the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur for fashion.
Today, the country passed an amendment to regulations passed in 1976 as part of the Wildlife Protection Law. The ban was first proposed in October 2020 by Israel’s Minister of Environment Protection, Gila Gamliel. It prohibits the sale and purchase of fur throughout the country.
“The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering,” Gamliel said in a statement after signing the amendment. “These regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”
The ban does include certain exemptions. According to the new law, permits to sell fur will still be issued for “scientific research, education, for instruction and religious purposes and tradition.” For example, the exemption would permit the sale of shtreimels—fur hats worn on Shabbat and other holidays by Orthodox men.
“This is a truly historic day for animal protection,” Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/UK, an organization that supported the ban, said in a press release sent to LIVEKINDLY.
Despite the exemptions, Bass still praised the ban, explaining that without the exemption for traditional dress, it likely wouldn’t have passed.
“Israel’s fur ban will save the lives of millions of animals suffering on fur farms or languishing in cruel traps around the world,” she continued. “And it sends a clear message that fur is unethical, unnecessary and outdated.”
Israel Bans Fur
This isn’t the first time Israel has addressed its fur trade. Back in 2010, Israeli politicians debated a proposal to ban the import, production, and sale of fur.
At the time, an opinion poll conducted on behalf of the International Anti-Fur Coalition and Israeli animal rights organization Let Animals Live found that 86 percent of Israelis believed killing animals for fur was wrong.
Animal rights groups and activists have lambasted the fur industry for its prevalent animal cruelty. Animals kept on fur farms are typically raised in deplorable living conditions and confined closely together in small wire cages. This prevents the animals from carrying out natural behaviors, which can result in behavioral disorders, self-mutilation, and even cannibalism.
A number of countries have already begun moving away from fur. In October 2020, France announced a complete ban on mink fur farms. The following month, Kopenhagen Fur—the world’s largest fur auction house—revealed it would be closing in the next two to three years in response to Denmark’s mink culls.
The U.K. banned fur farming in 2003. It’s also been prohibited or is in the process of being phased out in many European countries, including Belgium, Croatia, the Netherlands, Norway, and Austria. In 2019, California became the first U.S. state to ban fur sales. Similar bans have already been passed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and West Hollywood.