Celebrities say no to fur, as Etsy urged to step away from cruel trade

Ahead of Fur Free Friday, an international day of action held on 29 November, celebrities are speaking out in support of the campaign by Animal Defenders International (ADI) to stop the suffering of animals bred, trapped, and killed for their fur. Etsy is one of the few major companies without a fur free policy in place, and ADI is urging the online marketplace to step away from the cruel fur trade and banish real fur sales from its global site. 

Ricky Gervais: “When you buy real fur, you’re basically saying ‘I’m okay with defenseless animals being trapped in the wild or kept in hideous conditions and then killed’. But it’s not okay. It’s disgusting and unnecessary. Please don’t buy real fur.”

Joaquin Phoenix: “From the moment they are born until their deaths, animals farmed for their fur suffer. There’s no excuse for this cruelty so please choose compassion and together let’s end this terrible trade.”

Intensively farmed in barren, cramped, filthy conditions, animals reared and killed for their fur are deprived of their natural lives, the lifelong stress, deprivation and extreme confinement causing both psychological and physical harm.

ADI’s investigation of a fur farm in Poland, one of Europe’s largest producers, captures a rare insight into the industry, which kills more than 100 million animals a year worldwide.  The short film “A LIFETIME” documents the lives of two sibling foxes who were born, lived, and then killed at the farm when they were just seven months old; while “NEVER HUMANE” demolishes industry claims that killing is quick, efficient and humane.

At least 18 countries have fur farming bans in place, including the UK. In the US, California recently became the first state to pass legislation banning the sale and manufacture of fur. Reflecting consistent and growing public opposition to the brutal fur trade, many designers, fashion brands and retailers have fur free policies in place. Sadly, Etsy is not currently one of them, although with 42.7 million active buyers and 2.3 million active sellers, it has the potential to do a world of good.

The US based company, which has offices in the UK, Canada, France, Germany, India, and Ireland, has a prohibited items policy preventing the sale of cat and dog fur, but this compassionate stance is not extended to other species who will suffer just as they do when bred and killed for their fur.

Animal Defenders International President Jan Creamer said: “The reality behind Etsy’s fur pompoms, trim, and other listings are animals who have experienced a life of suffering and a painful death. With the power to do a world of good, Animal Defenders International urges Etsy to step away from the cruelty and say no to fur.”

During a review of items costing £10 or under on its UK store (undertaken 13/18 November and excluding vintage items), ADI found 142 items containing real rabbit (51%), fox (17%), mink (9%), raccoon (6%), squirrel (6%) and other animal fur on sale. The highest number of items were listed, as would be expected, under Accessories (26%), closely followed by Craft Supplies and Tools (22%), and then Bags & Purses (13%), Bath & Beauty (9%), Pet Supplies (8%), Jewellery (6%), Home & Living (5%), Toys & Games (5%), Weddings (3%), Art & Collectables (2%), and Party & Paper Supplies (1%).  ADI warns that there will be hundreds more real fur items, priced more than £10, on the store. 

Items on sale include fox and raccoon fur pom hair bands (£8.99/£9.99), rabbit fur cat toys (£3.50+), and a squirrel tail key ring (£8.00) with similar items for sale in the US.

Although the UK banned fur farming 19 years ago, it still allows the sale of real fur, and imported more than £70 million worth of fur in 2018. Despite long-standing public opposition, and from animal protection groups including ADI, the UK Government has taken no action on this issue, with a recommendation by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee to consult on a fur trade ban last year as yet not progressed.

Celebrities supporting ADI’s campaign include Ricky Gervais, Joaquin Phoenix, Joanna Lumley, Emily Deschanel, Gemma Atkinson, Brian Blessed, Sara Pascoe, Peter Egan, Moby, Elaine Hendrix, Alexandra Paul, and Bob Barker.