Israel Makes History, Becomes First Country to Ban Fur

It's a good day for rabbits, minks, foxes, and more furry friends.
Fabienne Lang

On June 9, Israel became the first country in the world to ban the sale of animal fur.

Animal rights group PETA praised this historic ban as a victory after Israel's Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel signed the move into law, after 86 percent of the country supported the proposal. 

As PETA's announcement said, "For decades, PETA and our international affiliates have exposed horrific cruelty on fur farms, demonstrating that animals spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages." 

The animal rights group collected numerous video investigations over the years of how fur farmers sometimes keep these animals in unsanitary conditions, and the sometimes indecent methods used for killing them. 

Moreover, PETA points out that by keeping the animals in such closed quarters and in such close proximity to each other, as well as to humans, diseases can easily spread. This was seen last year at mink farms in Denmark and other countries when a COVID-19 mutation spread among the animals, and allegedly over to humans, leading to the culling of some 17 million minks.

There is a caveat, however. 

Loopholes for importing fur

The Times of Israel reported that this law appears to be largely symbolic, as trade permits for the fur trade are still possible for certain exceptions including "religion, religious tradition, scientific research, education or teaching."

These permits are issued by the Nature and Parks Authority, which means that under certain circumstances fur can still be traded in Israel with special permits.

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The "religion and religious tradition" categories have the potential to be highly used in the country, as Haredi Jews, or ultra-Orthodox Jews, often wear fur hats — known as shtreimels — on religious holidays and Shabbat, said The Jerusalem Post.

Regardless, Israel has taken a big step forward in the fight against fur for fashion — an industry that sees around one hundred million animals bred or killed for their fur each year reports the Humane Society.

There's clearly still a long way to go until animals are safe from being killed for their fur for fashion. Other parts of the world are slowly joining the fight, however, as PETA pointed out that California banned the sale of new fur statewide in 2019, and a number of famous designers and brands have already stopped using fur in their fashion items.

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