Starting in December, Israel will be the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur, after already banning the production of fur in 1976, as other countries have also done. Although there will be exceptions for scientific research as well as educational and religious purposes, the ban – signed into law by the previous Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel – will prohibit the sale, importation and exportation of any items that contain real fur, including jackets and accessories.
“Israel has just made history and put yet another nail in the cruel fur industry’s coffin,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA is popping the cork on the champagne in celebration of this huge step toward a day when no animals are suffocated or skinned alive for collars and cuffs.”
Moira Colley, press outreach manager of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in New York, suggested that the United Kingdom may soon follow Israel’s lead.
In Israel, the religious fur items that will be exempted are shtreimel hats, said Jane Halevy Moreno, founder of International Anti-Fur Coalition. “There are wonderful synthetic fur shtreimels and we hope that soon enough ultra-Orthodox men in Israel and worldwide will all switch to fake fur shtreimels. We hope that this change will be led by religious leaders within the Jewish communities.”
Israel is the first country to ban the sale of furs, said Halevy Moreno, because “we were the first ones to establish and introduce such a groundbreaking bill proposal,” referring to IAFC’s efforts. That was 12 years ago and since then, IAFC “never stopped believing and fighting for this achievement to finally take place.”
IAFC received plenty of Israeli support in its efforts. PETA reported that the banning of fur sales received support from 86 percent of Israelis. “The Israeli public, fashion designers, politicians from all spectrums at the Knesset strongly supported this groundbreaking bill,” Halevy Moreno said. “The reason it took so long to outlaw the sale of fur was because of the strong pro-fur lobby that had constantly sabotaged all our efforts for years. We applaud the Israeli government for finally taking the historic leap towards making fur-for-fashion history. All animals suffer horrifically at the hands of this cruel and backwards industry. IAFC has claimed for years that ‘nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come’.”
Over the years, PETA has conducted a number of video investigations into the global fur industry. These investigations have revealed that animals on fur farms spend their lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages, according to PETA. “Fur farmers use the cheapest killing methods available, including neck-breaking, suffocation, poisoning and genital electrocution. Animals are still alive and struggling when workers hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them.”
PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to wear.” PETA also noted that California banned the sale of new fur statewide in 2019, as have numerous top designers and retailers, including Macy’s, Nordstrom, Burberry, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo and Giorgio Armani.
Halevy Moreno said the fact that a whole country has outlawed the sale of fur “sends a strong message worldwide about the cruelty of fur. It sends a message that the 2021 status of fur is a status of ignorance, selfishness, arrogance, heartlessness. If such a bill was not that meaningful the world over, it would not have taken us 12 whole years to finally achieve this victory.”
She also added that she is “proud” and “grateful” that Israel “chose moral justice, ethics and compassion over profits, political interests and greed. We believe that this choice will influence other locations worldwide.”
Perhaps not surprisingly, Israel also has what is believed the highest percentage of vegans globally, with an estimated 5 percent to 8 percent of the entire population being vegan. In fact, according to The Jerusalem Post, Israel was third on the international food magazine Chef’s Pencil list of top countries for vegans in 2020, ranking behind Australia and the United Kingdom.