Manchester Christmas market goes fur-free

Respect for Animals today praises Manchester City Council, after seeing written confirmation that the sale of real fur is prohibited at this year’s Christmas market. Emails from officers at the City Council say that fur will be banned and traders’ contracts have been updated accordingly.

Manchester City Council’s decision follows the fur sales ban signed into law by the Governor of California at the weekend.

The selling of real fur at markets, especially Christmas markets, has become a major problem over recent years in the UK.  Many customers have bought real fur thinking it is fake due to the lack of labeling of real fur products.

Real fur can nowadays be imported very cheaply, having been produced in terrible conditions. For example, Respect for Animals has documented numerous cases where hats with real fur bobbles and fake fur bobbles are being sold at the same market, unlabelled, for the same cheap price.

Last year, in response to a Freedom of Information request by Respect for Animals, Manchester City Council confirmed that they allowed real fur to be sold at their markets and that at least one trader sold real fur at the Christmas market.

Respect for Animals has contacted every council in the country as part of its Fur-free Markets campaign and given them a rating for their policy towards real fur.  Manchester City Council, with a one star rating, was among the worst rated councils in the country.

Last year’s Christmas market was overshadowed by protests led by the local grassroots group, Anti-Fur Manchester. This led to Manchester City Council asking all traders selling fur to remove their products from sale.

Restrictions on the sale of real fur have advanced substantially of late. In recent days, California took the historic step of passing into law a ban on the sale of real fur state-wide, legislation which is looking to be replicated in New York City and Hawaii. A few weeks ago, Islington Council prohibited the sale of real fur at its markets and on council land.  Also recently, Labour’s new Animal Welfare Manifesto contains the commitment to ban the import and sale of real fur should the party win the next election.

Mark Glover, Campaigns Director at Respect for Animals said:

“Last year we received numerous complaints from members of the public about real fur on sale at Manchester’s Christmas Market.

“Christmas shoppers should be able to enjoy Manchester Christmas Market without worrying about potentially buying products from the barbaric fur trade. We are delighted that this year, the Christmas Market will be fur-free.

“Real fur is cruel and unnecessary. It comes from animals raised in deplorable caged conditions or cruelly trapped in the wild and killed inhumanely. We have rightly banned the main methods of fur production in Britain for their cruelty. It’s now time to follow California’s lead and ban the sale as well.” 

Respect for Animals is now urging Manchester City councillors to bring forward a fur ban before full council at the earliest opportunity.  Given the Labour dominated make-up of the council, this should not be a problem considering national Labour policy towards real fur. Other councils, including Oldham and Aylesbury Vale, have recently passed similar policies, joining Respect for Animals’ Fur Free Markets scheme. The scheme requires no financial commitments from councils and Respect for Animals supports market operators by microscopically testing dubious items free of charge.

How does your Council rate on fur? Access the database here..