Jacob Rees-Mogg: 'Boris Has Been So Brilliant!'
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Calls have been made by senior Tories for Prime Minister Boris Johnson to proceed with plans to ban the import of fur and foie gras. The ban on imports was due to come into force under the Animals Abroad Bill, a law designed to ensure only the highest standards of welfare are applied to imported animal-based products entering post-Brexit Britain.
However, the Brexit Opportunities Minister is said to have argued delaying the plans in order to allow consumers more choice.
Brandon Lewis, Northern Ireland Secretary, has raised concerns about the timing, in particular as discussions continue over the highly contentious Northern Ireland Protocol.
Mr Lewis suggested such a ban, if implemented, may not be applicable to Northern Ireland which continues to follow EU rules under the Protocol, and hence, would allow such items into the country.
British farmers are already forbidden under local laws to produce foie gras, the liver of force-fed ducks and geese, which is considered a delicacy in France and the rest of Europe.
Fur farming has also been illegal in the UK since 2000, but campaigners have long been pushing for an import ban on fur farmed abroad.
Backing up Mr Rees-Mogg, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has also raised concerns about banning bear fur used by some British soldiers in ceremonial uniforms.
Several Tory MPs have pushed for a ban on the items.
Writing in The Times, senior Conservatives say fur and foie gras production involved “inhumane practices” are “rightly banned in the UK”.
They suggest products derived from “such cruel industries” should also not be allowed – and said polling showed the public support an import ban.
They said: “It is right to limit the choice of a tiny minority of consumers when failing to do so causes great harm.
“Fur and foie gras bans would uphold a commitment to high animal welfare standards both here and overseas.”
The letter was signed by Tory MPs Bob Blackman, Tracey Crouch, Louie French, Sir Roger Gale, Tim Loughton and Chris Loder – as well as Tory peer Lord Randall of Uxbridge and former Tory MEP John Flack.
It was also signed by the co-founders of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation – a pressure group that counts the Prime Minister’s wife Carrie Johnson and father Stanley among its prominent backers.
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Environment minister Zac Goldsmith, another supporter of the group, told the Guardian the public is “strongly in favour of measures to curb the fur trade and foie gras”.
He said: “There are some who view the issue as a matter of personal choice, but no one would extend that principle to things like dog-fighting or bear-baiting, so it’s not clear why fur farming or force-feeding geese, which arguably are associated with far greater levels of cruelty, should be any different.”
SHOULD FOIE GRAS AND IMPORTED FUR BE BANNED IN BRITAIN? WHY IS MR REES-MOGG KEEN ON KEEPING THEM? WILL THIS AFFECT THE NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL? LET US KNOW YOUR VIEWS IN OUR COMMENTS SECTION – JUST CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE DEBATE – EVERY VOICE MATTERS!
According to animal rights group Fur Free Britain: “More than 100 million animals die for their fur each year, the majority suffering in small battery cages.
“The UK banned fur farming as ‘unethical’ in 2000, recognising that keeping wild animals in tiny cages can never be humane.
“But the UK is now outsourcing fur cruelty overseas, causing suffering to millions of animals.
“More than two-thirds of the British public reject this double-standard and support a fur import and sales ban.”
A Defra spokesperson said the Government is still “fully committed to animal welfare”.
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