Fur-ious: Petition backs Islington Council’s proposed ban of ‘evil fur trade’ at markets – but traders hit back

Animal rights campaigners are at loggerheads with market traders over a proposed ban on the “evil” sale of fur at stalls in the borough.

Chapel Market trader David Twydell, chairman of the Chapel Market stallholders association

Chapel Market trader David Twydell, chairman of the Chapel Market stallholders association - Credit: Archant

Islington Council has urged the licensing regulatory committee to outlaw the sale and supply of fur at markets in the borough when it meets on Monday - but the chair of Chapel Market Traders Association, David Twydell, says people should be free to buy and sell animal products.

A petition calling for the fur ban in Islington markets went live on Sunday and has already exceeded 2,000 signatures.

It states: "Every year two-billion animals are viciously slaughtered in the fur trade. Animals live out tortured lives in barren cages where they suffer from insanity, self-mutilation, and if kept in shared cages often resort to cannibalism. They will then be anally or vaginally electrocuted or skinned alive in order that their pelts can be used for fashion accessories."

It adds that traders at Chapel Market "are selling copious amounts of real fur".

Chapel Market entrance from Liverpool Rd

Chapel Market entrance from Liverpool Rd - Credit: Archant

The council wants to stop the sale of items where animals have been bred specifically for fur and believes a blanket ban is the best way to do this as it difficult to distinguish between different pelts. If approved, the ban will apply to all new licenses from October 1 and to existing traders as of January 1.

David told the Gazette: "My favourite coat is sheepskin and it's warm.

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"Obviously I'm against the slaying of animals just so people can look lovely but I don't mind fur personally. I have bought my wife a couple of fox furs, it's recycling. I'm a meat eater. I think animals are grown for food.

"I don't think you should dictate to the customers what they can buy. If a customer wants a coat with a fur collar and they can't get it in Chapel Market they'll just get it somewhere else."

Another objector added: "The banning of fur is indefensible. Islington councillors and officers should not be making moral decisions about which forms of animal torture are bad and which are not. If Islington wanted to stop all cruelty to animals it would force traders to become 100 per cent vegan. It's easily arguable that an animal experiencing decades of torture for its milk and having babies taken away before it is then killed has a much worse life than a rabbit skinned for its fur.

"Is all skinning considered wrong? No leather or suede at any of Islington's markets? No handbags at Chapel [Market]? Fur is just fluffy suede."

But Islington's business chief Cllr Asima Shaikh said: "It can be hard for consumers to be sure about the origins and production methods used in clothes and goods containing real fur.

"While we have no reason to believe that illegally farmed fur is used in any products sold in our street markets, we think it is important that the council works hard to tackle this cruel and awful trade.

"We are very pleased to announce that we have been working on a new policy for a number of months now which, if approved, will ensure that no products with real fur are sold in Islington markets in the future."