Sir Robert with examples of the fur

"It's time for Commissioner Byrne to stop giving excuses to the EU's consumers and ban this cat and dog fur trade once and for all, if he wants to restore consumer confidence in what they purchase in this holiday season," said The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins, MEP for the North West.

Sir Robert warned that without comprehensive action from the EU, "the flood of these despicable goods will soon turn into a tidal wave." Sir Robert was referring to the fact that since the United States has had a federal ban on the import of cat and dog furs and skins for nearly two years, Asian merchants are targeting the European Union as their prime market for these goods. Russia is the other market for these items. Sir Robert and many colleagues from the European Parliament, from all parties, and various national legislators are calling for action.

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International conducted a two year undercover investigation in China, Thailand and the Philippines, and found football field-sized warehouses filled to the ceilings with about 50,000 to 100,000 pelts of cats and dogs ready to be made into products.

Slaughter of these animals is pitiless, with cats strangled outside their cages as other cats look on and dogs noosed with metal wires and then slashed until they bleed to death as the noose wire cuts into their throat. In Harbin, China, investigators documented a dog being skinned while still blinking and conscious. The pelts have appeared in EU stores as full length coats, homeopathic arthritis aids, toy cat figurines, hair bows for children, trim on sweaters and linings for boots and gloves.

The animals are raised under deplorable conditions and killed solely for their skins and furs. Nearly 2 million dogs and cats die in this trade annually. Consumers are never aware of what they are purchasing because merchants in Asia are happy to dye the fur to make it appear as a more acceptable product, mislabelling others with bogus names or simply not labelling them at all. DNA tests in laboratories have conclusively turned up cat and dog fur items throughout the European Union.

On November 27th at a Council of Agriculture Ministers meeting in the European Union, eight Ministers from UK, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands and Denmark strongly supported the Swedish Agriculture Minister's request for an EU-wide ban on sales, as well as imports and exports of these fur and skins. This is a heavy hitting majority of countries. Yet Commissioner Byrne continues to argue it is not an EU-wide problem. It's up to individual countries to address the issue.

"This is absurd when one considers that over half of the EU countries are calling for the ban and the public is overwhelmingly concerned that they cannot be sure of what they are buying without it," added Sir Robert. "This is an internal market issue. It's massive consumer fraud based on a nauseating trade that no civilized EU citizen wants to support. Yet, the Commission remains clueless, denying it cannot end this once and for all," he added.

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