Israeli anti-fur activists protest against the use of fur in the fashion industry in Tel Aviv, Israel, Nov. 24, 2020. Photo courtesy of  Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90.

(Israel21c via JNS) – Israel has become the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur for fashion (with a few exceptions), effective six months from now. In a move hailed as historic by international animal welfare advocacy organizations, Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel signed the amendment into law on June 9.

“The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering. Using the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral and is certainly unnecessary. Animal fur coats cannot cover up the brutal killing industry that makes them,” said Gamliel.

The new regulations “will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals,” she added.

Israel’s ban allows exemptions for the use of fur in “scientific research, education or instruction, and for religious purposes or tradition.”

The latter exemption will allow continued sales of the fur hats that many ultra-Orthodox men wear on Shabbat and holidays, just like in California, where fur sales were banned in 2019.

Jane Halevy, the founder of the International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC), said her organization has been working towards the ban for more than a decade in partnership with the Israeli organization Animals Now and Let the Animals Live.

“The IAFC has promoted a bill to ban the sale of fur in Israel since 2009, and we applaud the Israeli government for finally taking this historic leap. All animals suffer horrifically at the hands of this cruel and backwards industry. Killing animals for fur should become illegal everywhere,” said Halevy.

The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to ban fur farming, in 2003 and has since been followed by many European nations, but the import and sale of fur is still allowed there.

PETA reports that it has has conducted video investigations into the global fur industry, revealing that animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. Fur farmers use the cheapest killing methods available, including neck-breaking, suffocation, poisoning, and genital electrocution. Animals are sometimes still alive and struggling when workers hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them.