This week, Israel passed a total ban on fur sales, making it the first country in the world to do so. While more and more countries have been implementing fur farming restrictions, this is the first time a country has prohibited fur from being sold or traded. The ban will be officially enacted in six months, allowing for some exemptions in the instances of scientific research, religious purposes, and education.

“The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering,” Israel’s Minister of Environmental Protection Gila Gamliel said. “Using the skin and fur of wildlife for the fashion industry is immoral and is certainly unnecessary. Animal fur coats cannot cover the brutal murder industry that makes them. Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”

PETA hailed Israel as “the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur” by releasing a statement in support of the new law:

“This historic victory will protect countless foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals from being violently killed for their skin,” the statement read.

“For decades, PETA and our international affiliates have exposed horrific cruelty on fur farms, demonstrating that animals 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,” PETA added.

The ban is the result of years of lobbying from animal welfare organizations. Working globally, organizations such as PETA and the International Anti-Fur Coalition (IAFC) have been working with local activists to push the Israeli government to ban the nationwide sale of fur.

“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 the historic leap towards making fur for fashion history,” IAFC founder Jane Halevy said. “Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come. Killing animals for fur should become illegal everywhere–it is high time that governments worldwide ban the sale of fur.”

The new fur ban will not impact religious groups that wear fur in traditional clothing, such as the large fur hats called the "shtreimel" worn by Hasidic men, which will continue to be legal.

The fur ban differs from other bans globally because it accounts for the imports and exports of the fur industry. Although some nations, including 15 European countries, have banned fur farming in recent months, the countries' fashion industries are still importing fur products. Israel’s move to remove fur presents a significant historical marker for the fashion industry internationally.

“We have been fighting for years to ban the sale of furs to the fashion industry, and from the start, 86 percent of the Israeli public supported this,” the animal rights NGO Animal Now released in a statement praising the legislation. “We thank Minister Gamliel and Tal Gilboa, the prime minister’s adviser on animal rights, and our partners in the struggle over years, Let The Animals Live and the International Anti-Fur Coalition.”

In 2019, the state of California enacted the first ban on fur sales within the US. Since then, multiple states including New York and Oregon have taken steps to ban the sale of fur. Currently, there are discussions circling fur bans in the US government as well as legislation that aims to ban animal testing within the United States that extends even to its imports. Israel’s move to ban fur sales completely will likely be the first country in a long list that begin to enact this all-encompassing prohibition.

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