Giles Roca, CEO of British Fur Trade Association
In a major blow to those pushing a ban on the sale of fur in the UK, the press regulator in the UK, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), has found that animal rights activists and the Daily Mirror (a national UK tabloid newspaper) published significantly inaccurate and misleading claims in the article that launched their campaign for a fur ban.
The IPSO judgement found that the story, published by the Daily Mirror in July 2020, breached the Editors’ Code around accuracy by alleging that fur from mistreated animals was being sold on British high streets. The story was based on an investigation by the animal rights group leading calls for a UK fur ban, Humane Society International (HSI). The regulator found that there was no evidence or proof that such fur was being sold in the UK stating: “The Committee considered that the article was significantly misleading” and that fur sold in the UK was subject to high animal welfare standards.
The story, published in a double page spread and online on 6 July 2020, included quotes from celebrity backers whilst the Editor of the Daily Mirror, Alison Philips, also tweeted her support of the story.
Embarrassingly, the story was presented by activists to the UK Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Goldsmith, and officials within Government, who was then asked to provide a supportive quote in a follow up story. Lord Goldsmith met the group HSI in February and May 2020 and addressed a public rally they staged calling for a ban in September.
The Regulator ordered the Daily Mirror to publish a correction that appeared in the print edition of the Daily Mirror on 7th January 2021.
Giles Roca for the British Fur Trade Association said:
“This is a serious blow to the credibility of those animal rights activists pushing a fur ban in the UK, led by Humane Society International. Nothing that these groups do or say can now be believed and it shows exactly the tactics that they are happy to use to deliberately distort and mislead in trying to damage UK fur sales and to influence the UK Government to introduce a ban.
“It is also hugely embarrassing to those that appear in this story and the backers of the wider campaign including celebrities and the Daily Mirror and its own Editor, who tweeted her personal support, and who was happy to publish a deliberatively misleading story without checking basic facts. The Press Regulator has now blown apart the Daily Mirror’s campaign to ban fur in the UK. As the Regulator also made clear, the sale of fur in the UK is highly regulated with exacting animal welfare and legal standards.”
The story was covered by the Daily Telegraph today, a UK national paper, and can be accessed here: Fur flies as watchdog rules story linking animal cruelty to British fur industry was “misleading” (telegraph.co.uk) and in the attached.
The full press regulator ruling can be found at Ruling (ipso.co.uk)