Israel has become the first country in the world to ban the sale of fur for fashion, effective six months from now, with a few exceptions.

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.

Gamliel said: “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.”

Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel signing an amendment banning fur sales to the fashion industry. Photo courtesy of Environmental Protection Ministry

She said the new regulations “will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”

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

Halevy stated, “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.”

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