Rabbis say UK fur sale ban would not affect shtreimels

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Rabbis say UK fur sale ban would not affect shtreimels

Rabbis write to environment minister to argue a proposed ban on UK fur sales would not impact on traditional shtreimels worn in Charedi communities.

Shtreimel, made of sable tails (Wikipedia/Source: Eigene Aufnahme, Eigentum. Author: Dieter Philippi/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))
Shtreimel, made of sable tails (Wikipedia/Source: Eigene Aufnahme, Eigentum. Author: Dieter Philippi/ Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0))

Thirty rabbis from across the world have sent a letter to the Government saying they don’t consider a proposed fur ban a threat to the traditional shtreimel.

Fur industry leaders had raised the alarm over an import ban, saying it would adversely affect religious groups because of the “special significance” of items like a shtreimel.

But in a letter to environment minister, Lord Goldsmith, rabbis from over the world said the Jewish faith should not be used to oppose “progressive and compassionate legislation.”

“The fur trade undoubtedly causes immense torment and suffering to many millions of fur-bearing animals who spend their days in appalling conditions,” states the letter.

“It was for this reason that Britain rightly banned fur farming in 2000 and so it would not only be morally consistent with that ban to introduce a UK fur sales ban, but also morally consistent with Tza’ar ba’alei chayim [commandment against unnecessary suffering of living creatures].”

The letter has been signed by a number of UK rabbis, including Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Liberal Judaism’s CEO, and Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg of Masorti.

The signatories argue that a proposed sales ban could include an exemption for religious dress where there is small amounts of fur.

Israel has already moved to ban fur sales, but there are exemptions including for shtreimels.

According to a poll conducted in the UK last month, 72% say they are in favour of a sales ban, compared to 11% who are opposed.

The letter amid an ongoing public consultation, which is set to end this week, on whether to impose a ban on the import and sale of fur.

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