§ Mr. O'Brien
asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will take steps to ban the import of furs from those countries where the use of steel-jawed leg hold traps is still permitted.
§ Mr. Atkins
The import of furs, skins and other products from endangered species of wild animals is already tightly controlled under conservation legislation. Nevertheless, the Government remain most concerned about the continued widespread use of the steel-jawed leg hold trap—which is prohibited in the United Kingdom—to take certain other animals in the wild. Much fur is farmed or caught in more humane ways and a ban on imports of all fur from those countries still permitting the 295W use of the trap is likely to be seen as disproportionate and contrary to our Community and international obligations. However, my hon. Friend the Minister for Trade is considering what can be done, although there are serious practical difficulties, which I should not want to minimise.