THE department store Harvey Nichols banned fur from all of its UK outlets yesterday following protests from animal rights activists.
A national day of action against the retailer had been organised for today, with plans for demonstrations at its stores in Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Birmingham. But yesterday, it emerged the company has decided to stop selling rabbit fur, which is used in the lining of some coats, hats and gloves.
In a statement, Clive Morton, the company secretary of Harvey Nichols, said: "The board has today reviewed the company’s fur policy and has decided going forward that we will no longer stock real fur items."
However, Richard Gray, the company spokesman, insisted that the decision had not been taken as a result of protests, and was simply due to falling customer demand.
Yvonne Taylor, the spokeswoman for Advocates for Animals, which has now cancelled plans for today’s demonstration,
said: "The fur trade is trying to claim that fur is back, but in the past few months animal rights activists nationwide, co-ordinated by the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade, have persuaded many of the few high-street chains still selling fur to go fur-free.
"Most companies have refused to sell fur for years."
Harvey Nichols and other retailers, which stopped selling fur around ten years ago, have been accused of misleading the public over fur, by reintroducing items with fur linings.
The company insisted, however, that the rabbit fur used in its coats was "by-product rabbit" because the animal is killed for its meat, not its fur.