Queen Elizabeth II, one of the world’s most photographed icons, will no longer wear new fur outfits for her public engagements. Instead, she will now step out in harsh winters wearing faux fur.

In a new memoir, the British queen’s official dresser Angela Kelly writes that the decision came after multiple high-fashion houses stopped using the “cruel” product. The queen is in tune with the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom who detest fur, and is sending a very clear message that the future of fashion is fur-free. The United Kingdom was the first country in the world to ban fur farming on ethical grounds in 2000, although it still allows the sales of fur imported from other countries.

Although the palace has said that the queen is likely to re-wear existing fur items, the fact that all of her new designs will be firmly fur-free is cause for celebration and signals just how swiftly our world is moving toward a fur-free future.

This is welcome news also for our Humane Society International/UK team, which runs the #FurFreeBritain campaign to ban fur sales in the United Kingdom. Since the country banned fur production, more than a dozen countries in Europe, including Austria, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Norway, have legislated against the practice. In June this year the government in Ireland agreed to phase out fur farming, and draft legislation to end the practice has also been presented to the parliaments of both Bulgaria and Slovakia this autumn.

Here in the United States, our fur-free campaign team has been steadily raking in the victories as well. California last month became the first state to ban fur sales. Just as importantly, a number of major fashion houses, including Prada, Gucci, Chanel, Michael Kors and Coach have, in recent years, announced they will stop using fur. Earlier this month, the country’s largest retailer, Macy’s, Inc., announced their Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s stores will go fur-free, closing more than 50 fur salons and vaults across the country.

A video investigation of Finland fur farms that HSI/UK released last month showed thousands of foxes and mink suffering in small, barren and filthy battery cages. There were animals with eye infections and gaping wounds, including a mink with a large, bloody hole in the head. Some animals lay dead in the cages and others ate them or walked over them.

There should be no place for such animal suffering in our world. HSI/UK is now calling on the British government to follow the queen’s example and make the country the first in the world to ban the sale of animal fur. And we hope, in time, the queen -- a powerful symbol of tradition with the ability to influence millions -- will agree to relegate her existing furs for use as museum pieces, indicating that the fur trade belongs nowhere except in history.