The fur trade is set to become illegal in Israel, which became the first country with such a ban after Environment Minister Gila Gamliel signed a decree to that effect on Thursday.

“The fur industry causes the deaths of hundreds of millions of animals worldwide, and inflicts indescribable cruelty and suffering,” said Gamliel, according to a statement. “Signing these regulations will make the Israeli fashion market more environmentally friendly and far kinder to animals.”

The ban is set to take effect in six months. It includes exceptions for scientific research or religious reasons, such as the fur hats favoured by ultra-Orthodox Jews.

Animal rights group PETA called the decision an “historic victory” that “will protect countless foxes, minks, rabbits and other animals from being violently killed for their skin.”

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