Burberry will no longer use real fur.

The luxury fashion house has relied on rabbit, fox, mink and Asiatic racoon fur for its designs since it was founded in 1856 but, after years of being targeted by angry animal rights campaigners, it's finally decided to follow the likes of its high-end competitors Versace and Gucci by eliminating animal flesh from its pieces.

Burberry said: ''We already re-use, repair, donate or recycle unsaleable products and we will continue to expand these efforts. At Burberry, we are passionate about driving positive change. Our responsibility goals cover the entire footprint of our operations and extend to the communities around us.''

Burberry has said it will phase out existing fur products from now on and its showcase at London Fashion Week on September 17 will be the first of many collections to come not to feature animal flesh.

Chief executive Marco Gobbetti said: ''Modern luxury means being socially and environmentally responsible. This belief is core to us at Burberry and key to our long-term success. We are committed to applying the same creativity to all parts of Burberry as we do to our products.''

Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programmes for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said: ''The few fashion houses refusing to modernise and listen to the overwhelming public opinion against fur are now sticking out like a sore thumb for all the wrong reasons.

''If they want to stay relevant in a changing industry, they have no choice but to stop using fur stolen from animals for their coats, collars, and cuffs.''

Wendy Higgins, of Humane Society International UK, added: ''HSI first met with Burberry almost a decade ago to urge the brand to drop fur, so we are delighted that this iconic British fashion giant is finally going fur-free.

''Most British consumers don't want anything to do with the cruelty of fur, and so this is absolutely the right decision by this quintessentially British brand.''

The likes of Kate Moss, Romeo Beckham and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have all fronted campaigns for Burberry in the past.