Los Angeles Approves Ban on Fur Products

Mandy Huang
By Mandy Huang
September 20, 2018USshare

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion on Sept. 18 to ban the sale and manufacture of fur products within city limits, making it the largest city in the world to ban fur.

The products, including clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, keychains, jewelry and earmuffs, are prohibited from being made of fur either in part or whole. However, used fur products are excluded.

Fur bag in Paris
Fur bag at Le Grand Palais in Paris on May 3, 2018. (Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

West Hollywood was the first U.S. city to ban the sale of fur clothing in 2013, except for legally caught wild animals under California law. Berkeley passed a similar ban in 2017.

San Francisco’s fur ban passed in March 2018 and became effective on July 1, also with the exception on resale of used fur products. Vendors who violate the ban will be subject to a $500 fine for their first violation in San Francisco.

Allegations of Inhumane Treatment

“More than fifty million animals including foxes, chinchilla, minks, raccoon, dogs and rabbits are killed for their fur every year,” stated the Los Angeles City Council motion.

According to PETA, eighty-five percent of these animals are raised and killed on factory fur farms.

The motion also states these animals live in cramped conditions and are often killed in painful ways to preserve the quality of the pelt, such as suffocation, electrocution, and gassing. Some are even skinned while conscious.

“You can’t sleep at night once you’ve seen it,” said actress Maggie Q in front of Los Angeles City Hall before the vote took place. “It’s one of the most horrific things I’ve ever witnessed in my life.”

Some popular brands such as Armani, Gucci, Michael Kor, and Burberry are also moving away from selling or using fur.

Alternatives Might Harm the Environment More

The Los Angeles City Council urged people to consider alternatives, so that animals won’t be killed for their fur. However, organizations against the motion, such as Fur Information Council of America, said alternatives harm the environment even more.

“Real furs last generations, far outlasting their synthetic counterparts. Plastics take hundreds of years to decompose and pollutes landfills, groundwater and contributes to the pollution of our oceans,” states the organization’s website.

“‘Trendy’ mass produced fake fur is often discarded at a much higher rate than real fur, requiring base chemicals used to make fibers, intensive energy consumption and industrial pollutants for multiple garments to match the lifespan of one real fur which can last upwards of 30 years.”

Demand for Fur Might Increase

According to Euromonitor International, a market-research firm, the demand for fur in the U.S. is projected to increase by 4.5%; from $336.9 billion in 2014, to $352 billion in 2018 in fur apparel and clothing accessories.

Even though more California cities are imposing these bans, consumers can still buy fur products from online stores or outside of these city limits, and many people are expected to keep buying them.

“It’s about, ‘Does a very small minority have the right to determine for the majority what we choose to wear, to eat, to buy? And, the campaigns against leather, the campaigns against wool, the campaigns against meat are already well underway,” said Keith Kaplan, spokesman for the Fur Information Council of America.

The 2012 economic census reported $360 million in retail sales of furs and fur garments in California, according to the Los Angeles City Council.

The Ban Won’t Be Effective Immediately

The Los Angeles City Attorney still needs to draft an ordinance for the fur ban, and then city officials will need to give final approval. Then with the mayor’s signature, the ban would take effect two years later.

The motion was presented by Bob Blumenfield, Paul Koretz, and Mitch O’Farrell.

New York is the only entire state in the U.S. where the sale of fur is illegal.

“Several countries around the world have banned some or all fur farming, including the UK, Denmark, and the Netherlands, one of the world’s biggest mink suppliers,” the motion indicates.

Fox contributed to this report

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