Clothing made out of fur was once seen as the height of style and luxury, but times are changing.
In recent decades, the fur industry has come under fire from animal rights groups and ethical-minded consumers, who say that the production of fur coats—often involving the trapping and farming of wild animals solely for their fur—should be considered animal cruelty.
It’s been a subject of intense debate from the fashion world to politics, and support has built for laws banning or limiting the fur trade.
On October 12, Governor Gavin Newsom signed the fur-banning Assembly Bill 44 into law, along with a package of other animal welfare laws. It will go into effect January 1, 2023.
Several local governments have imposed fur bans already—including California cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco—but this is the first instance of a statewide ban going into law.
It will ban the production and selling of new fur products in the state, with fines starting at $500. It does not affect the sales of existing fur products, nor does it make wearing fur illegal: one could still buy a coat out of state and bring it back into California.
The bill also makes exceptions for fur products used for religious or tribal purposes.
But it’s a decisive strike against the fur industry that’s hailed as a victory by animal rights groups.
“We applaud Gov Newsom and the state’s lawmakers for recognizing that California citizens do not want their state’s markets to contribute to the demand for fur products,” a statement from Humane Society USA said, according to BBC.
“Today is a historic day for animals in California [who have been] skinned alive for their fur or skin,” said Tracy Reiman, Executive Vice President of PETA, according to CNN.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Gov. Newsom said. “But we are doing more than that. We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.”
Of course, the fur is no small industry, and they plan to fight back against the law. According to USA Today, Keith Kaplan, spokesman for the Fur Information Council, accused fur bans of being part of a “radical vegan agenda” that will lead to further bans on leather and meat.
But, as the New York Times points out, the law simply reflects a growing public sentiment that fur is unfashionable and unsustainable, and that even much of the fashion industry—who one would assume would be fighting to keep fur alive—has been phasing out the use of fur.
The fight around fur is sure to continue, but these laws are a major victory for animal rights. Share this big news!