California has become the first state in the US to issue a statewide ban on animal fur products.
As per the legislation, it will be illegal to sell, donate or manufacture new fur clothing, shoes, handbags and other items made of fur. The law defines “fur” as animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece, or fur fibers attached either in its processed or raw state.
The AB 44 bill, signed by governor Gavin Newson, will go into effect on January 1, 2023. It was first introduced in December 2018 by state democratic assembly maker Laura Friedman. “After decades of efforts from animal welfare advocates, we are now the first in the nation to ban fur. California has no place for the inhumane and unsustainable treatment of animals. Now it’s for other states to follow in our legacy,” tweeted Friedman.
However, there exist exceptions to the ban. Leather, cowhide, shearling, used fur and taxidermy products are exempt. Similarly, fur products used by Native American tribes and for religious purposes remain exempt.
The governor also signed multiple other bills into law, designed to prevent animal cruelty, alongside the fur ban. One bill deems slaughter for human consumption as a felony in the state. Another bill has made it unlawful to trophy hunt, trap or otherwise take a bobcat. From January 1, 2020, it will be illegal to sell the dead body or any part of a crocodile or alligator in California. The law includes penalties of up to $25,000 per day for each violation.
With over $1.5 billion in retail sales, the ban is going to make a substantial dent in the fur industry’s contribution to the US economy. In the global fur market, the US ranks among the top countries for retail fur sales, according to the Fur Information Council of America. In Europe, the first countries to ban fur farming were the UK (2000) and Austria (2004). In December 2012, the Netherlands, which is the European Union’s second-largest mink producer, passed a ban on fur farming and will phase-out mink production entirely by 2024. More recently, Norway, once the world’s largest producer of fox pelts, decided to prohibit fur farming in January 2018.