IFF Sues S.F. Over Fur Ban

Following the Jan. 1 implementation of San Francisco’s fur ban, the International Fur Federation announced its filing of a lawsuit against the city in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Citing what it calls the “unconstitutional restriction on interstate and foreign commerce,” the IFF maintains that banning the sale of fur could lead to legislation regulating other animal products.

“If this law is allowed to stand, there’s nothing stopping San Francisco from banning wool, leather, meat or other products that a small group of activists don’t approve of,” said Mark Oaten, chief executive officer of the London-headquartered IFF. “Californians should have no fewer rights than residents of other states. They should be free to buy legally produced goods unless there is a public safety or health issue—which does not exist here.”

While the IFF claims that the ban, which was passed in March 2018 but allowed retailers to sell remaining stocks of fur products until Jan. 1, 2020, infringes on the rights of businesses, in 2018, former Supervisor Katy Tang, a proponent of the bill, told California Apparel News that her work was geared toward promoting more-ethical products, not undermining local businesses.

“It’s never the goal of mine to shut down a business, but it is my hope that as consumers demand products from ethical resources, this legislation brings retailers to shift to meet consumer demand,” Tang said.

The IFF also argues that San Francisco’s decision could be potentially more detrimental to the environment due to the shedding of synthetic microfibers from faux-fur products when these items are washed.

When the ban passed, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors supported the legislation with a unanimous 10–0 vote. The legislation was originally introduced in December 2017.