Los Angeles City Council Considers a Ban on Fur Sales

Retailers are prohibited from selling fur in the California cities of West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco. Los Angeles may be next.

A motion to ban the sale of fur in Los Angeles was signed in June by three city council members: Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Mitch O’Farrell.

On Aug. 1, members of several anti-fur organizations supported the fur ban, testifying in front of the City Council’s personnel and animal welfare committee, chaired by Koretz. A vote was postponed on the motion because Koretz wanted answers on questions such as how a possible ban would affect business.

Alison Simard, a Koretz spokesperson, said the committee might consider the ban later in August. If it is approved, it would then be discussed by the entire 15-member council. Currently, no vote is scheduled for the ban, which would cover handbags, shoes, hats, earmuffs, jewelry and key chains made in whole or in part of fur, with exceptions for the sale of used fur products. If passed, it would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, and make Los Angeles the largest city in the United States to ban fur sales.

West Hollywood passed its fur ban in 2013, and the impact is still being debated. John D’Amico, West Hollywood’s mayor pro tempore, was one of the architects of the ban. “Our tax revenue from retail sales has never been higher,” he said. “Retailers are moving to West Hollywood because of the place we are, not in opposition to it. If a ban is passed, Los Angeles will be an incredibly humane place where animal fur is not used for clothing.”

Ashley Stewart, an administrator for West Hollywood retailer Mayfair House, said the ban has not been beneficial. “We lost a lot of business from it,” she said. Mayfair House received a citation from the city of West Hollywood for breaking the ban, but it was dismissed in 2015.

Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council of America said such bans constrict businesses and consumers. “It is more extensive than people think. The basic core issue gets down to freedom of choice,” Kaplan said. “You can be sure of this. If [anti-fur groups] are successful at using cities like Los Angeles to put an end to fur, what will be next? Leather? Wool? Silk? Meat?”

Fashion designers and brands are divided on the issue. Oscar de la Renta makes fur coats, but designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney and Gucci have vowed not to use fur in their collections.