Statewide Fur Ban Introduced in California Legislature

A growing number of California cities have passed ordinances banning the sale and manufacture of new fur garments. Now the state of California is getting involved.

On March 12, a proposed bill banning the sale and harvest of exotic fur products was approved by the California assembly’s Water, Parks and Wildlife committee by a 10–4 vote.

Assembly bill 44, known as the California State Fur Ban, was sent to the assembly’s judiciary committee, where no vote has been scheduled yet, said Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, the bill’s author.

Friedman is a Democratic representative for the 43rd District, which includes Glendale, Silver Lake and parts of the Crescenta Valley.

Friedman introduced AB44 last year because there is a patchwork of different laws on fur in California. Berkeley, San Francisco and West Hollywood have already imposed fur-ban laws. Los Angeles approved a fur ban, which goes into effect in 2021.

“The fur ban expresses the values of compassion and sustainability in California. The state needs to send a strong message that we don’t want to support products that are produced cruelly,” Friedman said.

The proposed law offers exemptions for the sale of vintage fur as well as fur products used for religious ceremonies. A ban would not regulate skins converted into leather or products such as shearling from domesticated animals. The ban would apply to clothing, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats and key chains that contain fur.

Those breaking the law would be subject to civil penalties, but there would be no criminal penalties.

The proposed law also seeks to prohibit the trapping of wild animals by trappers not licensed by the state as well as the sale of exotic furs from overseas locations.

Fur-ban and animal-rights laws have been criticized by fur-advocacy groups such as the Center for Consumer Freedom as too sweeping. “At the end of the day, animal activists want to take away choice from all Californians and impose a vegan lifestyle on them,” said Will Coggin, the consumer group’s executive director.