California becomes first US state to ban the sale of animal fur
Lawmakers in California have passed legislation banning the manufacture or sale of animal fur, making them the first state in the country to do so, the BBC has reported. The law will make it illegal for California residents to make or sell clothes, bags or shoes using animal fur after 2023, in a move that has been praised by animal rights activists.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Governor Gavin Newsom declared:
"California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur. 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."
Animal campaigners have been effusive in their praise, with a spokesperson from the Humane Society US commenting, "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."
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This was echoed by PETA vice-president Tracy Reiman, who added, "Today is a historic day for animals in California, including those who have been whipped into performing in circuses, or skinned alive for their fur or skin."
Comedian Whitney Cummings also tweeted her support for the legislation, saying: "Today California became the first state to ban the manufacture and sale of fur. Surreal. Thank you @GavinNewsom for getting that we are better than that."
Although the changes are dramatic, there are a few caveats. For instance, the law doesn’t cover cow hides or leather, nor goat, sheep or deer skins. Anyone found to be in contravention of the law could be fined up to $500, or $1000 for a repeat offense, meaning that any rule-breaking could quickly become a costly mistake.
However, despite the seemingly good news for everyone’s furry friends, not everyone was left smiling at the change. Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council labeled the legislation part of a "radical vegan agenda", and added that the move was "the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat".