L.A. Moves Forward With Plan to Ban Sale of Fur Products

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A ban would take effect two years after final approval of the ordinance.

A proposal that would make Los Angeles the largest city in the U.S. to ban the sale of fur products advanced in the City Council on Tuesday.

The council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to draft an ordinance that will prohibit the manufacture and sale of fur products. The ordinance must be presented to the council at a future date for final approval.

The vote also directed the city attorney to report back to the council on several issues including how fur apparel is utilized by religious organizations, and possible exemptions, as well as potential conflicts with federal and state laws relating to sale of fur products derived from legally trapped animals.

A ban would take effect two years after final approval of the ordinance. 

The ban would cover apparel made in whole or in part of fur — including clothing, handbags, shoes, hats, earmuffs, jewelry and keychains. Only used fur products could be sold.

Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz submitted the motion.

Neighboring West Hollywood, along with Berkeley and San Francisco, already have fur bans, although their ordinances differ in some specifics. West Hollywood's law was changed to exempt fur from animals that are legally trapped under state law.

Activists condemn the fur industry as inhumane, contending that the animals are subject to brutal conditions and meet torturous deaths.

Keith Kaplan, spokesman for the Fur Information Council of America, a trade group for manufacturers and fur merchants, denied the accusations and said the City Council motion is being put forward on the basis of "lies and false studies."

A fur ban in the city could have an economic impact, Kaplan said Monday.

"There's a lot of fur sold in L.A. It's in over 500 designer collections, it's on shoes, it's on handbags," he said. "So yes, it will have an impact on jobs, it will have an impact on tax revenues."

Retail fur sales globally accounted for $35.8 billion and the fur industry employed more than 1 million people in 2014, the latest year that figures were available from the industry, Kaplan said.

PETA executive vp Tracy Reiman issued a statement on Tuesday in response: "PETA is popping the champagne corks today after the Los Angeles City Council — led by Council Members Paul Koretz, Bob Blumenfield and Mitch O'Farrell — voted to ban the manufacturing and sale of fur, thereby sparing countless animals the horror of being beaten, electrocuted and skinned alive for environmentally toxic products that kind shoppers don't want and top designers won't use. When Los Angeles speaks, the world listens, and it's now the largest and most notable city to tell the world that fur is dead."