California officially bans fur
In 2019, the state of California passed a fur ban, through assemblywoman, Laura Friedman, who authored Assembly Bill 44 to prohibit the sale and manufacture of new fur in California. Three years later, the law is now effective.
“The year 2023 marks a historic step forward for California with the implementation of a law that truly represents the values of our constituents,” said assemblymember Friedman. “Californians do not want to see animals live and die in cruel ways for nothing more than fashion, and I’m so pleased that this law will help uphold our state’s animal welfare standards as well as potentially help drive innovation for more sustainable fashion alternatives.”
“We are grateful to California for taking a stand against the cruel fur industry by implementing this statewide ban on the production and sale of new fur products,” said Jenny Berg, California state director for the Humane Society of the United States. “The fact that around 100 million animals are still raised and killed in fur factory farms for nothing more than a fur coat, hat or other product is archaic, especially when humane, environmentally sustainable alternatives exist. We applaud California for leading the fight against fur and sending a powerful message that animals should no longer suffer and die for fashion.”
Before the bill’s passage, four municipalities in California—Los Angeles (2018), San Francisco (2018), Berkeley (2017) and West Hollywood (2013)—passed similar measures, paving the way for Assembly Bill 44. To date, 12 cities across the U.S.—including five in Massachusetts—have passed laws phasing out new fur sales, and in 2021, Israel became the first country to end fur sales.
According to 2017 Economic Census, U.S. retail sales of fur garments totaled just over $574 million, with most sales occurring in California at just under $129 million, followed by New York with almost $115 million. Together, California and New York made up nearly 43% of all fur sales in the country in 2017.
Several fur-free policies from fashion brands and retailers coincide with the bill’s effective date. Canada Goose, Kering, Saks Fifth Avenue, Zegna Group, Rudsak, Mytheresa and Moose Knuckles all pledged to go fur-free by the end of 2022. Neiman Marcus will eliminate fur products by March 2023.
The new law applies only to the sale of new furs, not vintage pieces, and does not prohibit those who wish to wear fur. Stores that continue to sell fur face penalties ranging from $500 to $1,000 if they fail to comply with the law.
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