California Takes Big Step Toward Banning Fur Sales

California is moving closer to becoming the first U.S. state to ban fur after Assembly members voted 52 to 16 to pass a bill that would outlaw the manufacture and sale of new fur products.

The measure, AB 44, will have to be approved by the state Senate and signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom before it becomes law.

Laura Friedman, a Democrat member of the Assembly, introduced the bill in December to stitch together a “patchwork” of fur-related policies in cities across the state, including Los Angeles, West Hollywood, San Francisco and Berkeley, which have made fur verboten within their limits, barring a few exceptions such as secondhand items and accommodations for religious groups.

“AB 44 ushers in a more sustainable and cruelty-free future for the fashion industry and California consumers alike,” Friedman said in a statement. “It is encouraging to see the strong bipartisan support that this bill is getting in the Legislature.”

AB 44 would make it unlawful to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, give, donate or otherwise distribute a fur product in the state — including such items as clothing, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats and keychains — but not cover skins converted into leather or shearling from domesticated animals. Violators would be subject to civil rather than criminal penalties.

New York City is considering its own fur ban after lawmakers introduced legislation in March to reject the sale of fur and fur-containing products.

“As an animal lover, I believe it is cruel to kill an animal just for the purpose of people buying and wearing a fur coat,” Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Manhattan) said at the time.

The bill proposes fining violators between $500 and $1,500 as well as forfeiting any money made from selling banned fur.

Luxury brands are also increasingly turning away from fur, with Prada the most recent (and perhaps most significant) to nix the material from its collection to date. Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Diane von Furstenberg, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Phillip Lim, Ralph Lauren and Versace have all abandoned fur in recent years, as have high-end e-tailers Yoox Net-a-Porter and Farfetch. Likewise, Amsterdam Fashion Week in the Netherlands announced it will be dropping fur from its runways immediately.

Editor’s Note: This story was reported by FN’s sister magazine Sourcing Journal. For more, visit Sourcingjournal.com.

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