On Friday, October 11th, following a fashion season that pushed sustainability unlike any that came before, California became the first state in the US to ban animal fur products. Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill making it illegal to sell, donate, or manufacture new fur products (San Francisco and Los Angeles recently enacted similar city-wide bans). It applies to all new clothing and accessories made with fur, and violators will face civil penalties. The new law will go into effect on January 1st, 2023.
The bill also incorporates provisions that will prevent animals like elephants and bears from being used in circus acts and legislation prohibiting hunting or killing bobcats in California.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” said Governor Newsom. “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. Just YouTube the videos showing the cruel way these animals – often stripped from their mothers as babies – are trained to do dangerous tricks. It’s deeply disturbing.”
Leather, cowhide, shearling, and fur products used for religious purposes or by Native American tribes are exempt from the ban, and it only applies to new clothing, not used. It seems to mainly apply to new commercial manufacturing–fur taken with a hunting license will still be lawful.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals praised the new legislation. "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," Tracy Reiman, Executive Vice President of PETA, said in a statement on Friday. "PETA is proud to have worked with compassionate legislators to push these lifesaving laws forward and looks to other states to follow California's progressive lead."