Coats, gloves, keychains and anything else covered or decorated in fur will soon no longer be legal in San Francisco. City supervisors voted unanimously to ban the sale of fur, making San Francisco the largest city in the nation to outlaw fur product sales.
The legislation states that, "the sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the City’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness."
The ban takes effect Jan. 1, 2019, pending the mayor's approval, and applies to clothing or accessories made in whole or in part from fur, including handbags, shoes, slippers, hats, earmuffs, scarves, shawls, jewelry and more. Retailers have until Jan. 1, 2020 to sell the rest of their inventory.
"More than 50 million animals are violently killed each year around the world to support the fashion industry," said Supervisor Katy Tang, who introduced the fur sale ban legislation, in a statement after the vote. "San Francisco is a city with progressive values where we believe in the rights of all people as well as all living things – and it is not right to allow this practice to continue."
Both sides weigh in
The Humane Society says the vote sends the message that fur is not fashionable. (Photo: Claude Bélanger/flickr)
Not surprisingly, animal rights activists were ecstatic with the vote.
"This historic act will usher in a new wave of animal rights legislation across the globe," Wayne Hsiung, co-founder of Direct Action Everywhere and Compassionate Bay, said in a statement.
"With the vote, San Francisco, a major fashion center in the United States, has sent a clear message to fashion retailers and designers: fur is not fashionable," said Kitty Block, acting president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States and president of Humane Society International, in a blog post.
"The fur industry looks increasingly antiquated and desperate as it stands by the confinement of wild animals in tiny cages, and the suffering and misery that fur production entails. With cities like San Francisco taking a stand against this cruelty, it’s time for those still peddling fur to look to the future, which is decidedly fur-free."
Not everyone, however, is thrilled with the upcoming ban.
Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, said they had hoped to convince Tang to give businesses more time and gradually phase in the legislation, such as by first banning mink coats and then, in a few years, accessories. The ban, he said, will have a major impact on small boutique shops.
"It’s a changing world," Lazarus told the San Francisco Examiner. But he said "the question is what time do you give your local businesses to comply and not go out of business?"
San Francisco joins two other California cities, West Hollywood and Berkeley, which already ban fur sales.
Los Angeles may follow suit
Following in the footsteps of its fellow California city, Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 18, 2018 for the city attorney to write an ordinance prohibiting "the manufacture and sale of fur products, including apparel made in whole or in part of fur, or any fashion accessory." The only exception would be used fur items.
The ordinance needs to be presented to city council for final approval and is likely to pass given the council's initial unanimous vote. It would go into effect two years after final approval.
"The time is now," USA Today reports Councilman Bob Blumenfield said at a rally outside city hall before the vote was taken. "The greatness of a nation can be judged by how its animals are treated."
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in March 2018.