Coats, gloves, keychains and anything else covered or decorated in fur are no longer be legal in San Francisco. City supervisors voted unanimously last year 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 went into effect Jan. 1, 2019, 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
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, was thrilled with the 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 is next in line
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 was presented before city council again on Feb. 12, 2019, for final approval. But since there was no unanimous vote in support of the ban (one councilman voted no), the ordinance must have a second vote by the council before it's presented to the mayor.
There are several exemptions for fur that residents can purchase: used items sold at secondhand shops, pelts from taxidermy and fur legally acquired from a trapping license.
Editor's note: This article has been updated since it was originally published in March 2018.