Leave it to California to lead the way in the banning of fur. California may already lead the nation in banning other things most people take for granted– witness plastic carryout bags banned in Pasadena, plastic straws in Santa Barbara and other cities, bonfires on the beach in some areas, napping in libraries or wearing too much perfume that might interfere with a librarian’s nose, Christmas nativity scenes and feeding birds in Santa Monica, and foie gras; not to mention the state now bans selling animals from breeders in pet stores.
You may be wondering what’s left to ban in the sunshine state. The answer to that is fur. Beautiful, all-natural fur. The Los Angeles City Council is considering a ban on the manufacture and sale of fur.
West Hollywood, a hot spot for grassroots animal rights-driven Causes; San Francisco, a hot spot for radical left ideas; and Berkeley, a hot spot for everything, already ban the sale of fur. San Francisco’s ban goes into effect in January 2019. If the measure passes in Los Angeles, the city would become the largest American metro area to ban the sale and production of fur.
According to the L.A. Times, more than a dozen animal rights activists met with Councilman Paul Koretz at City Hall to discuss the issue on August 1. Koretz and fellow council member Bob Blumenfield promptly filed a motion, suggesting that they are easy to persuade. Either that or the Motion was already planned and ready to go. Perhaps the proposal was even written for them by an animal rights group, such as, the Humane Society of the United States which often happens. In their haste to file the motion, the council members neglected to include a definition of fur which might present something of a problem.
Koretz asked several questions that had been posted by the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst, including what economic effects or job losses might result from banning fur sales. Koretz told the crowd that didn’t worry him personally.
“Animal cruelty is animal cruelty, and if we lose a few jobs, that’s life,” he said to a group at the August 1 Committee hearing. People who lose their jobs might not see it that way.
Fur farmers losing their livelihood in the midwest while fur retailers are forced to close their doors in Los Angeles at the whim of City Council Members like Koretz is serious business. Afterall, it has obviously been set in Koretz’ sights for some time since he has been courted by well-funded animal rights groups such as HSUS. (Pictured below)
One question, in particular, should concern Californians: What economic impacts (with respect to businesses, jobs, and revenues) will result from a ban on the manufacture and sale of fur?
The Office of Finance does not keep track of fur sales specifically, but according to the 2012 Economic Census, the total retail sales for the product category “Furs and Fur Garments” was $0.36 billion in California. The State Board of Equalization reports that statewide taxable sales of all outlets, including “Furs and Fur Garments,” totaled $558.39 billion in 2012. In order to mitigate the economic impacts on fur retailers, San Francisco will provide a one-year cushion after the ban takes effect to sell any fur products that they purchased prior to the ordinance adoption date.
That’s a lot of money, even in California. The year 2012 was still a recession year. The economy is healthier now so furriers could presumably expect higher sales this year and in the near future.
But Koretz doesn’t care if people lose jobs or if furriers go out of business. Or, if California loses all that tax money, apparently.
The city’s furriers, however, are not happy about the proposed ordinance. Fur industry representatives sharply dispute claims about the industry’s animal cruelty and mistreatment made by the animal rights extremists. According to groups such as The Truth About Fur, the industry is highly regulated and gruesome film footage shown by activists is staged.
In fact, PETA has admitted that their hit piece on fur, called “Skinned Alive,” is based on a myth. From a PETA statement: “Skinning animals alive is not a practical way to do things, and PETA has never suggested that animals are intentionally slaughtered this way.” PETA and other animal rights groups have repeatedly been chastised by courts around the world for violating truth in advertising laws with their videos about fur.The videos are faked and the scenes are acted out just for the cameras.
The Truth About Furargues that it is ethical to buy and wear fur with the following conditions:
- The existence of the species should not be threatened.
- No unnecessary pain or cruelty should be inflicted.
- The killing should serve an important use.
- The killing should involve a minimum of waste.
While West Hollywood already bans fur, it has not been without controversy. One fur shop sued the city, claiming that it had overstepped its authority. Eventually, West Hollywood was forced to carve out an exemption for fur products made from animals taken under a state trapping license. The same exemption would exist for any fur ban in California. Prior to making that exception, the West Hollywood ban was already seen as largely symbolic since fur shoppers could easily go to Los Angeles or Beverly Hills to buy fur.
Mindy Patterson, President of The Cavalry Group, a member-based company whose mission is to protect and defend the rights of all legal animal enterprise nationwide, had this to say about pending fur bans, “Local city councils considering fur bans have been coerced strictly by animal rights groups with their targeted intimidation, lies, and emotional propaganda pushing the premise that any animal use is animal abuse. Fur farmers are legal businesses which are heavily regulated, practicing time-tested animal husbandry practices to ensure the health and well-being of their animals.”
Patterson also stated, “Banning fur in the cities will not change the demand for real fur in America. In order to meet the demand, Americans will be forced to import fur from countries where there may be lesser or zero standards for animal care in order to meet the demand for real fur in the U.S. If L.A. City Council members truly care about animals, they should consider keeping the manufacture and sale of fur legal here in the U.S. where animals are treated with great care.”
In L.A.’s Fashion District, shop owner Paul Naim said it would be unfair to stop consumers from buying his products.
“First it’s what you wear, then it’s what you can eat,” Naim said. “It’s not what democracy is supposed to be.”
Indeed, bans based on personal biases, like some of the bans that have been imposed or attempted in Los Angeles and other California cities, take away our freedom of choice from citizens based on nothing more than the whims of an angry mob. Animal rights issues are often emotion-based so it can be easy to whip people into a frenzy, especially when groups use lies and staged videos. Americans – and Californians are no exception – have big hearts, so they can be swayed by pleas to help animals. Rescue animals, elephants and circus animals, party ponies – the list goes on. Now it’s fur-bearing animals. People always seem ready to believe that animals are being mistreated so humans can make a buck. The truth is that we have laws and regulations in place that guarantee the care of these animals. Bans will only hurt your fellow citizens without helping any animals.
This fur ban, if passed, sets a dangerous precedent for incremental law. If they pass a law banning fur, it’s not a huge leap to ban leather next, then all animal parts and tissue. A ban on the meat industry is not a stretch, either. In fact, it’s not far off when you consider that Los Angeles has already been named the “most vegan-friendly city” by PETA.
Fur, leather, wool: These are some of our oldest agricultural products in America. They are all natural and humans have been wearing fur for thousands of years. We should celebrate fur instead of trying to ban it.
Moving forward, Councilman Koretz requested that staffers research and report back possible conflicts that the new rules could pose, such as the legal ramifications regarding the fur hats often worn by Hasidic Jewish men.
Under the proposal from Councilmen Bob Blumenfield and Paul Koretz, Los Angeles would prohibit businesses from selling fur products, including clothing, hats, handbags, or key chains trimmed with real fur, unless they were selling used goods. Manufacturing fur products would also be forbidden. But what else would you expect from a city that is considering forcing shelter dogs to eat a vegan diet, despite scientific opposition from veterinarians?
Hey, America! Do you enjoy those cozy warm Ugg boots, or maybe you just purchased a new leather purse or saddle. What about that juicy steak you just enjoyed with your family? If you don’t see how all those things we enjoy are at risk under a legislative banning of the manufacture and sale of fur products, think again.
If you wish to oppose the ban by sending a letter to the Los Angeles City Council, please click this link.
Carlotta Cooper is a contributing writer for The Cavalry Group and the Vice President of Sportsmen’s and Animal Owners’ Voting Alliance and breed columnist for the AKC Gazette.