Each year the fur industry kills more than 50 million animals in the name of fashion. Now, for the first time in America, a city has made it illegal to profit from this animal cruelty.
As of last week, West Hollywood became the first city to take a stand against animal cruelty in the fashion industry by banning the sale of wearable animal furs in retail stores.
City council members passed the law unanimously two years ago, following a heated debate on the issue of animal cruelty, but the law didn’t go into effect until last week. The ban applies to wearable fashion only, so furniture, blankets, or leather products are exempt. Any retailer found violating the ban three times in a year faces a misdemeanor charge.
West Hollywood has long declared itself a “cruelty-free zone for animals,” first banning the sale of cats and dogs, then banning cat declawing and live animal performances.
“We’ve consistently worked to enact cutting-edge animal welfare legislation,” city spokeswoman Tamara White told ABC. “This is in line with our values.”
High Fashion Responds
High-end retailers are outraged, declaring it a slap in the face. Retailers with multiple stores are moving their fur apparel to other locations and independent boutiques are hoping that retailers will buy back their pricey fur pieces.
“The furs are sometimes the most expensive pieces in the collection, so it affects sales dramatically, especially if you sell it at a larger percentage,” Darel Adams, owner of Kin store on Sunset Boulevard told the LA Times. “To cut off someone’s big-ticket item makes it hard for a business to survive.”
Despite the fact that most Americans are outraged by animal cruelty, the fur trade is a huge industry in the U.S. According to Last Chance for Animals, “In 2009, there were approximately 300 fur farms in the United States. Wisconsin has the most farms (71), followed by Utah (65), Oregon, Minnesota, and Idaho.” Minks are in particular demand, in the U.S., 3 million were killed for their pelts in 2011 alone. But with so many compassionate alternatives to fur available, it’s hard to justify the need for such outward animal cruelty in the name of high fashion.
Image: Matt Kowal