California is now the first US state to prohibit the sale and manufacture of new fur products under a bill signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday.
Newsom also signed multiple other animal welfare bills into law on Saturday, including legislation banning wild animals from being used in circuses and instituting a moratorium on hunting, trapping or killing bobcats.
The new fur law makes it illegal to manufacture,Import, sell or distribute a fur product in the state. It applies to clothing, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats or key chains that contain fur — providing a civil penalty for violation.
The new fur law, which takes effect in 2023, was lauded by animal rights activists despite fervent opposition from the billion-dollar U.S. fur industry and threats of a lawsuit from the Fur Information Council of America.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare, and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Newsom said in a statement. “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.”
A spokesperson for the Fur Information Council said in a statement the new law is part of a “radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat.”
Couture designers like Versace, Gucci and Giorgio Armani have either stopped using fur or pledged to in their collections and designers like Stella McCartney use no animal products in their designs.
“The signing of AB 44 underscores the point that today’s consumers simply don’t want wild animals to suffer extreme pain and fear for the sake of fashion,” Kitty Block, CEO and president of the Humane Society, said.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, the fur industry contributes to the suffering and death of more than 100 million animals worldwide each year.
The law has a few exceptions, including the use of fur products for religious or tribal purposes as well as leather, dog and cat fur, cowhides, deer, sheep and goatskin and taxidermy.