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San Francisco Becomes First Major US City to Ban Fur

San Francisco is taking a stance on animal welfare, and its latest move marks a major step for fur as a raw material.

The city became the first major U.S. city to ban the sale and manufacturing of new fur apparel, and some feel the action could lead other locales to follow suit.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-0 on Tuesday in support of an ordinance proposed by Supervisor Katy Tang that will prohibit the sale of new fur clothing and accessories in San Francisco. The ban aims to demonstrate that animal cruelty in product supply chains is unacceptable and inconsistent with the city’s values.

“More than 50 million animals are violently killed each year around the world to support the fashion industry,” Tang said. “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.”

The ordinance, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2019, will prohibit the sale of new fur in the city, as well as the manufacturing of any fur products. The ruling will not apply to leather products, lambskin or sheep products, non-apparel products and secondhand products. Any businesses that commits a first violation will have to pay up to $500 per item, per day following the ordinance’s start date. On Tuesday, Tang amended the ordinance to include a one-year amnesty ending Jan.1, 2020, to accommodate retailers that can show proof of purchase before Mar. 20, 2018.

According to the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco is the first major U.S. city to pass a ban on fur sales, and the action could serve as a catalyst for similar moves across the nation. Other California-based cities have previously passed similar bans, including West Hollywood in 2011 and Berkeley in 2017. European nations, including The Netherlands, Norway and the U.K., have also issued laws that ban fur farming.

Animal welfare organizations, including Humane Society International (HSI) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), lauded San Francisco’s ban on fur sales.

“San Francisco has today put itself on the map as a world-leading city in kind, progressive law making. The fur trade is responsible for the suffering and death of more than 100 million animals a year, either kept in tiny cages to be killed by gassing or electrocution or trapped in the wild waiting hours or days to be shot, all for fashion,” HSI CEO Kitty Block said in a statement. “Today, San Francisco has said a resounding ‘no’ to that suffering, so this is an exciting and historic vote both for animals and compassionate consumerism, and we hope that the world is watching. Let’s see this ban replicated in cities, states and countries across the world.”

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PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews also praised San Francisco for its fur-free ban.

“San Francisco’s fur ban reflects the public sentiment that animals shouldn’t be caged, bludgeoned and even skinned alive for fur coats, collars and cuffs,” Mathews told Sourcing Journal. “Since designers such as Gucci, Michael Kors and Versace have all ditched fur, it’s clear that the future of fashion is fur-free.”

San Francisco’s fur sale ban comes on the heels of other animal welfare initiatives, as major fashion players continue to improve their sourcing and supply chain operations. Accessories label Furla and Italian fashion house Versace recently pledged to stop using real fur in their products—joining a slew of other fashion leaders, including Gucci and Michael Kors, that have also elevated their animal welfare commitments.

On Wednesday, Donatella Versace, Versace’s artistic director, told The Economist’s 1843 magazine that she will no longer use fur in her products. “Fur? I am out of that,” Versace said in an interview with the magazine. “I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.”

According to Reuters, Furla on Thursday said it will also replace all real fur with faux for its men’s wear and women’s wear garments, starting with its upcoming Cruise 2019 collection.