On Oct. 12, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill No. 44, the Fur Products: Prohibition Act, making California the first state to ban the sale of new clothing and accessories made of fur.
However, this doesn’t mean California is getting rid of fur right away. In fact, the bill won’t take effect until January 2023.
In order for the law to be truly effective, it needs to protect all animals from being hunted and needs to be enforced earlier than in three years.
The law defines fur as “animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece, or fur fibers attached thereto,” according to the California legislative website.
According to an article in The New York Times, the law’s definition of fur is “mink, sable, chinchilla, lynx, fox, rabbit, beaver, coyote, and other luxury furs.”
The law therefore only protects certain animals from being skinned; the article points out that cowhide, deerskin, sheepskin and goatskin is not protected. This allows leather jackets to still be sold because the law does not recognize these skins as fur.
Despite the efforts this law makes, the fur ban won’t stop people from wearing and purchasing fur.
The New York Times article points out that the law is only about selling fur, “it is perfectly legal for any California resident to travel to, say, Las Vegas, buy a big fur coat and show it off back home.”
Despite these loopholes, the time aspect of the law is its most aggravating part. California already has fur bans in place in some cities, so it doesn’t make sense to wait three years for the statewide ban to be implemented.
According to an article by the Los Angeles Times, there are fur bans in West Hollywood, Berkley and San Francisco that began in 2013, 2017 and 2019 respectively. Plus, Los Angeles just passed a fur ban law on Feb. 12 of this year, which will start to be enforced in 2021.
If our major cities are already ready to ban fur, can’t the whole state do it sooner?
In a statement released by his office, Newsom said, “California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur.”
However, the statement failed to mention why the fur ban will take so long to take effect. Even when I contacted Newsom’s office, I was simply directed to the statement release.
“Personally, I just don’t think it’s natural in a way, you know, because we’re wearing another animal’s skin and fur on us [but] we kinda have our own,” said California Lutheran University first-year Angelina Leanos, who is vegan.
I agree: wearing an animal’s skin to clothe us and keep us warm feels unnecessary. If we’re cold we can get a jacket or coat made of another material or buy a faux fur coat if the appeal of fur seems that great.
Leanos said she believes the ban is progressive, but until other states ban furs as well, animals won’t truly be protected.
This law is a step forward; Los Angeles is a major city in the fashion industry and there is talk that this law will spark change in other cities and states.
However, because of the law’s limitations, it is just the beginning and there is still a long way to go.