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Mink coat. (Photo: Pinterest)

Deceptive Animal Extremists Behind California Fur Ban Legislation

‘It’s not about animal welfare, it’s about animal use’

By Katy Grimes, August 27, 2019 5:00 pm

‘The first casualty in this legislation was the truth.’


Fur is quickly becoming the new “guns and ammo” industry to hate and ban in California.

Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) is the author of AB 44, which would prohibit the sale and manufacture of new fur in California. From her home in Glendale, California, Friedman wants California to lead the nation in statewide fur bans. “Today there are a variety of humane alternatives, both in terms of faux fur that is virtually indistinguishable from real fur, and alternative textiles that are just as warm or fashionable,” Friedman says. “There is no need for fur in the 21st century and no place for it in a sustainable future.”

Animal rights groups like PETA and Direct Action Everywhere, have continued to voice strong support for Friedman’s bill.

Yet retailers fear that groups like bill sponsors PETA and Direct Action Everywhere, one of whose adherents recently charged a stage to swipe a microphone from US Sen. Kamala Harris, will organize protests at their retail stores. Or worse, that they would subject retailers and their clients to the kind of harassment and intimidation that they have experienced at the hands of animal extremists for years, including vandalism of their stores and homes, destruction of inventory and, in some cases, even the use of Molotov cocktails thrown into their stores.

Kaplan shared one such situation in 2017 in which animal activists were sentenced for splashing flesh-eating acid and other chemicals on the outside of a San Diego fur store, gluing their locks and spray-painting anti-fur screeds on the store’s exterior. The homes of the store owner and her elderly parents were similarly targeted.

Friedman called fur a “fashion statement and statement of wealth. There is no need for warmth” from fur, she said, mentioning the many faux fur products available.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood and Berkeley already have fur bans in place, but Assemblywoman Friedman wants fur formally banned throughout the state of California.

PETA demonstrators (Fur Commission USA)

Kaplan and fur industry representatives have offered amendments to Friedman four different times, “which she failed to accept or even discuss,” Kaplan said.

Friedman also claims she has not heard from fur industry retailers, however this is not true. “The first casualty in this legislation was the truth,” Kaplan said.

Teli Spyropoulos, President of BC International Group, Inc., one of the largest fur retailers, sent a letter to Friedman sharing his opposition to her bill, challenging her claim that she has not heard from any retailers:

“Many people (myself included), within our organization have been submitting letters since the bill was originally introduced to Assembly Members, Senators and to each of the committees who have heard AB44 to date,” Spyropoulos said.

He explained the economic importance of his industry:

“We currently operate over 80 locations nationally as well as an additional 40 locations internationally each respectively doing business as either: ‘The Fur Vault,’ ‘The Fur Salon’ or ‘Maximilian.’ BC International Group, Inc. holds the exclusive lease for fur departments in four major department stores, three of which are located within the state of California.”

“If AB44 were to pass, it would result in hundreds of jobs lost within the State of California as well as having an indirect impact on hundreds more who provide ancillary services to my salons as well as other furriers. California is home to some of our most successful locations and ceasing operation within the state would send a ripple effect across the country requiring us to eliminate additional positions within our organization as well as close additional locations. This does not only affect the individuals, but their families as well.”

The fur trade ranks as one of America’s oldest, continuously operating industries, with more than 400 years of history. The industry in the United States comprises more than 1000 fur retailers, 100 manufacturers, more than 200 small family farmers, and tens of thousands of trappers, all of whose businesses, jobs and livelihoods depend on the industry.  Retail fur sales in California, alone exceed $300 million, and is an important source of employment and tax revenues to the State.

For the fur activists who claim to care about animal welfare, fur farming is among the most sustainable forms of animal agriculture.  In the U.S., animals raised on fur farms are typically fed leftover proteins from food processing plants that humans do not eat, thereby diverting 390 million pounds of waste that would otherwise go to landfills. The manure generated by animals raised on fur farms is used as a rich fertilizer on local agricultural crops.  The by-products from the animal are used in many ways, e.g., the meat of the animal is used as bait for the crab fishing industry and as a biofuel and the oil from the animal is used in the cosmetics industry or as a leather conditioner.  Virtually no part of a farmed fur animal goes to waste.  Fur farming is consistent with the policy objectives of California to promote environmentally sound and sustainable agriculture and industry.

Keith Kaplan says California could pave the way as the leader in fur industry sustainability, instead of mandating a product ban. He said California could and should be the first to adopt the FurMark certification program of fur sustainability as a state requirement, and be the leader in animal welfare standards, taking regulations above and beyond the industry standards.

“AB 44 defies sustainability,” Kaplan said. “It’s horribly written smacks of a novice lawmaker,” referring to Friedman’s stubborn refusal to even discuss amendments or considering industry standards. Friedman said she won’t take amendments unless her bill sponsor agrees. “What about her constituents?” Kaplan asked.

Lies, Lies, Lies

Animal activists claim animals on fur farms are skinned alive. This is patently untrue. Not only is it a near physical impossibility, illegal and immoral, the fur would be damaged in the process. It would be a stupid business practice, as well as unnecessarily cruel.

Friedman claims there is no regulation on the fur industry. This is also untrue. Kaplan says fur farms are regulated by local and state laws, as are all farms. Truth About Fur says, “Furthermore, farmers who mistreat or do not provide proper care for their animals can be prosecuted under federal (and state/provincial) animal-cruelty laws.” And notably, the federal government regulates food safety, but not farms – that is left to local and state governments.

A proposed amendment says, “Friedman includes several exemptions in her bill that would allow for the use of certain animals or the use by certain cultural groups without any stated protection for the animals used nor stated guidelines for animal welfare.  It was claims of abuse from lack of regulation that led Ms. Friedman to introduce the bill in the first place and these exemptions create a direct contradiction to the objectives of the bill.  In fact, the exemptions leave open the possibility of animal use without application of animal welfare standards or any type of monitoring.”

Keith Kaplan wants lawmakers to ask themselves why supporters of a fur ban would lie to further their cause. “It’s not about animal welfare… it’s about animal use.”

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40 thoughts on “Deceptive Animal Extremists Behind California Fur Ban Legislation

  1. Elected officials like Laura Friedman should stay out of peoples closets and let their constituents decide for themselves whether to buy fur or not. It’s insane that so much time , money, effort is being spent on such a frivolous attempt to legislate morality when there are hundreds of thousands of homeless on the street. This is a vanity bill. It does nothing for animals, and only is an attempt by Laura Friedman to further her political career. Whatever happened to Freedom of Choice!?

    1. Where are the adults in the legislature? Laura Friedman is certainly not one. Apparently she is easily deceived by lies. She operates on emotion like a 3 year old. She covers her ears, “la-la-la I can’t HEAR you” style instead of listening to the sensible arguments of those who know volumes more about the fur industry than she could ever hope to learn, even if she were willing to learn, which she clearly is not.

      I’m repeating myself, but if you think the animal activists and terrorists (earth liberation front) will be satisfied and stop this destructive nonsense after they manage to ban fur you need to think again. It’s never enough and it’s never reasonable. Their methods are often illegal, usually unethical, sometimes make situations worse, and all of it makes them look much more wrong than their targets could ever look.

      What’s more they simply don’t have the right to tell other people how to live their lives. Laura Friedman’s ridiculous ideas about things are of no value to me or to most people who live in California. She does not have the right to impose her confused and flaky vision on the rest of us.

      1. ‘They don’t have the right to tell other people how to live”? You are killing another living being! The people they kill the animal, and the people that buy the animals fur, are telling someone else that they can decide who dies… for a coat! This is like trying to talk about ending slavery. “ we’ll lose our plantations! We’ll lose our workers! Then we’ll lose our homes!” The hell with the suffering of others. What about our right to live as we want to, abuse who we want to, and kill who we want to?” This should not even be up for debate. Humans have no right, absolutely none, to take an innocent animals life. Those crazy animal rights activists. In it to rescue animals from being tortured and killed for their bodies. And those sane, level headed furriers just wanting to put animals in cages and skin their fur off their bodies So they can continue to make money. How can anyone excuse them of being anything but businessmen wanting to make an honest living?

    2. What about the animals ‘freedom of choice’. Let people decide whether they want to torture animals or not? Why don’t we let people decide if they want to keep slaves or not. It’s their personal choice, after all. ( that took a few hundred years to convince white people that owning, torturing and generally making their lives a living hell, was not their right or their ‘personal choice’.
      These animals are innocent beings who have a right to live their lives without being exploited and killed by humans. For God’s sake you are ripping their bodies apart! What is wrong with you? These innocent animals are anally electrocuted so that someone can wear THEIR fur. Who has that right? There are plenty of clothing options that don’t include torturing and killing someone. And about all of those precious jobs that will be lost… As Jane Goodall once said, comparing those who kill animals for a living to the Guards at the Nazi Concentration Camps, if your job is torturing and killing another living being, then you need to find another career.

      1. It’s absurd that a state that openly endorses and promoted abortion–the killing of unborn human babies–bans fur outright. What about the animals rights, you ask? LOL. What about the unborn babies that are killed by the millions every year? Think about it. A woman has the right to kill her unborn baby, almost at any point, but she doesn’t have the right to go buy a fur trimmed coat. This makes no sense in any reality.

    3. Hear hear. Laura Friedman has not thought through this issue. Why is a personal choice of what I wear to keep myself warm on a cold winter night any business of anyone but myself. Instead she has chosen to put hundreds of fine furriers out of work and destroy their lives for a whim that was not thought through properly. Does she have a thought in her head? I actively protest this empty headed bill. I’m sorry our representatives do not know what the people want or need in Ca. What are you doing in Sacramento? You need to be recalled for your arrogance and empty headedness. You have done nothing but harm to the people. And the last time I checked it was people not animals you represented.

  2. Real fur is absolutely cruel and disgusting. There’s no place for real for in civilized society. That’s why the vast majority of people despise fur and support the ban of this horrific product.

    1. Yet, there’s a place for abortion on demand. Go figure. If a woman has a right to do what she wants with her body, then she has a right to wear a fur coat.

  3. As a CA native, I’m all for AB-44. Today’s market is full of fashionable, high-end alternatives to fur, so there’s no reason to gruesomely kill animals for their hair.

  4. With retailers and designers dropping fur right and left, the fur industry is on its last legs (much like the animals it barbarically kills). California has a chance to be ahead of the curve on this important issue, and it should take it.

    1. The industry in the United States comprises more than 1000 fur retailers, 100 manufacturers, more than 200 small family farmers. Retail fur sales in California, alone exceed $300 million.

      1. the raising/trapping and murder of sentient animals for fur or food–EXCEPT for those living off the land in the wild–is cruel and unethical, nevermind how many people it employs.

        nothing else needs to be said.

        katy grimes is a user.

      2. Your article is completely inaccurate! Watch the film “Dominion” and do ACTUAL factual based research and you’ll find how gruesome and horrific the fur industry truly is.

      3. I’m sure you wear fur, if you can wear fox fur I’m sure you can wear dog fur. Imagine being the fox stuck in a cage their whole life where they walk in dirty unclean cages and never even touch the earth’s surface. I’m sorry, I cannot wear such a sweet animal that can be very affectionate….

  5. It’s 2019; we have endless options for keeping warm and stylish without causing animals to suffer and die. It’s time to ban fur.

  6. “Lies, Lies, Lies”: That’s what we could say about this biased article. It’s hardly “extreme” to believe that other animals should not be abused and killed for frivolous fashion.

  7. Fur should be banned everywhere! No one even needs fur—except animals. Humans can wear faux fur or other warm and stylish cruelty-free options.

    1. @Heather : No need??? Should we determine what your needs are and then if you refuse to comply you’ll have to face threats, lies, hate, harassment, intimidation, and violence? By what right and sanction do you or the animal rights hate groups get to determine the needs of others? Wearing fur does not require approval from you, any group, or any level of government. What there is no need for and what needs to be banned is extremist vegan hate, lies, intolerance, and violence.

        1. @Roony Joe: Does an animal such as a fox or mink kill and consume other animals? Life consumes life, that is the nature in which everything on this earth lives, including you. Your very existence has caused and will continue to cause the death of animals until you yourself have passed. Yet, you want to stand there and preach to others that animals that die for their needs is cruel and unjustified, but those that die for yours is acceptable and justified? Being vegan/vegetarian does NOT save animals lives, take a real good look at the devastation that crop farming causes for a start and if you really have the courage to face the truth, or just bury your head in the sand and keep being force fed the lies of these animal rights hate groups.

      1. Animal rights groups are “hate groups” because they are protecting animals from being skinned alive by sick humans who want to wear their fur? Someone has to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. Can I start taking dogs and skinning them and selling their fur? I shouldn’t need anyone’s approval, right? A dog has no rights? That’s what you’re saying, correct? Animals are on this Earth for humans to torture, exploit and kill for whatever reason we choose. Who cares if they scream out in pain , who cares if they are after. They’re not living beings with families they love, and lives they love, like we are.. Right,JGM? You decide who lives and dies… as long as it benefits humans, who cares that they suffer and die. Even for a coat.

        1. @Betsy: Please name the fur farms you’ve visited where you’ve seen animals “skinned alive”, and also please name the owners of the fur farms since they obviously invited you there to witness the so-called “horrors” you claim them to be. Does your claim come from firsthand experience or just watching a video on the Internet posted by a malignant narcissistic hate group with an agenda? Of course, we all know if it’s on the Internet it must be true. If your claim of animals being skinned alive were true then every fur farm in the US, Canada, and EU could be shut down for being in violation of animal welfare laws. A quick search of these nation’s laws will show you that. So, why are these farms still in operation? Why have you or the animal rights hate groups not filed a lawsuit if these things are really happening? The only time animals get “skinned alive” is when one of these animal rights hate groups stages a video, and some of them have been convicted in a court of law for doing just that. Not one single snuff film any of these animal rights hate groups has been proven true or independently verified, NOT ONE!!! The reason for this is because they are lies. Getting information about fur or anything else from these animal rights hate groups is like getting information about race from the KKK.

          Yes, these animal rights groups are hate groups. Use the same means these groups employ such as hate, lies, intimidation, violence, harassment, etc. against people who have abortions or abortion providers and what would you call it? Those who have a moral objection to abortion like you have a moral objection to fur are trying to save lives just like you, aren’t they? In principle what’s the difference? There is none. So by your standard, anyone with a moral objection to anything such as certain religions, or gender identity, or sexual orientation, etc. can do the same thing and it’s no problem? Or is it hate? You pretend to represent a higher morality, so please name a higher morality that demands its followers do these things? Only the most evil would do these things, and that is what you represent.

          Finally, if you think being vegan/vegetarian does not harm animals then you really are clueless. Crop farming is devastating to wildlife and kills/displaces millions of animals every year, not to mention poisoning the ground and water from tons of synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. Given your definition of being “cruelty-free” you are in violation of what you pretend to represent and preach to others and are a hypocrite. The difference between something like fur and being vegan is that the lives of animals used for things like fur or meat are fully utilized while the animals that die from crop farming for you are just collateral damage and waste.

          1. Unfortunately, you are correct in some ways because China is the world’s largest fur producer. However, we must set an example and show the public the truth. This outdated barbaric exploitation has got to end. We have alternatives, so my question to you would be this: why harm animals when you don’t need to? 72 BILLION land animals alone are killed for meat every year. If we killed the human race at the same rate we would be all dead within 2 weeks. I think 72 Billion land animals eat far more than 7 billion humans. Crop deaths are horrible, but eating the body is directly causing the harm and suffering of next in line. You create the demand, just like all of us once did. Be reasonable. You can’t really give a shit about animals and eat their bodies. That’s hypocrisy. These animals are not fetuses, they are fully conscious and sentient beings with feelings and family and they suffer because of what we do to them.

            To say Animal Rights advocates are like the KKK means you don’t see animals as victims of violence. The farmers are the oppressors in this situation, my friend. You have to see things from the eyes of those who suffer in this situation. No animal goes willingly into a slaughterhouse. Don’t be on the side of these exploitative and cruel industries. Be on the right side of history dude.

            -Justin Allen West

          2. To Justin Allen West’s comment below:

            China is the largest auction buyer of fur raised in western nations (U.S., Canada, EU). They buy the processed furs at auction, manufacture the garments, and then export them back to western nations for retail. What domestic fur from China that is sold in western nations is typically cheap trim on mass produced nylon jackets.

            Your claim that those who take the lives of animals can’t love or care about animals or is violence against animals is nothing more than your biased opinion, not a fact, and opinions only apply to you. If I applied your opinion to say abortion would it be true that those who have an abortion can not love or care about children, too? You say I need to see the situation from another perspective, yet this is exactly what you fail to do. You demand that others live according to your opinions merely because you don’t like or approve of their choices and feel there is no need instead of seeing their perspective. Should we try to force our ways on you by the same manner, or would you demand your right to make that choice for yourself and see it from your perspective? The answer is pretty obvious, but too bad you can’t see things from our perspective. You say there is no “need”, who on earth are you to determine my needs? By what right and what sanction are you or anyone else allowed to make this judgment for everyone else? What there is no need for is extremist vegan hate, lies, intolerance, and violence. Take your own words, and see things from the perspective of others instead of preaching your false morality which is nothing more than malignant narcissism.

            Does an animal willingly give it’s life to another animal, too? Of course not. Animals have no moral qualms about using or consuming other animals for their survival. There are three main causes of death for animals: disease, starvation, and predation. Predation is the quickest and most humane of them. Life consumes life regardless of what we eat or wear, and that is the nature in which every living being on this earth exists, and we are no different.

        2. Hey Betsy, animals are not skinned alive for fur. It is a heavily regulated industry. If you had critical thinking skills, it doesn’t even make sense to skin an animal alive. The fur industry uses the same methods approved by veterinarian societies. In terms of what is necessary or unnecessary. a hamburger is no more “necessary” than a fur coat, yet a hamburger is somehow acceptable?

  8. Can throw as much mud you like on Peta or whatever activists, but the real topic should be if we really need fur in this time and age.
    The article says that fur animals are not skinned alive. That’s false and with a simple Google search you can actually see the videos. Videos were the animals are still moving their heads after they’ve been skinned.
    Even if this is not happening in specific fur farms, is it actually ok that all the animals in fur farms are living their entire existence in small cages, breeded and then killed?
    And what do we get from killing them? A coat. Why me, as a customer, should I choose a real fur coat when I have so much choice for more modern, fashionable, more easy to maintain, lighter weighted, cruelty free, equally warm, faux fur options? Just because is…nice?

    1. Hey Shark. Those videos are taken from questionable sources. The western world does not skin animals alive and just because you see some extreme videos doesn’t change that. Adopt some critical thinking skills and stop believing a random video on the internet. PETA was sued in a European court years ago for showing videos that had nothing to do with actual practices, and they lost. They could not validate the source of the videos; they’re just used for propaganda. For all you know, PETA produced those videos on its own.

  9. What a load of crap. It’s the fur industry who has the incentive to lie. Not activists who simple want to reduce animal suffering. You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such drivel.

  10. The people saying to do research on fur are constantly parroting the same fake propaganda by PETA for years, with your research simply by watching the few same videos on Youtube. I know those of you who hate fur will refuse to listen and have your views change, but I’m going to state a few facts about fur.

    -Those videos of animals skinning alive have been disproved as fake. Created by PETA themselves as way of fearmongering. They hired poor people in China to who were just looking to make a living.

    -Even regardless of that, the fur farming elsewhere in the world, particularly Europe and the US where a lot of the furs come from, are heavily regulated to ensure everything is done humanely. They know all eyes are on them, so why would they perform cruel skinning processes?

    -I know this is crazy for you to think, but skinning alive actually damages the fur! It’s the opposite of getting a high quality product. With furs being luxury products, why would they want to skin the fur alive and get even lower quality materials? They don’t, which is why skinning alive is false. You wouldn’t create a BMW or Tesla by throwing dirt on it and scratching it.

    -Faux fur is constantly brought up as an alternative. Faux fur is not degradable and is highly toxic for the environment. It is incredibly worse off that buying and wearing real fur. And with faux fur being toxic, that not only hurts the planet for humans, but yes, also the animals that live in it.

    Maybe actually do some actual real research into the fur industry instead of having an emotional bias and continuing to watch fake propaganda to confirm your bias and view. Get your information from an unbiased source rather than PETA’s website. Do more than “a simple Google search” and only looking at the same fake videos.

    1. Amen! It’s amazing how easy it is to brainwash people in the modern era. They see a video on the internet and don’t even question its source or how it was produced. They use emotional arguments to make laws that are then applied to all people. CA is a state that openly encourages and accepts abortion on demand, even late term abortions, but they outlaw fur?!!! How is that even logical? A woman can have her baby killed on demand at any point prior to birth, but she can’t go buy a coat with a fur collar! Unbelievable.

  11. If vegans want to ban fur because it means the death of an animal then they can not support being vegan either. The most suffering of all is caused by the practice of annual agriculture, which is the cultivation of vegetables, including corn, grains, beans, rice, etc., that only take one year to grow from seed to food. We displace countless wild animals from their homes and landscapes when we cultivate annual crops. Not only that, we also kill millions of creatures world wide when we till the soil and harvest the crops. Then there’s the poisoning of the ground and water from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Crop farming is devastating to wildlife. I live in a farming community, and I own a farm myself and see it first hand. Any vegan lifestyle kills more animals then fur farming. The difference is that the lives of animals raised for their fur or meat are fully utilized. The lives of animals killed by crop farming are nothing more than collateral damage and wasted.

    Those who want to ban fur are not interested in humane farming practices, they want a complete ban. Their claims about wanting to ban fur because of fur farms are disingenuous because no matter how well the animals are treated they are going to be euthanized. They target fur farms because they know most people do not object to fur or meat if animals are humanely raised and humanely euthanized, which they are. The animal rights hate groups take advantage of the fact that most people, including themselves, have never set foot on any farm much less a fur farm. Yet they stand there and pretend to know everything about fur farms because they watch a video on the internet that has never been independently verified by anyone and some have proven in a court of law to have been staged by these same groups. Let anyone who makes any claim about any fur farm name the farms they’ve visited personally and provide the name of the owners since they obviously invited them there to witness the so-called horrors animals are supposedly having to endure. Then please explain why they never contacted the police to file a complaint for violating animal welfare laws.

    The animal rights groups are nothing more than a malignant narcissistic hate group. Getting information about fur or anything else from these groups is like getting information about race from the KKK. They pretend to represent a higher morality, but please name any higher morality that demands its followers use force, fear, intimidation, lies, hate, and violence to achieve its implementation and ends? Only the most evil does such things. They harass and protest furriers and retailers adopting the same means just as the Nazi thugs did to Jews in Germany in the 1930’s. If any so-called morality demands its followers do such things then they need to find a new set of morals.

    1. Animal rights groups are modern Nazis, imposing their lifestyle choices on others at will through threats and intimidation under the guise that they are morally superior. The idea that animals are protected by banning fur is absurd on the surface. First, animals are not “tortured” for fur. They’re treated very well and actually live longer in captivity than they would in the wild, where they would likely die a horrible death (ironically). Wild fur is obtained primarily from rodents and animals whose populations grow exponentially. Many wild animals will die from disease, starvation, from other animals and even on highways. Banning fur just takes rights away from humans; it does nothing for animals; however, small minded people cannot accept this because it bothers them.

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