The first duty of the government is to protect its citizens. Former President Ronald Reagan understood this and had another take on it: “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”
Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) is authoring AB 44, which would prohibit the sale and manufacture of new fur in California. “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.”
Yet California state and local governments put limits on human activities frequently. Examples are California’s plastic straw ban, banning plastic shopping bags, the foie gras ban, and in Berkeley, San Francisco, Los Angeles and West Hollywood, fur sales are banned. Now, state lawmakers want a statewide ban of fur sales.
“Those in opposition argue that the fur industry is regulated, and a ban may encourage a black market that will worsen conditions for animals,” bill analysis reports. “They maintain that banning the sale of fur products will result in a loss in sales and tax revenue. The opposition states that this bill reduces individual rights, and will encourage a slippery slope that may result in leather, wool, or meat product bans in the future.”
Assemblywoman Friedman’s bill, sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, and Animal Hope in Legislation, would make California the first state in the country to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, give donate or otherwise distribute a fur product in the state.
This is a curious ban, supported by the author’s revulsion of the idea of killing animals for their fur. “…there are still thousands of animals every year that are viciously maimed and murdered for only their fur,” Friedman said in a press statement. “This practice is not only entirely outdated and unnecessary, it’s completely out of line with our state’s values.”
However, there are recent discoveries that faux fur may not be a viable substitute for the real thing, especially since they are finding plastic microfibre pollution in water, caused in part by the use of synthetic fabrics, the Truth About Fur reported. “Articles by Drapers, ABC, and Refinery 29, find fake fur is mostly made out of synthetic materials and it sheds which can be an environmental concern.”
Friedman lives in balmy Southern California where average temperatures hover in the 70’s and 80’s. But in Northern California in El Dorado, Placer, Lassen, Siskiyou, Trinity, Plumas and Shasta Counties, there is 50 feet of snow in the higher elevations and temperatures are in the mid-teens. People up in the North part of the state use animals for all kinds of purposes, including warmth. “We wear many types of animal products in order to protect ourselves from the elements,” the Truth About Fur says. “Fashion may not be essential, but clothing is.”
There are sensible cases to be made of bans on the sale of things harmful to people. But fur isn’t dangerous to the anyone – other than to perhaps trigger allergies in some wearers. If fur is banned, why not ban leather which is also animal skin and requires the killing of animals to use? Is a ban on cow, pig and poultry meat next? Where do these bans stop? Is it cruel to sheer sheep? Is California also headed for “meatless Mondays” because some lawmakers don’t eat meat?
I’m willing to bet Assemblywoman Friedman and her colleagues who support this bill wear leather shoes and belts, carry leather purses, wallets, portfolios and briefcases, drive cars with leather seats, and some wear goat-skin gloves. Is this cruel?
Fur is an important and successful business. About half the furs produced in North America are now farm-raised. Worldwide, the figure is closer to 85 percent.
Is Assemblywoman Friedman trying to harm the fur business and the California retailers who carry fur products?
“Californians love their animals and wildlife. Skinning animals or farming fur for fashion or other accessories is contrary to those values, and I believe it’s no longer necessary in a 21st century society,” said Assemblyman Todd Gloria (D-San Diego). “It’s clear Californians want us to lead on this issue and that is what we are doing with AB 44.”
“When anti-fur cultists are outside fur stores, attacking small businesses, spitting on Indigenous and Canadian heritage, and claiming to be animal saviors, they are dressed head to toe in synthetic clothing that will never biodegrade, and will pollute habitats and kill animals en masse for millennia,” the Truth About Fur said.