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California Fur Ban: Assemblywoman Friedman Calls it a ‘Statement of Wealth and Fashion’

Small family-owned fur farms most impacted by CA ban on fur

By Katy Grimes, March 27, 2019 2:05 am

Hawaii may be the first state to ban fur products. While this may seem laughable given the balmy tropical climate, a California lawmaker is also trying to ban fur products and clothing, ahead of the Hawaii ban, despite the many diverse climates within the 164,000 square miles of California. San Diego to Siskiyou, Death Valley to Bodie State Park (near Bridgeport, Mono County), temperatures range from 110 degrees to -5 degrees, where people wear fur for warmth.

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.”

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

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.

Tuesday the Assembly Judiciary Committee held a hearing on AB 44, which was charged with a lot of emotion.

After listening to witnesses in support of Friedman’s bill, Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Marysville) said, “this makes me more sympathetic with the opposition.” Gallagher spoke about the small family-owned fur farms, albeit there are not many in California. “It is inhumane to raise animals for fur only, but not for meat and fur?” Gallagher asked Friedman.

“Wild animals are being kept in small cages or hunted and trapped and left to die in the wild,” Friedman said in response. “There’s a high probability they have suffered.”

Gallagher asked Assemblywoman Friedman if she’d ever visited a fur farm. “No, but I have the Los Angeles Zoo in my district and see wild animals kept in captivity,” Friedman said.  “Keeping them in small cages is inhumane. It is my contention that animals want to roam.”

“We raise chickens in cages,” Gallagher said. “Is that humane?” Friedman referred to California’s legislation and ballot initiative which voters passed to eliminate the use of chickens in cages in egg production.

Gallagher said if Friedman’s bill was passed, the same logic could be applied to the raising of cows and chickens. He was immediately admonished by Committee Chairman Assemblyman Mark Stone (D-Santa Cruz). “Don’t try to argue the bill in a different form,” Stone said. “I’m arguing implications of this bill,” Gallagher answered. Stone called it “speculation.”

Gallagher addressed the size and importance of the fur industry: “This is a large industry – $350 billion of manufactured goods in the U.S.,” he said. “If we get rid of this, we have faux fur, which puts more plastics in the water stream.”

“If you really want fur, you can use sheep and cow fur,” Friedman said. “Generally, I am concerned about polyester.”

Gallagher told Friedman her responses were emotional. “This shows there are a lot of problems with this bill.”

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.”

Assemblyman Gallagher said the bill raised legal issues surrounding the dormant Commerce Clause  because it effects people and businesses in other states and their ability to sell to other states. Friedman said the Judiciary Committee analysis specifically addressed the issue: “This bill raises no reasonable dormant Commerce Clause concerns because it does not apply discriminatorily to out-of-state commerce,” the committee analysis said. Yet, the dormant Commerce Clause implies from the Commerce Clause: “One of the underlying purposes of the Commerce Clause is to allow the federal government to prevent economic discrimination between states. Selling goods between Alabama and Mississippi should not be as difficult as selling goods between the United States and Russia.”

Assemblyman James Gallagher

In a dormant Commerce Clause case, a court is not only concerned with whether the law discriminates against out-of-state businesses or has the effect of favoring in-state economic interests over out-of-state interests, it determines whether the interstate burden imposed by a law outweighs the local benefits.

The International Fur Federation contacted California Globe about AB 44, and its own opposition to the bill: “Californians should be free to choose sustainable, natural fur,” said Nancy Daigneault, vice president of IFF. “While we support the bill sponsor’s goal to improve animal welfare, this bill would even ban humanely produced fur.”

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.

Following the hearing, a Capitol employee noted how tone-deaf the fur ban bill is, given that Gov. Gavin Newsom just issued a blanket eight-year clemency to death row criminals, ignoring the victims and families of victims. “We are arguing about the importance of treatment of animals, and the governor just gave heinously violent death row inmates, who are out of appeals, an eight-year pass,” he said.

The committee voted 9-2, and passed AB 44.

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8 thoughts on “California Fur Ban: Assemblywoman Friedman Calls it a ‘Statement of Wealth and Fashion’

  1. I think that jacket Friedman has on is made of wool. Wool! How dare she? How many sheep were sheared to make her jacket? This is not a comfortable process for those animals. Everyone knows that. But there she is, selfishly wearing wool anyway, for whatever reason, maybe just for “fashion.” It’s so inhumane and unnecessary. I demand that she not wear wool. It’s wrong! And those glasses she has on. Plastic? I think so. I don’t think she should be wearing glasses made of plastic. They might end up in the ocean and endanger ocean life or the ocean ecosystem. The earpieces are long and narrow and pointy and might poke ocean life or get caught somewhere where they can’t be dislodged. As everyone knows, that is very wrong. And unnecessary. And what about that nail polish? Does she not know about the many dangers of nail polish?

    1. Not to mention, those plastic eyeglasses are made from OIL! Apparently this woman is fine with Mother Gaia being pierced and it’s rocky underlayment being fractured just so she can read! Has she no conscience?
      I stand with our dreamy Governor Newsom! I say California should be Fossil Fuel Free by ’33!!! And I’m certain the governor’s good friends, the Gettys, stand with me.

    1. Your comment made me think of Thomas Sowell’s observation, “There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs.”

  2. I cannot believe any intelligent group of people, yet alone elected officials would have even considered AB 44 prohibiting the sale of fur items at any level in America.
    Like any solid business, the fur industry has contributed to the economy and livelihood of countless generations of working people. The artisan craft of making a fur garment is irreplaceable by any chemical contaminating impostor material. The fur trade acts responsibly in breeding, harvesting and trapping our natural resource which is 100% renewable and green before anyone started using that trendy catch phrase.
    For any government agency to make our product illegal to make or sell or possibly even wear is against any consumer’s freedom of choice. People have donned fur fashions since the beginning of civilization. The current arguments from radical animal rights activists are ignorant and misinformed.
    Working in New York City’s fur industry for close to 30 years, I love my job and the communistic thought of banning any consumer product will take away from me and all others with businesses and employment in the fur industry our livelihood to support our families and contribute economic growth.
    It is unimaginable that this government made a mockery of our right to make, sell, purchase or wear fur fashions and related items. This is a direct violation against all things American which will open the flood gates for countless other industries to be annihilated. Shame on you elected California “officials” – you have officially violated our commerce and purchasing choices.

    1. AMEN. Apparently our leftist legislators want to get rid of ALL successful businesses, either by banning their products or driving companies out of state. It’s a particularly bizarre and destructive thing to do when these “electeds” spend like drunken sailors. Where do they think their spending money comes from?

  3. Legislators in NYC are clearly not education in this area, they are following the press……….I’m sure these NYC legislators don’t wear any leather goods either, or eat it meat, or…………?

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