In February 2019, the vegan paradise of Los Angeles voted to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur in the city beginning Jan. 1, 2021. By October, the entire state was on board: Governor Gavin Newsom signed new legislation that would ban the sale, donation, and manufacture of fur products with few exceptions (one being fur products used by Native American tribes) beginning January 1, 2023. Seems pretty progressive, right? Except, of course, every state has their own Boston and for California, that’s San Francisco: the tech hub wants its fur back, pretty please.
According to the Fashion Law, The International Fur Federation (“IFF”) has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California which claims that the fur ban is not only unconstitutional, it is “so arbitrary as to be ridiculous.” Those Cruella types believe the bill does nothing for “the welfare of any animals in San Francisco,” and because it interferes with commerce, violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
The IFF also argues that the bill really only applies to fur products from animals in other states and countries because no animal is trapped and raised solely for their fur in the San Francisco area—so, therefore, the bill lacks a “local purpose.”
“While preventing what a local government may perceive as cruelty to animals has been recognized as a legitimate government interest, that purpose is—by definition—not ‘local’ when it comes to the welfare of animals in other cities, states, and countries,” the complaint reads. “Improving the welfare of fur animals in Wisconsin or Denmark, for example, is certainly a legitimate local purpose of the people and their governments in Wisconsin or Denmark, it is not one as to which San Francisco—which does not even have any fur farming or commercial trapping operations within its own jurisdiction—can legislate.”
That seems like some truly creative galaxy-brain thinking to me, boiling down to “bad fur comes from elsewhere so we can’t regulate the trade in our own city, sorry!” It is clear that this is a concern about making money.
According to the document, the IFF wants to see a permanent injunction against the enforcement of the fur ban. If that happens, it will be interesting to see how that effects the rest of the state—and others in the United States that may be interested in curbing the sale of fur... for animal rights, and for a growing concern about the sustainability of the trade.