SACRAMENTO — People will still be allowed to buy and sell used fur products.
The ban takes effect in 2023, giving stores more than two years to sell any furs they still have in their inventory. After that, manufacturers and retailers will face fines of $500 to $1,000 for every new fur item they are caught with.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” Newsom said in a statement after signing the bill, which legislators passed last month. On Twitter, Newsom described it as “one of the strongest animal rights laws in U.S. history.”
California’s law follows similar bans on the sale of fur passed by cities in the state, including San Francisco, Berkeley, Los Angeles and West Hollywood, over the past two years. And the legislation comes on the heels of another blow Newsom dealt the fur industry in September, when he banned commercial fur trapping.
Along with the fur ban, Newsom signed legislation Saturday that banned the use of tigers, elephants, monkeys and other wild animals in circuses.
Animal welfare groups cheered the fur law, which they said marked a sweeping victory over the nearly $40 billion international industry that has been one of their biggest foes.
“The tide is really turning,” said Cassie King, a spokeswoman for the group Direct Action Everywhere, which lobbied for California’s law and is pushing for similar bans in cities across the country. “Ordinary people want to see animals protected, not abused. Now governments are enshrining that in our laws.”
As the bill worked its way through the Legislature, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, D-Burbank, its author, argued, “There is no need for fur in the 21st century and no place for it in a sustainable future.”
The ban does not apply to leather or shearling products. Arnold Surfas, the owner of Surfas Ltd. Furriers in Orange County, said the distinction shows that California’s legislation is meant to unfairly target the fur industry.
Like other opponents of the ban, Surfas noted that the law also won’t apply to imitation furs made from synthetic materials, which he said runs counter to California’s efforts to reduce plastic waste. Opponents have also said the fur industry is already regulated, and cautioned that banning it will fuel a black market for fur goods.
“They didn’t do their homework from the legislative side,” Surfas said. “We are low-hanging fruit.”
Surfas was not overly concerned with how the law would affect his company once the ban begins in 2023. Most of his business comes from restyling furs his customers already own, Surfas said, estimating that sales of both new and used furs combined only account for about a quarter of his revenue.
“It’s going to hurt me, but it’s not going to kill me,” Surfas said.
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