West Hollywood Looks to Ban Fur
The City Council of West Hollywood voted unanimously last week to ban the sale of apparel made of fur. If approved in a final vote in October, the small city would reportedly become the first municipality in the country to adopt such a law.
The city of about 36,000 residents has a history of pioneering animal rights and other causes. In 2003, the city became the first in the country to ban cat declawing. Last year, it passed a law prohibiting the sale of cats and dogs in pet shops. It was also among the first to ban sales of inexpensive handguns known as Saturday Night Specials, and that is believed to have encouraged other cities to adopt a similar gun ban.
Although council members readily admit that an ample selection of furs will still be available blocks away in Beverly Hills, council members hope their pending ban likewise draws copycats.
"This is a tiny city, so it’s mostly symbolic," Councilman John D’Amico told The New York Times. "I think the impact will be heard from here to Fifth Avenue. People will talk about what a fur ban means in a new way."
"West Hollywood is really taking the lead," animal rights attorney Shannon Keith told London’s Telegraph. "The animals can’t speak for themselves and nobody should have to die for vanity."
Not suprisngly, the proposed ban, which excludes leather, has ruffled feathers in the fur trade.
Keith Kaplan, executive director of The Fur Information Council of America, told the Los Angeles Times that the move contradicts West Hollywood’s goal of establishing itself as a "fashion destination" since local stores can’t showcase a designer’s full collection. The proposed ban also didn’t take into account the impact on local businesses, he argued.
Genevieve Morrill, president and chief executive of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said local retailers are up in arms.
"We feel it’s not only unconstitutional but arbitrary and capricious, and it’s selectively banning products from one industry versus another," she told the LA Times.
What do you think of West Hollywood’s proposed fur ban?
- West Hollywood sheds fur sales – Los Angeles Times
- West Hollywood to Ban Sale of Fur Garments – The New York Times
- West Hollywood bans the sale of fur – Telegraph
Discussion Questions: Should municipalities be able to ban the sale of products that may be legally sold under county, state and/or federal law?