6 January 2023

California officially bans fur sales – but mass spenders like China are still miles behind

It became the first ever state in the US to ban both the sale and manufacturing of fur.

Animal lovers rejoice – California has officially become the first-ever state in the US to ban both the sale and manufacturing of fur. 

The state passed a law making it illegal to “sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, or otherwise distribute for monetary or non-monetary consideration a fur product,” in 2019 – which finally came into effect on January 1st.

The law will only apply to new fur garments, meaning already-used fur products in nonprofit thrift stores and secondhand shops remain unaffected. Products that use leather or shearling will also not be affected. According to WWD, stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus have closed their fur sales following the law coming into effect.

However, many other countries across the world are still allowing fur sales to continue, causing immeasurable damage to the environment and the animals that inhabit it. Other locations that have banned the sale of fur are Israel – which became the first country to do so in 2021 – and the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo.

According to PETA, China is the world’s largest fur exporter, supplying more than half of the fur garments imported for sale in the United States. There are also no penalties for animal abuse in the country, where those killed for their fur are kept in horrifying conditions. The fur is often purposefully mislabelled as fur from other species and is exported around the world to be sold to unsuspecting customers. As reported by Vogue Business, Chinese consumers are also the world’s biggest buyers of fur, with single-day sales hitting up to ¥100m in 2019.

According to Animal International, In 2018, there were 5,000 fur farms in the EU, situated across 22 countries, with these areas collectively accounting for 50% of the global production of farmed fur. The EU accounts for 63% of global mink production and 70% of fox production. Denmark was the leading milk-producing country, accounting for approximately 28% of world production. Although, following the pandemic fur farmers were forced to cull their animals over fears of a Covid-19 mutation could pose a risk to human health. 

The Danish government temporarily banned mink farming and breeding animals for their fur, extending the ban until 2023. Officials have now said just a handful of producers in the country have chosen to resume business if the ban lifts this year. Greece, Poland and North America are now expected to increase production to make up the shortfall.

With a number of countries banning the production of fur over recent years, the industry, thankfully, seems to be on its last legs. And thanks to the progressive legislation put in place in the likes of California, hopefully, the rest of the world will follow suit sooner rather than later.

  • Writer Chris Saunders

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