A City Council committee Wednesday took a first step toward a proposed ban on the sale and manufacturing of nearly all fur products in Los Angeles, although some exceptions could end up being made.
Councilman Paul Koretz, who chairs the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, said he hoped the proposal would lead to widespread bans around the globe.
The proposal by Koretz and Councilman Bob Blumenfield will now go before the full City Council, which will decide whether to direct the city attorney’s office to draft an ordinance outlining the ban, which itself would then need to be approved and signed by Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Koretz and Blumenfield are proposing a two-year phase-in period if an ordinance is ultimately passed.
“The symbolism of doing this is as important as the reality, and so if we give a phase-in period I think it will have the desired effect countrywide and worldwide, having L.A., one of the fashion and glamour capitals of the world … eliminate the sales of furs,” Koretz said.
The Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee added an amendment to the motion that would direct the city attorney to take a look at potential exemptions, including furs of animals trapped by California Fish and Game license holders and fur items worn or used for religious purposes, such as fur hats worn by Hasidic Jews on a variety of religious occasions.
It was not clear what economic impact such a ban could have on the city. A report from the Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst said the city does not keep track of fur sales specifically. The motion would not prohibit the sale of used fur products.
The CLA report noted that the cities in California which have banned fur — San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood — all included exclusions to allow the sale of products made from trapped animals due to a Superior Court judge’s ruling.
The jurist found West Hollywood’s fur ban ordinance to be in conflict with the California Fish and Game Code, which allows the purchase and sale of products or handicraft items made from furbearing mammals and nongame mammals lawfully taken under the authority of a trapping license.
The committee directed the Los Angeles city attorney to consider a possible exemption for fur made from trapped animals, but also to consider if the exemption was necessary. Koretz said the number of such furs in circulation are a “minor factor” from few animals.
In March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to make the city the largest in the nation to ban the sale and manufacturing of fur. The ban takes effect Jan. 1 but allows furriers and other retailers to sell current inventory until Jan. 1, 2020.
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