An ordinance that would make Los Angeles the largest city in America to ban the sale and manufacture of nearly all fur products was tentatively approved Tuesday by the City Council.
The ordinance was proposed by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Bob Blumenfield.
“It’s about time we end one of the most inhumane industries in the world and I think there is no other step that could be taken than the city of Los Angeles eliminating the fur industry here, not only because we’re watched but because we do have a lot of the fashion industry, this is the heart of the fashion industry,” Koretz said before the vote. “If we can do it here … it can be done anywhere in the world, and I think ultimately it will be done everywhere in the world. This is a great first step.”
Because the vote to approve the ordinance was 13-1 and not unanimous, a second vote will be required.
Mayor Eric Garcetti would also have to sign the ordinance to become official.
The measure includes some exemptions, including furs of animals trapped by California Fish and Game license holders; the pelt of a deceased animal that is preserved through taxidermy or for the purpose of taxidermy; the gift or transfer of a used fur product between private parties; a used fur product bought, sold, donated or owned by a person not in the primary business of selling fur or a fur product, including a nonprofit organization, second- hand store, or pawn shop; the manufacture of a fur product using fur sourced exclusively from a used fur product; and a fur or fur product that is only being transported through the city.
It’s 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.
Last March, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to make that city the largest in the nation to ban the sale and manufacturing of fur. The ban took effect on Jan. 1 but allows furriers and other retailers to sell current inventory until Jan. 1, 2020.
The L.A. ban would start on Jan. 1, 2021.
Some merchants in the fur business, who recently spoke before the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee, asked for reconsideration due to the economic hardship they said the ban would have on them.
“Your actions will have dire consequences on families who worked for generations to build businesses,” said David Appel, who identified himself as a local furrier.
He added, “I’ve done this for 53 years, and now what? I’m going to be depressed, I’m going to commit suicide, who knows I’m going to do.”
The Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee approved the proposed ordinance on a 2-1 vote, with Councilman Greig Smith dissenting.
“I’m really concerned about asking people who have run legitimate businesses for a long time, paid their taxes and done what is asked of them, to just suddenly stop doing business. That’s not American,” Smith said at the committee meeting. “And it’s not the way I think we should act as a government.”
Smith also cast the lone dissenting vote Tuesday morning, without commenting. He was appointed in January by the City Council to temporarily fill his former District 12 seat, which was vacated at the beginning of the year by Mitchell Englander, who stepped down to take a job in the private sector.
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