In a triumph for animal rights activists but a grand loss for high-end retailers, the West Hollywood city council voted 3 to 1 to pass the nation’s first ban on fur sales.
It was the third time that the council had voted on the city ordinance, which expressly prohibits the sale of clothing and accessories made from the skin or pelt of animals with hair, wool or fur. The ban was originally approved unanimously in September, but needed modifications before it could come for a final vote.
While the ordinance was expected to be swiftly and easily approved, the proposed ban has come under intense scrutiny in recent months as retailers, trade groups and community members fought to protect their right to sell and buy fur, regardless of activists who charge that the materials are obtained in cruel and inhumane manners.
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According to West Hollywood Patch, more than half of the 35 people who voiced opposition to the bill at Monday night’s hearing were business owners. The Fur Information Council of America, which is coincidentally located in West Hollywood, even went as far as to submit a study that showed the economic impact that the ban would have on the community.
It’s estimated that 46% of apparel businesses in the city have sold or do sell clothing with animal fur. The fear is that these retailers, including such big names as Michael Kors, Marc Jacobs and Oscar de la Renta, among others, may move their locations to avoid the ban, which goes into effect September 21, 2013, and therefore impact the city’s economic standing.
But for the anti-fur community, the ordinance’s enactment is just the beginning of a larger push to banish fur products for good.