San Francisco Becomes 3rd U.S. City to Ban Fur Sales

Following in the footsteps of the city of West Hollywood, which banned fur in 2011, and Berkley, thereafter, San Francisco supervisors “have unanimously approved a ban on fur sales, making San Francisco the largest city in the country to have the prohibition,” according to Associated Press. The legislation goes into effect January 1, 2019 but retailers that are currently offering fur have until January 2020 to sell off existing inventory.

The move by the West Coast city, the largest in the U.S. to take such a strong stance against fur, comes as high fashion houses and up-scale retailers are joining to swear off the use of fur. Just this month, Italian design houses Versace and Furla announced their plans to put a stop to all fur-containing wares, whereas Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, Giorgio Armani, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood and retailers such as Selfridges and Net-a-Porter, had already done the same.

As noted by the AP, there are two small loopholes in the ban on fur: The legislation does allow for “the resale of vintage and used fur, but only by outlets not usually in the business of trading fur, such as secondhand stores, pawn shops and nonprofits.” Secondly, “Items with fur taken from animals trapped under a state license can be sold.”

While the push to go fur-free is being praised by animal rights groups, including Direct Action Everywhere, which called this a “historic act will usher in a new wave of animal rights legislation across the globe,” the bold move by San Francisco, where Fendi, Chanel, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Saint Laurent, among other fur-friendly brands maintain brick-and-mortar outposts, is being met with at least some resistance. "It should be a citywide public vote; it shouldn't be decided by the Board of Supervisors," Skip Pas, chief executive officer of West Coast Leather, told the AP.

The pushback is not terribly surprising given that similar reactions unfolded in West Hollywood when it because the first city in the U.S. to ban the sale of wearable fur. In considering a challenge to the legality of the city-wide ban, U.S. District Judge George H. King upheld the City of West Hollywood’s municipal prohibition on the sale of animal fur apparel, ruling that the ban does not illegally discriminate against retailers of new clothing by allowing sales of used fur by private parties and second-hand stores, as well as sales of handbags and furniture with fur.