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West Hollywood News

West Hollywood Enacts Fur Free Ban
Posted by Amanda Macke on Sep 25, 2013 - 2:59:35 PM

WEST HOLLYWOOD—Retailers must abide to a fur-free zone since as the West Hollywood Fur Ban went into effect on Saturday, September 21.


The ordinance, initially passed in November 2011, makes West Hollywood the first U.S. city to legally ban merchants from selling, trading, distributing, importing or exporting any fur product. It applies to online transactions by WeHo businesses, as well.

Fur Free WeHo Campaign


The ban has many loopholes for fur fans. The ordinance applies only to fur ”˜wearing apparel’ products. The city defines ”˜wearing apparel’ as “any articles of clothing or covering for any part of the body,” which would include shoes, jackets, gloves, and hats. Accessories, such as purses, jewelry and rugs, and furniture made of fur are not considered wearing apparel and are therefore not banned under the ordinance.


Residents can still purchase fur products outside of WeHo and bring it back to the city for personal use, like wearing the item or giving it as a gift. The ordinance does not apply to pawn shops, non-profit organizations or taxidermists.


The City of West Hollywood deemed its district a, “Cruelty Free Zone” for animals in 1989, passing a series of animal-friendly resolutions over the years to consider itself, “the Humane Capital of the United States.”
Fur Free Ban Activists in WeHo


According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, 85 percent of fur products in the world are from fur farms, where animals are raised in captivity and killed solely for their fur. The U.S. ranks as the fifth largest mink fur farm in the world, slaughtering about three million minks a year.


Violators of the ordinance must pay a $250 fee, $450 for a second offense and $850 for a third offense committed within a 12-month period. Violators who commit more than three offenses within a year will be charged with an infraction or misdemeanor.


Skeptics of WeHo’s new fur-free zone claim the ban contradicts the city’s reputation as a high-fashion shopping destination. Opponents find the ban ambiguously worded and unfair to luxury fashion shops that profit from the sell of fur items.


High-end boutiques, like Kitson, may protest the ordinance by displaying fur items in their stores. The Fur Ban does not outlaw the display of fur products, and retailers like Kitson can direct customers to purchase the fur products at their locations right outside the West Hollywood City border.
Fur Apparel Can Still Be Displayed


Fur Information Council of America (FICA), the nation’s largest fur trade association is headquartered in West Hollywood. Keith Kaplan, executive director of FICA, stated that FICA’s attorneys would soon be filing a lawsuit to try and eradicate the ban that he predicts will cause loss of sales for over half of WeHo’s merchants. The financial impact of the Fur Ban is still relatively unknown. The city initially delayed implementation of the ban to assess potential effects it may have on retailers. In 2012, the city commissioned Keyser Marston Associates, Inc. (KMA) to conduct a survey of WeHo businesses carrying fur apparel products.


Of the 257 relevant apparel businesses, only 27 businesses (11 percent) participated in the survey—a sample size too small for significant findings, according to the October 2012 report.


Nevertheless, KMA found many businesses chose not to participate in the survey because they believed the ordinance would not affect them. Sixteen of the 27 participating businesses indicated the ban would negatively affect their business. The report estimated the sales tax revenue generated by the sale of fur apparel products from those 16 businesses totaled $28,000. This amount accounts for about .03 percent of the total sales tax revenue generated by retail and food service establishments in West Hollywood.


The City of West Hollywood hopes the newly implemented Fur Ban will, “promote community awareness of animal welfare, and, in turn, will foster a consciousness about the way we live in the world and create a more humane environment in the City.”


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