SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 10, 2019—Expressing its disappointment but saying the matter is far from settled, an industry group outlined its strategy after today’s 27-8 passage of Assembly Bill 44 by the California State Senate. There were five abstentions.
“Everyone should know that AB 44 does not go into effect until 2023, and it still needs the governor’s signature to become law, but should he sign it, we will aggressively challenge it in the courts,” said Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council of America. “For now, however, you can chalk this up as a partial victory for a radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step toward other bans on what we wear and eat. In the end, there will be no positive impact on animal welfare.”
Kaplan accused Assembly member Laura Friedman, the chief sponsor of AB 44, of passing on a great opportunity to make California a world leader in animal welfare, all for the sake of scoring some ephemeral political points. “We presented an amendment to Ms. Friedman that closed all of AB 44’s loopholes and would have established a comprehensive animal welfare certification program that would have provided meaningful animal welfare protections by January 2020. This program would have established California as a leader in addressing animal welfare for all animal-use industries and would have affected animal welfare globally. Instead, AB44 allows for the sale of fur in California through 2023 without adherence to or monitoring of any animal welfare standards, and after 2023, per the exemptions she has written into the bill, some fur will continue to be sold without requirement for animal welfare certification.”
Kaplan also claimed that the passage of AB 44 sets a very dangerous precedent in opening the door for further actions against leather and wool, already the focus of active animal rights campaigns, and the considerable damage it will do to the environment.
“Promoting fake fur as an alternative, as Friedman and others are doing, presents a serious threat to California’s waterways and marine life. Fake fur is a petroleum-based product that is not renewable, sustainable, or biodegradable, and releases thousands of tiny plastic lint fibers into wastewater when washed, waters that are then released into oceans and rivers where they are ingested by fish, mammals and sea birds. AB 44 directly contradicts the many positive environmental moves California has taken regarding plastics and Styrofoam.”
AB 44 supporters are not the only ones who can claim a victory, according to Kaplan, surrounding states that don’t have such bans will be happy to have the millions of dollars in sales taxes furs bring to the California state budget. But the biggest beneficiaries of all, he said, will be the black market.
“The consumer has spoken,” said Kaplan. “Fur sales have continued to rise over the past decade, reflecting the strong demand. Natural fur is sustainable and environmentally friendly and strict animal welfare standards are in place in the U.S and North America to ensure the humane treatment of animals.”
Fur industry groups have identified a number of legal challenges to AB 44, if it should become law, and are prepared to initiate litigation that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars for California to defend.
“Should the governor sign AB 44, we will challenge it on several fronts and will carry the fight to the highest courts possible to protect an industry that sells a legal and ethically sourced product,” said Kaplan. “It is unfathomable that the state is willing to spend millions on legal fees to defend a restriction on fur sales that was initiated on the basis of false claims, misrepresentations, and outright lies when there are so many other compelling issues that need immediate attention in our state.”
The Fur Information Council of America was established in 1987 to protect and promote the interests of the retail and manufacturing sectors of the U.S. fur industry.
Fur Information Council of America
PO Box 7818
Porter Ranch, CA 91327
Email: [email protected]