LOS ANGELES (CN) – Los Angeles became the largest U.S. city to ban fur on Tuesday, letting retailers know they have until 2021 to warm up to faux products.
Los Angeles announced its plans to put the kibosh on the sale of furs this past September and since then California lawmakers have floated a statewide ban. Major fashion houses including Burberry, Gucci, Versace and Coach have also said they will stop selling items with fur in their collections.
Los Angeles joins West Hollywood, Berkeley and San Francisco with Tuesday’s vote. Retailers will have some time to empty out their stock before the ban goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. Other exceptions will be in play, like the sale of used fur by secondhand stores and receiving used fur as a gift.
“For folks that are worried about the businesses, this is not going to take effect until 2021,” said Councilman Bob Blumenfield, who co-wrote the law. “There is plenty of time for that.”
Councilman Paul Koretz said city staff saw hidden camera footage from inside Chinese fur farms, which depicted minks, foxes and some dogs being skinned alive.
“We saw films of this in committee. It was hard to take,” said Koretz. “Some of the most cruel practices are used to obtain furs. And even some of the most ‘humane’ fur processes are not humane.”
Tuesday was an emotional day for furrier Donna Pappas, owner of Somper Furs.
“We’re a pretty old-fashioned industry. I’ve had more customers calling in tears today,” Pappas said in a phone interview. “Some people have been misinformed. Some think that we’re already out of business or that it’s now illegal to own and wear fur in Los Angeles.”
Pappas, who has been in the fur industry for 40 years, has spent the last eight months trying to convince city officials to give furriers like herself more time to transition under the new law. Her Los Angeles-based business has both a retail and wholesale manufacturing arm, with eight full-time employees.
When asked what she’ll do next, Pappas said she was still unsure just a few hours after the City Council vote.
“I’m not sure. It’s not fair to ask that question today,” said Pappas. “This is a craft industry and caring for these types of items is a service that’s just going to go away. These skilled people just can’t transfer somewhere else after so many years of experience.”
Fur farming is already banned in much of the European Union, and where it remains legal it is so heavily restricted that it’s not economically viable.
Sao Paolo, Brazil, is the largest city in the world with a ban on fur sales.