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Governor takes on fur industry, circus acts in package of animal welfare bills

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed a package of bills targeting animal cruelty, including the nation’s first state ban on the sale of new fur products.

The prohibition on fur means it will be illegal to manufacture, sell, offer for sale, trade or distribute fur products in California.

Newsom said:

“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur.” 

The ban under Assembly Bill 44, by Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale) applies to products like handbags, clothing and shoes that contain fur.

Steve Rhodes/Flick California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Saturday, October 12, 2019 that he signed a package of animal welfare bills, including the ban of fur sales.

The new law exempts leather, cowhide and shearling, as well as fur products used for religious purposes. The law also has provisions that exempt taxidermy products, fur from an animal lawfully taken with a hunting license, and used fur.

Animal rights groups on Saturday hailed the new law and said they hope it would inspire similar legislation across the country.

Fleur Dawes, Communications Director for In Defense of Animals, said:

“The enactment of AB 44 reflects the evolving attitudes of compassionate Californians who reject ‘fashion’ made from tortured animals, and paves the way for other states-and ultimately, the world-to go fur-free.” 

Representatives of the fur industry, however, said Saturday that they would challenge the new law in court, saying it would force longtime businesses to close with no compensation.

Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council of America said:

“Governor Newsom has now made California the first state in the nation to abolish a centuries-old, lawful, highly regulated, job-producing, environmentally sound, tax-paying industry.” 

The five-bill package signed by Newsom also included Senate Bill 313, by State Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, banning wild animals like elephants and bears from being used in circus acts.

Mliu92/Flickr California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Saturday, October 12, 2019 that he signed a package of animal welfare bills, including bans on fur sales and wild animal use in circus acts.

The practice of animals doing dangerous tricks for entertainment was “deeply disturbing,” the governor said in a news release.

Newsom said:

“We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.” 

In addition, the governor signed Assembly Bill 1254, which bans on hunting or killing bobcats in California; Assembly Bill 128, legislation aimed to protect wild and domestic horses from slaughter; and Assembly Bill 1260, which adds more types of animals, such as iguana and hippopotamus to the import and trade prohibition of animals and dead animal parts.

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