California Takes the Lead in Broadening Animal Welfare Law with Fur-Use Prohibitions
The State of California has broadened its animal welfare law (Section 3039 of the Fish and Game Code), by adding amendments legislated under new Assembly Bill No. 44. AB 44, which was formally signed into a state law by CA Governor Gavin Newsom, will take effect on January 01, 2023.
The amendments now make it illegal to manufacture, sell, make an offer to manufacture/sell, display for sale, or trade, in exchange for monetary or nonmonetary consideration clothings, handbags or shoes made of fur or with fur. AB 44 defines fur
“animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece or fur fibers attached thereto.”
The amendments actually adopt similar laws already imposed locally by California municipalities Berkeley, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The new prohibitions mainly apply to products using the fur of beavers, chinchillas, coyotes, foxes, lynx, minks, sables and other similar products made from animal skins to which fur, hair or fleece is attached. The ban does not apply to the use of cowhide, sheepskin, deerskin and goatskin.
Still, there are certain products and activities that qualify for exemptions, which the new bill defines as fur products intended for specified purposes and expressly allowed by existing federal laws.
Exemptions and Related Regulations to California’s New Fur Ban Laws
Although AB 44 instituted certain exemptions and exceptions to the fur prohibition laws, the bill requires a person who sells or trades any exempted fur products to maintain records of every sale or trade of the following for at least one year:
- Animal fur, fleece or hair derived by means of shearing;
- Fur articles worn traditionally for religious, cultural or tribal purposes;
- Selling or trading of used fur products is still allowed for at least one year starting from the date the selling prohibition was signed into law.