You Can't Buy Fur in West Hollywood

Good news for all you California-dwelling members of PETA — West Hollywood's fur ban has been upheld. A federal court met on Monday to make the ruling, which prohibits the sale of any apparel made from animal fur.

Home and accessories retailer Mayfair House had filed a constitutional challenge against the ban, but according to WWD, Chief Judge George H. King of the United States District Court for the Central District of California dismissed the charge, claiming that West Hollywood's attempt to “promote community awareness of animal welfare, foster the city’s goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare and further the city’s reputation as a cruelty-free zone for animals” was a "legitimate interest."

Fur-farming is a notoriously cruel industry, known to be highly abusive toward animals. The fur industry is also harmful for the environment. According to a fact sheet by Born Free USA, the products made from animal fur contribute to "higher energy costs, pollution, land destruction, and reductions in populations of wild animals, including endangered and threatened species who may be accidentally trapped and killed."

The West Hollywood ban went into effect in September of 2013. Retailers caught selling fur are faced with fines of $200 for an initial offense, $400 for a second offense within a year and $800 for a third offense within a year, as well as a $50 administrative fee with each penalty. Those with continued offenses are charged with infractions and misdemeanors.

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West Hollywood has a wide range of high-end retailers, meaning that many stores in the area are affected by the ban, including Balenciaga, Rag & Bone, Maxfield, Alberta Ferretti, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Kitson, Tommy Hilfiger, Christian Louboutin, BCBG, Church Boutique and H Lorenzo. Because most of these companies have retail locations outside of West Hollywood that can continue to sell fur, their businesses likely won't be hit very hard. Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council of America told WWD "[The ban] really singles out independent retailers, which is unfair to small business owners."

But those small businesses are less important casualties than the animals themselves. The fur business is a big business. According to the Fur Information Council of America, total North American fur sales for 2013 were estimated at over $4 billion. The pros of a ban on fur sales far outweigh the cons. Animal cruelty is a huge problem in both our food and fur industries (by the way, fur apparel products are not byproducts from the meat industry).

The Humane Society of the United States, the largest animal welfare organization in the country, reached out to Bustle with an official statement in support of the ban:

West Hollywood is one of the nation’s most animal-friendly cities – a notion that’s just incompatible with the inhumane treatment of fur-bearing animals. We applaud the Court’s decision to uphold the City’s groundbreaking ordinance. The ruling makes clear that the Constitution does not prevent West Hollywood or any other city from using its lawmaking powers to protect animals by prohibiting the sale of cruelly-produced products

This is a huge step for the anti-fur movement. Hopefully the West Hollywood ban is indicative of a greater trend away from fur. If you have to have the look of fur, I'd suggest buying imitation, although even faux-fur isn't great for the planet. Better yet, go the eco-friendly route with these vegan designers: