New York City’s proposal to ban the sale of real fur and shearling erupted in protests last Wednesday, with both pro and anti-fur protesters descending the steps of New York’s City Hall.
Those in opposition to the anti-fur legislation (introduced in March) are arguing that the decision will have extreme economic repercussions, with up to 150 small businesses (many of which were founded and are owned by migrant families) negatively impacted. New York, the biggest market for fur in the United States, has a long history of fur with its official seal even featuring two beavers as a nod to the early settlers who traded beaver pelts.
Those in support of the proposed legislation argue that the production of fur is barbaric and inhumane. Speaker and prime sponsor of the bill, Cory Johnson urged his colleagues to ban the sale of fur in the city, saying:
“We don’t need to keep killing tens of millions, hundreds of millions of innocent animals every single year from around the globe just so that people can wear them. This is a compassionate thing to do.”
If the bill is passed, New York will follow in the steps of Los Angeles and San Francisco. In a sign of the times, many high profile luxury brands such as Jean Paul Gaultier , Chanel, Burberry, Coach and Gucci have all banned fur from their collections.
In reality, fur is an ugly business. It’s estimated that over 100 million animals are killed each year for their fur. The majority of them (85 per cent) are raised on fur factory farms where they live in filthy, over-crowded wire cages. Millions of others – beavers, raccoons, coyotes and bobcats – are caught each year by trappers using inhumane methods including steel-jaw traps. All of them face horrific deaths – gassing, being skinned alive, electrocution and drowning are par the course. Shockingly, there are no federal laws to protect animals on fur farms in the US.
We no longer need fur to stay warm. Whatever the historical or financial significance, no argument can justify or support the inherent cruelty of the fur industry. We’ll be watching closely and trust that New York City will do the right thing and say “no” to fur!