The West Hollywood Fur Ban went effect on September 21, 2013. The ordinance is one of the first its kind in the United States. It also encourages the promotion of West Hollywood as a destination for cruelty-free and animal welfare events and the promotion of West Hollywood as the Humane Capital of the United States. The City of West Hollywood is one of the West Coast’s premiere shopping destinations for luxury fashion and known worldwide for its unprecedented commitment to animal welfare.
7 Things All Businesses Should Know About the West Hollywood Fur Ordinance
What is the purpose of the Fur Ban?
The City of West Hollywood believes that eliminating the sale of fur apparel products will promote community awareness of animal welfare and, in turn, will foster a consciousness about the way we live in the world and create a more humane environment in the City. The current state of the sale of fur apparel products in the City of West Hollywood is inconsistent with the City's goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare and the City's reputation as a Cruelty Free Zone for animals.
How does the Fur Ban work?
All retail establishments located within the City of West Hollywood will be prohibited from selling, trading, distributing, importing or exporting any fur product on or after September 21, 2013.
The term “fur product” means any item of personal attire, clothing or garment, which is composed in whole or in part from the pelt or skin of any animal with its hair, fleece (wool) or fur attached.
The ban applies to shearling products, as the skin for such products is tanned with the wool still attached.
The Ordinance only applies to “wearing apparel” as defined as “any articles of clothing or covering for any part of the body,” which would include shoes, boots, hats, and gloves.
Based on the Ordinance’s definition of wearing apparel, purses, jewelry and pocketbooks are not considered wearing apparel and therefore are not prohibited under this Ordinance. Furniture is also not prohibited under this Ordinance.
A resident of West Hollywood who purchases and brings back a fur product from outside the City for personal use or to give the fur product as a gift is not re-selling the fur product, and therefore would not be in violation of the Ordinance.
Businesses located within West Hollywood are prohibited from selling fur apparel online and shipping from a West Hollywood location.
Although the Ordinance does not expressly state that it is unlawful to display a fur product, if a West Hollywood retailer displaying a fur product has imported it for the purpose of selling the product, the act of importing the product would violate the Ordinance.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes. The Ordinance does not apply to the sale, importation, exportation, trade or distribution of: (1) Fur products by a non-profit organization; (2) The pelt or skin of an animal that is preserved through taxidermy or for the purpose of taxidermy; or (3) Used fur products by a private party (excluding a retail transaction), nonprofit organization or second-hand store, including a pawn shop.
Facts and Figures
According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, it is estimated that fur farms produce 85 percent of fur in the world. Every year, an estimated 60 million mink and 6.5 million foxes are killed on fur farms alone. If rabbits are included, the number of animals killed every year solely for their fur may far exceed one billion.
In 1989, the City Council passed a Resolution 558 making West Hollywood a “Cruelty Free Zone” for animals. This action was then followed by West Hollywood’s move to secure animal care service policies that included a no-kill policy for stray and abandoned animals. The City also focused its efforts on raising awareness about the availability of thousands of abandoned animals at shelters waiting to be adopted, even sponsoring local adoption fairs at our City parks—a tradition that continues to this day.
In 2004, the City Council passed an ordinance to ban the barbaric practice of declawing cats, thereby making West Hollywood the first City in North America to ban this procedure.
In 2008, West Hollywood adopted a resolution supporting Proposition 2, which led to a statewide standard in the caging of chickens; in 2009, the City Council took a stand against puppy-mills and the sale of dogs in local stores that came from such mills.
A violation of the Ordinance is subject to a civil administrative penalty in accordance with the City of West Hollywood 2013-14 Fee Schedule:
- Admin Fee - $50
- First Offense - $200 plus admin fee
- Second Offense (within a twelve-month period) - $400 plus admin fee
- Third Offense (within a twelve-month period) - $800 plus admin fee
- Any additional offense within a twelve-month period charged as an infraction or misdemeanor