San Francisco Becomes the First Global City in North America to Ban Fur Sales

It’s happening; the anti-fur movement is gaining major traction.

While the backlash against rocking fur is nothing new (remember the anti-fur red paint throwers back in the 80s and 90s?), it’s become impossible to ignore; now, the first global North American city has passed legal action against the sale of fur.

Last night, San Francisco’s city’s Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to ban fur sales in the Northern California city. With the legislation, the “Golden City” joins Berkeley, West Hollywood, São Paulo, and most of India in their fur-free retail policies.

“The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the City’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness,” said San Francisco district supervisor Katy Tang in a press release. The ban takes effect in January 2019, but retailers will have until January 2020 to get rid of their existing fur inventory. The new rules don’t apply to secondhand furs (unless they’re from endangered species), sheepskin, or lambskin. They do apply to clothing items and accessories that contain real fur. Furthermore, fur products purchased online can’t even be delivered to a San Francisco address.

A row of vintage coats made of animal fur

The shift came after the board sided with animal rights advocates and groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA in the face of growing pressure. Activists relentlessly sent hundreds of letters to board members supporting the ban and highlighting rampant abuse of animals at fur farms.

While the anti-fur activists and the city’s growing number of vegans collectively rejoiced at news of San Francisco’s ban (the Humane Society called it a “historic victory” for animals killed for fur), the move was, naturally not without its backlash. Inevitably, the ban will hurt many small businesses. According to the San Francisco Examiner, the ban will affect 30 retailers in the city’s Union Square area who sell fur products. For many, though (especially in a city like San Francisco) the loss of business is a small price to pay for the protection of animals.

Naturally, the move has both supporters and proponents questioning what will come next in regards to the fate or fur. Major luxury brands like Versace, Gucci, Tom Ford, Michael Kors, and Furla have recently announced plans to ditch the fur.The way things are looking, rocking fur could become totally taboo within the next decade  – whether you like it or not.

In the meantime, the global fur industry continues to boom: In 2011 global fur sales reached $15.6 billion, then skyrocketed to $40 billion in 2015.