West Hollywood Approves Ban On Fur – West Hollywood’s leaders gave final approval on Tuesday to a first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of fur clothing within city limits.
The five-member City Council of the tiny, tony municipality wedged between Beverly Hills and Hollywood voted 3-to-1 with one abstention to approve the ordinance, which takes effect in 2013, said City Councilman John Heilman, who voted “no.”
The ban was tentatively adopted by the council on September 20 and had been expected to win easy enactment two weeks later. But it ran into stiff opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce and the fur industry, whose main trade group, the Fur Information Council of America, is based in West Hollywood.
Ultimately, the city’s famously left-leaning political establishment embraced the ban, won over by supporters’ arguments that furs are produced from animals that are inhumanely killed for their pelts.
Final action came shortly before 1 a.m., capping a contentious, hours-long debate.
“We made history. We’re the first place in the world, I believe, certainly the country, to take that step and ban fur,” said Ed Buck, an organizer of the local group Fur Free WeHo.
Opponents predicted dire consequences for local retailers. They said nearly half of the 200 apparel stores in town sell at least some fur items, and that merchandise made with animal pelts is estimated to account for up to $2 million in revenues for those businesses each year.
“I am just so baffled by this. This is pure politics at its worst,” said Keith Kaplan, executive director of the Fur Information Council.