Fur Flies in West Hollywood Showdown over City BanPosted on November 15, 2013
ALDF Speaks Out Against Hollywood Boutique in Legal Battle Over High-Priced Fur Fashions
For immediate release:
Megan Backus, Animal Legal Defense Fund
WEST HOLLYWOOD – Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California on behalf of the city of West Hollywood, which is the target of a fur-related lawsuit by the high-priced West Hollywood fashion boutique Mayfair House, Inc. In 2011, the City passed an ordinance which bans the sale of all animal fur products within city limits; that ordinance went into effect in September, 2013. Mayfair House—which sells luxury items made from animal fur—has filed a lawsuit against the city, claiming the ban on fur is unconstitutional. ALDF’s brief supports the city’s motion to dismiss that lawsuit. The Court will decide whether to consider ALDF’s amicus brief in the coming weeks.
For more than two decades West Hollywood has supported groundbreaking animal welfare laws. In 1989, the city became a “Cruelty Free Zone for Animals,” and banned both steel leg-hold traps and animal testing for cosmetics. In 2003, the city outlawed the declawing of cats and other animals, and in 2010 the city banned the commercial sale of dogs and cats. Just this year, West Hollywood banned the commercial display of animals, which effectively banned circuses. After investigating the issue, the city argues the intense suffering animals endure in the fur industry is inconsistent with a “Cruelty Free Zone,” and that cruelty-free fashion alternatives abound.
Mayfair House argues the city-wide ban on fur not only violates state laws that prevent the city from enacting wildlife-related ordinances—but also the due process and equal protection clauses of the U.S. Constitution. ALDF is asking the court to uphold the city’s constitutional authority to protect animals within city limits.
“Animals on fur farms suffer unimaginable agony in filthy cages before being suffocated, electrocuted, gassed, or poisoned,” said Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF. “West Hollywood should be commended, not sued, for reasonable laws that ban horrific acts of cruelty.”
Copies of ALDF’s amicus brief are available by request.