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Press Release

San Francisco Fur Ban Upheld as Challenge is Dismissed

Court dismisses International Fur Trade Federation’s complaint in victory for animals

Contact: media@aldf.org, 707-364-8387

SAN FRANCISCO — Today the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed a constitutional challenge to San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur products. The International Fur Trade Federation filed its lawsuit against the City and County of San Francisco in January 2020. The Animal Legal Defense Fund and the Humane Society of the United States intervened in the lawsuit, to defend the ordinance’s constitutionality and preserve San Francisco’s right to ban fur.

Spearheaded by San Francisco Supervisor Katy Tang, the fur ban was unanimously approved by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2018 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2019 — while allowing retailers until the end of last year to sell off existing inventory. San Francisco’s ban built on the successes of West Hollywood and Berkeley passing similar legislation, and paved the way for Los Angeles and, finally, the state of California, to pass similar humane legislation in 2019. Given the wide array of faux fur products and similar alternatives available to the fashion industry, the San Francisco ordinance was aimed at preventing animal cruelty and environmental impacts associated with fur production by banning fur sales in the City.

More than a year after the ordinance took effect, the International Fur Trade Federation responded by filing a lawsuit which sought to strike it down as unconstitutional. The court disagreed, and issued a decision making clear that the Constitution’s Commerce Clause does not preclude San Francisco from ridding its marketplace of cruel fur products.

“The challenge to San Francisco’s ban was a test from the opposition to the constitutionality against all fur bans, as this legislation gains momentum,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The Animal Legal Defense Fund will continue to defend fur bans, and other animal protection legislation, as voters fight back against systematically cruel industries that profit from the exploitation of animals.”

Animal fur — from animals like foxes, minks, raccoon dogs, and many others — is produced under inhumane conditions to maintain the integrity of the skin, also known as the pelt. Animals are kept in small, filthy cages — typically stacked on top of one another, with waste falling onto the occupant below — before being suffocated, electrocuted, gassed, or poisoned. In anal or vaginal electrocution, electrodes are attached to the animal’s face and genitals to induce a heart attack. Animals are commonly skinned alive with no painkillers while fully conscious. Unable to engage in any of their natural behaviors, animals on fur farms routinely resort to self-mutilation, obsessive pacing, and infanticide.

For more information, visit aldf.org.

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