Defending San Francisco’s Fur Ban

The Animal Legal Defense Fund intervened to defend San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur products against a fur industry lawsuit


August 7, 2020

Work Type




Plaintiff filed amended complaint

Next Step

File a Response

Due August 30, 2020

The fur industry kills more than 100 million animals annually. The vast majority of these animals, including minks, foxes, rabbits, and chinchillas, are confined to tiny, dirty cages — deprived of the ability to engage in any of their natural behaviors. Multiple cities in California, followed by the state in 2019, enacted fur sale bans with the goal of preventing animal cruelty and the negative environmental impacts associated with fur production.

Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The International Fur Trade Association sued the city and county of San Francisco claiming San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur violated the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause, by burdening interstate and foreign commerce in fur products.

What court is the lawsuit filed in? The United States District Court for the Northern District of California

Why this case is important:

The fur industry, both in the United States and throughout much of the world, has minimal legal oversight.  Animals exploited for their fur suffer intensely. After spending their entire lives in a cage, they are killed through suffocation, electrocution, gassing, or poisoning. Animals are commonly skinned alive with no painkillers while fully conscious.

Fur sale bans are a powerful way to reduce the demand for fur — ultimately decreasing the number of animals killed — and communicate to the larger community that fur is neither ethical nor sustainable. This victory is also important because it makes it clear that California and its municipalities have the authority to enact humane measures to curb the local market for cruelly-produced products.

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