The fur industry’s legal claws could come out if San Francisco follows through on its plan to ban fur sales in the city.
In an emailed statement Friday, the interest group Fur Information Council of America said it was prepared to initiate litigation against the city as early as Jan. 1 of next year, when San Francisco’s ordinance banning fur sales is set to kick in.
The ordinance was passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors in March 2018, following Berkeley’s lead in the East Bay.
“We believe that the Board of Supervisors has acted beyond its legal mandate in enacting this legislation, dictating to San Francisco retailers and consumers what they can and cannot buy,” said FICA spokesman Keith Kaplan in Friday’s statement.
He continued, “It is unfathomable that the city is willing to spend millions on legal fees to defend a restriction on fur sales that was initiated on the basis of false claims, misrepresentations and outright lies when there are so many other compelling issues that need immediate attention in the city.”
FICA said it will “carry the fight to the highest courts possible.” The interest group claims the ordinance violates California’s Fish and Game Code, which authorizes those with a state trapping license to hunt and sell the fur of certain animals.
That defense held up in Southern California’s West Hollywood. The city, which was the first in the state to ban fur sales, amended its ordinance in 2015 to allow the sale of certain furs from licensed California trappers.
San Francisco is the largest U.S. city to announce it’s outlawing the sale of furs, and the loss of such a significant part of the West Coast market could cost the industry millions, according to Kaplan.
“San Francisco is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations for luxury goods. Tens of millions of dollars in fur sales take place in the city annually,” he said. “We will not stand by and allow our industry to be injured and jobs to be lost as extremists move to push their radical vegan agenda forward using fur as the first step. We are prepared to use any and all legal means available to us to prevent the implementation of this ordinance.”
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond for comment on Kaplan’s claims about the ordinance’s origin, and hasn’t said whether it has a plan to combat FICA’s threatened legal action.
It seems the aims of such legal action wouldn’t just be to restore the sale of furs in San Francisco. FICA’s statement said it wants to send a message to other cities.
“It is important for the industry to follow through with these compelling legal claims not only to impact San Francisco’s ability to enforce their ordinance but to send a strong message to other cities that might encourage similar ordinances banning fur,” Kaplan said. “It also sends a wake-up call to and supports other animal use industries facing campaigns already underway opposing wool, leather and meat.”