Fur sales ban gets Ann Arbor’s 10-0 final OK
[Reprinted from original]
ANN ARBOR, MI — The future is fur-free, animal rights activists told Ann Arbor officials Monday night, Aug. 16.
City Council responded by voting 10-0 to give the final OK to a new ordinance banning sales of fur products in the city.
“This is yesterday’s business,” said Council Member Jeff Hayner, D-1st Ward, lead sponsor of the proposal.
Hayner called it a logical next step for humanity and animal rights to push back against the fur trade.
“Furriers need to go the way of the buggy-whip makers, you might say,” he said. “And they will and they are, and the world will be better for it.”
The ban takes effect in one year, giving retailers time to sell existing inventory and keep existing order commitments.
“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person may not sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, or otherwise distribute for monetary or non-monetary consideration a new fur product in the city,” the ordinance states.
It prescribes a $500 penalty for each violation.
The ordinance lists some allowable exemptions, including used fur products such as those sold by vintage and second-hand clothing stores, and fur products used for traditional tribal, cultural or spiritual purposes by Native Americans, or fur products used in practicing religion.
The reasons for the fur ban are articulated in detail in the ordinance.
“Animals that are slaughtered for their fur endure tremendous suffering,” it states. “Animals raised on fur farms typically spend their entire lives in cramped unsanitary cages. Animals raised on fur farms are inhumanely killed by suffocation, electrocution, gassing and neck-breaking. Animals trapped in their native habitats are subject to ensnarement in foothold traps, body-gripping straps, snares and cable restraints for multiple days.”
Additionally, fur farms can spread dangerous diseases, including coronavirus, that threaten public health, it states.
Another reason for the ordinance is fur production is energy intensive and has a significant environmental impact, causing air and water pollution, with tanning and dying processes using toxic chemicals and heavy metals, the ordinance states.
“Considering the availability of faux fur for fashion and apparel, the City Council finds that the demand for fur products does not justify the unnecessary killing and cruel treatment of animals, harm to the environment, and the public health risks to the people of the city of Ann Arbor caused by these practices,” it states. “The City Council believes that prohibiting the sale of fur products in the city of Ann Arbor will decrease the demand for these cruel and environmentally harmful products and promote community awareness of animal welfare and will foster a more humane environment in the city of Ann Arbor.”
Molly Tamulevich, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States, was among those who lobbied council to adopt the ordinance.
“Although fewer than 6% of Michiganders choose to hunt and a much smaller percentage of those choose to trap animals with body-gripping or leg-hold traps, most of our state wildlife policies are written with this constituency in mind,” she said. “And I know they’re watching this meeting and are concerned that a prohibition on the sale of new fur products will impact their ability to trap wildlife and sell their pelts. This ordinance would not prohibit the sale of raw fur pelts, but only finished fur products such as clothing and fashion accessories.”
The ordinance defines fur products as “any article of clothing or covering for any part of the body, or any fashion accessory, including but not limited to handbags, shoes, slippers, hats, earmuffs, scarves, shawls, gloves, jewelry, keychains, toys or trinkets, and home accessories and décor, that is made in whole or part of fur.” Per the ordinance definition, fur products do not include cowhide, deer skin or lamb skin with the hair attached, nor the pelt or skin of any animal preserved through taxidermy, nor any animal skin converted into leather or processed in a way that removes the hair, fleece or fur fiber completely.
That means hunters, trappers and farmers still can sell animal pelts and hides, but they just can’t be turned into a new product like a fur coat to be sold in Ann Arbor, Tamulevich said.
“Thank you so much,” she told city officials Monday night. “I appreciate your leadership on this issue. I’m so proud of my hometown tonight.”
The vote was unanimous with Council Member Erica Briggs, D-5th Ward, one of the ordinance sponsors, absent.