California Becomes First US State To Ban Fur Trapping

'Not only does the cruel fur trapping trade decimate our increasingly vulnerable wildlife populations, running this program doesn't even make fiscal policy sense'
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Animals like the grey fox will be safe from trappers in the state (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

Animals like the grey fox will be safe from trappers in the state (Photo: Adobe. Do not use without permission)

California has become the US's first state to ban fur trapping, under the Wildlife Protection Act of 2019 (AB 273).

The Act, which was signed by Govenor Gavin Newsom, will prohibit the trapping of native animals including grey fox, coyote, beaver, badger, and mink, and the sale of their skins.

AB 273, which passed by 30-9 in the Senate, and 51-19 in the Assembly, is one of two fur-related bills introduced this session. The other, AB 44 would ban the manufacture and sale of new fur products across California if enacted.

Shrinking industry

According to reports, only 133 trapping licenses were sold in California in 2017. Along with four four dealer licenses, this generated just over $16,000 in revenue for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

In that year, 1,568 animals were killed and 1,241 pelts sold, collectively generating less than $9,000.

Legislation makers argued that the industry was too small and costly to regulate.

'Doesn't make fiscal sense'

San Diego Democrat and California Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez wrote the legislation, which waas backed by animal welfare organizations including Center for Biological Diversity and Social Compassion in Legislation.

"Not only does the cruel fur trapping trade decimate our increasingly vulnerable wildlife populations, running this program doesn't even make fiscal policy sense," she said in a statement.

"Taxpayers are subsidizing this unnecessary commercial activity because the cost of managing this program isn't even covered by the revenue from trapping license fees."

'Victory for animals'

The move has been praised by animal welfare advocates, with Fleur Dawes, of In Defense of Animals, telling Plant Based News: "We are so grateful to Governor Newsom and Assemblywoman Gonzalez for protecting coyotes, mink, foxes, beavers, raccoons, badgers, and all animals in California from barbaric traps.

"This is a victory for animals and for all Californians who spoke out in the thousands to protect animals from extreme cruelty of fur trapping. California is sending the world a clear statement: fur-bearing animals have the right to live in their own skin, free from being maimed and killed by horrific traps to steal their fur for trivial 'fashion' statements. 

"We urge lawmakers to honor the shift in public consciousness and pass AB 44 to ban the sales of cruel fur products throughout California."

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