Moral Low Ground

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‘The Moral High Ground’: West Hollywood, California Bans Sale of Fur Clothing

Continuing its proud progressive record on animal welfare issues, the City Council in West Hollywood, California has unanimously voted to ban the sale of fur clothing within city limits.

A NoNo in WeHo… (Photo: Victor Soto)

The New York Times reports that officials in the city of 36,000 people believe the ban to be the first of its kind in the United States. Pending a final vote next month, the measure will outlaw the sale of fur apparel but not of fur used in furniture or leather.

West Hollywood, which is tucked between Beverly Hills and Hollywood, has long been a progressive advocate for animal rights. The city led the way in banning the declawing of cats and the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores.

“This is a tiny city, so it’s mostly symbolic,” Councilman John D’Amico told the New York Times, admitting that those who want to buy fur could do so only blocks away in Beverly Hills. But he added: “I think the impact will be heard from here to Fifth Avenue. People will talk about what a fur ban means in a new way.”

Animal rights advocates and progressives hailed the historic ban, but the city’s renowned fashion community is not so thrilled. “It will absolutely diminish the city as a fashion capital,” Genevieve Morrill, president of the West Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, told the New York Times. 

And Keith Kaplan, who heads the Fur Information Council of America, pointed to a self-commissioned economic study that claims 46% of clothing retailers in West Hollywood sold fur and that 7% of city retailers threatened to pack up and move elsewhere if the ban becomes law. “The animal rights lobby is clearly not having the impact they hope for with customers,” Kaplan told the New York Times. “People are still buying fur. If people were not buying it, stores wouldn’t want to sell it. So the animal rights lobby is trying to force through a ban on a legal product.”

But just because fur is legal, that doesn’t mean it is moral or even humane. It definitely is not, and if I were a resident of West Hollywood– and I once was– I would bid goodbye and good riddance to any merchant who left to hawk his cruel wares in more fur-friendly cities. Hooray for Hollywood! West Hollywood, that is…

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