Los Angeles is taking steps to become the largest US city to ban the sale of new fur products.
The city council voted unanimously to direct the city attorney to draft legislation banning the manufacture and sale of fur clothing and accessories.
It comes after a similar move by San Francisco and two smaller California municipalities. Councilor Bob Blumenfield said: “This is something that is not just a good legislative win, it’s a moral win. We feel like we’re evolving as a city as people to stop this kind of unnecessary cruelty.”
The decision was made after a relentless campaign by animal rights activists who condemned the fur industry as inhumane, arguing that the animals are subject to brutal conditions and torturous deaths.
The draft bill must gain final approval by the council and then be signed by the mayor, Eric Garcetti, to be enacted.
Supporters said they hoped adopting a fur ban in the nation’s second largest city, which is one of the world’s major fashion centers, would encourage similar bans around the globe.
A fur ban would be phased in over two years giving retailers until 2020 to sell off existing inventories. Used fur products would be exempt.
The council is considering an exemption for products used for religious purposes, such as fur hats worn by Orthodox Jews as well as for items made from pelts legally taken under the authority of a California fur-trapping license.
Major fashion companies, including Michael Kors, Armani and Gucci, have also moved away from using fur. Earlier this month, Burberry said it would stop selling real fur.
However, Keith Kaplan, a spokesman for the Fur Information Council of America, said that while full-length coats of sable and milk may not be as popular as they once were, fur is still found in around 70 per cent of the world’s latest autumn fashion collections.
He said: “If consumers weren’t buying it, fashion houses wouldn’t be designing it, and manufacturers wouldn’t be making it.”
He also disputed as “bogus” claims by activist groups that the methods employed by the fur industry are inherently cruel and inhumane.
Retail fur sales globally accounted for $35.8 billion and the fur industry employed more than one million people in 2014.