New York City Council Considering Banning Fur

Aretha Franklin in Fur Coat
Aretha Franklin attends her annual birthday bash at The Ritz Carlton on Sunday, March 22, 2015, in New York. (Photo byCharles Sykes/Invision/AP

Lawmakers in New York City will hold a hearing Wednesday on a measure that would ban the sale of nearly all new fur products.

City council Speaker Corey Johnson sponsored the fur ban that will be the centerpiece of a hearing at City Hall Wednesday afternoon. The bill bans the sale of all fur, except for sales of used fur apparel and fur garments worn for religious reasons.

The bill is fervently supported by radical animal rights activists and leftwing celebrities. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals claim that the industry is cruel to animals. Actress Angelica Huston wrote an op-ed in the Daily News in April calling for the ban, arguing that it would protect consumers whom she claimed may unknowingly be buying dog and cat fur. Project Runway’s Tim Gunn also wrote an op-ed supporting the ban.

Business owners said the ban will cost New Yorkers jobs and hurt family businesses. Fur businesses in New York employ 1,100 people, according to the Fur Council of America, an industry group.

The bill is also opposed by a coalition of African American leaders who say the bill is an attack on black culture. On Monday, more than 100 black pastors signed a letter decrying the ban.

“Fur has given black people standing, fortitude and strength in the face of bigotry, injustice, and intolerance throughout history,” the letter argued.

The letter pointed out that while city residents would be denied the opportunity to buy fur, it would remain available in surburbs around the city.

“No urban city should be treated less fairly than its wealthier suburban neighbors on any issue,” the letter said.

Last week, a rally of black clergy and other community leaders rallied at City Hall to demonstrate their opposition. Several wore fur hats despite temperatures near 70 degrees, according to a report from Patch.com.

“People feel complete when they put on something that they worked hard for, they have sacrificed for,” said the Rev. Phil Craig, according to Patch.

Animal rights activists and supporters of furriers in New York are expected to attend Wednesday’s hearings.

San Francisco and Los Angeles have already banned fur sales.

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