The Ann Arbor City Council approved an ordinance that bans the sale of fur and fur products from endangered species in the city Monday evening. The prohibition will go into effect in one year, and violations can be penalized by a fine of up to $500.
Prohibiting the sale of fur products, the ordinance explained, will help decrease the demand for environmentally harmful products and increase awareness around animal welfare. Animals raised in fur farms often live in poor conditions and are slaughtered using cruel methods, including suffocation and gassing.
Additionally, the ordinance stated that fur farms can create and breed zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19.
Endangered species include, but are not limited to, snow leopards, tigers, cheetahs and polar bears, according to the ordinance. However, there is no ban on the sale of used fur products.
Councilmember Jeff Hayner, D-Ward 1, the lead sponsor of the ordinance, said he hopes this policy will lead other cities and states to ban the sale of fur products. In 2019, California became the first state to ban fur sales. Since then, states like Rhode Island, Oregon, Connecticut, Hawaii and New York have introduced bills to do the same.
“This is a logical next step for our consideration of animal rights … and we’ll put this kind of exploitation of animals behind us,” Hayner said. “Hopefully others will follow our lead.”
Councilmember Erica Briggs, D-Ward 5, co-sponsored the bill but was absent from the meeting.
Eight Ann Arbor residents called in to express their support for the ordinance during the public hearing portion of the meeting.
Ann Arbor resident Jeff Zick, director of the Response Fundraising for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), called into the meeting to express support for the fur ban, citing similar fur bans by corporations and other governments.
“Public sentiment against the use of fur is growing around the world,” Zick said. “Canada Goose, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and hundreds of other major designers and retailers have banned the use of fur in their designs. The state of California has banned fur sales and so has Israel.”
Molly Tamulevich, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States, also called in to alleviate concerns from some hunters and fur trappers in Michigan who use lawful practices.
“This ordinance would not prohibit the sale of raw fur pelts, but only finished fur products such as clothing or fashion accessories,” Tamulevich said. “(This) does not include pelts or hydes from licensed trappers or hunters or livestock farmers who sell the pelts and hides generated in the course of their lawful activities.”
Daily Staff Reporter Justin O’Beirne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.