FoA to NYC Speaker Johnson: Don’t abandon the fur ban bill

FoA to NYC Speaker Johnson: Don’t abandon the fur ban bill

New York City, one of the big four fashion capitals of the world, is considering legislation that would finally Flip off Fur after decades of efforts by Friends of Animals to end the cruelty of the fur industry but the legislation—Intro 1476 — has stalled and we need your help.

Please contact City Council Speaker Johnson’s office, and tell him to move forward with the ban and call the bill for a vote before the Council. Speaker Johnson can be reached at 212 788-7210 or via email at SpeakerJohnson@council.nyc.gov

FoA has advocated for the end of the industry for decades through media campaigns including advertisements in Times Square and by introducing draft legislation and meeting with council members to garner support. Its years of efforts paid off when Johnson introduced legislation — Intro 1476 — to ban the sale of fur a City Council meeting in March.

“In a progressive and modern city like New York, banning the sale of fur clothing and accessories is long overdue. Saying no to fur is fashionable and a symbol of progress. This proposal is about protecting animals and their unnecessary killing,” Johnson told The New York Post. 

But Johnson backed off in the face of opposition from the few remaining furriers who inflated the number of jobs they claimed would be lost, Hasidic leaders and the Harlem-based Mobilizing Preachers and Communities, a group of black pastors, who came out against the ban. While the bill was amended to include a religious exemption, and a poll conducted by Mason-Dixon found an overwhelming majority of support for the ban among New York City voters, including among minorities, Johnson has not taken any additional action to move the bill in the Council.

This despite the fact that other cities have gone ahead with bans even with strong opposition, including Los Angeles and, in a historic move, the entire state of California. Additionally, Macy’s, whose flagship store is in NYC, announced it would no longer sell fur, joining hundreds of other retail outlets and fashion designers who have stepped away from the cruel industry.

The U.S. fur market is getting smaller. In 2017, global retail fur sales generated $30 billion, with more than half of that from China, according to the International Fur Federation. That’s down from $40 billion in 2014. The U.S. fur market generated $1.4 billion in retail sales, which pales in comparison to the market in China, Europe and Russia.

And New York City’s fur district is disappearing. Where once there were 450 fur factories, now there are just a handful and there is no longer a fur fashion week—all evidence that society’s desire for a product that depends on the slaughter and suffering of animals has waned.

FoA’s legislation would prohibit the sale, offering for sale, display for sale, trade, gifting, donation or other distribution of fur products within the city.

Eliminating the sale of fur products within New York City will promote awareness of the cruelty involved in fur products and create a more compassionate environment. It would follow the tradition of New York City as a leader in animal rights and protection, FoA, which was incorporated in New York in 1957, told council members.

It would also help promote innovation in cruelty-free vegan fashion. In 2013, New York City-based fashion house Vaute Couture made history as the first all-vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week. Indeed, consumers are turning to cruelty-free fashion with gusto. Vegan fashion is projected to be a major trend this year, according to J. Walter Thompson’s Future 100 report.

In its NYC2020 study, New York City’s own economic development department called on the city to step out front and be a leader in fashion innovation. Fur-free fashion designers are already turning to sustainable fibers. Hugo Boss, for example, introduced a shoe line made with pineapple fibers.

While the fur industry tries to cast animal pelts in an eco-friendly light, the production of fur adds to climate change and toxic emissions. Fur production has two to 28 times higher impact on the environment than textiles. Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 44 pounds of feces in the mink’s lifetime, which adds up to 1 million pounds of feces produced annually by mink farms. The byproduct of the feces, phosphorous, can leach into waterways and contaminate river and stream ecosystems.

Additionally, “wild-caught” fur is no better. A study by Ford Motor Co. researcher Gregory Smith found that fur production from free-living animals requires three times the energy as the production of a synthetic coat when fossil fuels used by vehicles and the equipment used to tan and process pelts are factored in.

Johnson needs to honor his commitment and work to get the bill passed. Let Johnson know you support the bill. We need you to also contact your council members (find yours here: https://council.nyc.gov/districts/) especially if you are from a district whose representatives who are members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus (co-chaired by Ydanis Rodriguez and I. Daneek Miller who can be reached at 212-482-6642 or email blacaucus@council.nyc.gov.) Other members of the caucus include Francisco Moya, Adrienne E. Adams, Margaret S. Chin, Carlina Rivera, Diana Ayala, Bill Perkins, Andy King, Ritchie J. Torres, Vanessa L. Gibson, Rafael Salamanca Jr., Peter Koo,Donovan J. Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Laurie A. Cumbo,Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., Rafael L. Espinal Jr., Carlos Menchaca, Mathieu Eugene, Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Inez Barron, Farah N. Louis, and Deborah Rose.