Animal Defense Group Sides with City in Court Battle Over WeHo Fur Ban

aldf_logo_downloadThe City of West Hollywood got an ally today in the legal battle over its ban on the retail sale of fur products.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. District Court’s Central District in support of the ban, which the City Council adopted in 2011. The ban, which went into effect this past September, is the first in the nation. It has been controversial, with some local businesses saying it will drive customers to shop in adjacent communities instead of West Hollywood.

Mayfair House, an apparel store that sells items made of fur, filed suit in District Court in September asking that the ban be overturned.

“The ordinance is an ill-considered and illegal law that is harmful to the city, its consumer citizens and business residents,” said Johanna Judah, owner of the business at 8844 Beverly Ave. near Robertson. ”It was passed by city councilmen who have the political support of national animal rights activist groups who wish to impose their will over others despite the unconstitutional nature of the ordinance.”

Stephen Wells, executive director of ALDF, said: “Animals on fur farms suffer unimaginable agony in filthy cages before being suffocated, electrocuted, gassed, or poisoned. West Hollywood should be commended, not sued, for reasonable laws that ban horrific acts of cruelty.”

The ban on the retail sale of fur products is one of many steps the City Council has taken on animal rights issues. In 1989, it banned both steel leg-hold traps and animal testing for cosmetics. In 2003, the city outlawed the declawing of cats and other animals, and in 2010 the city banned the commercial sale of dogs and cats. Earlier this year, West Hollywood banned the commercial display of animals, which effectively banned circuses.

  1. My dear Rudolf Martin: all the unpleasant activities you list are criminal offenses; after serious consideration and due process by competent authorities they have been found unacceptable by our state or federal legislators and inscribed in the criminal code. The farming or trapping of abundant fur-bearing animals is regulated by the state (and sometimes federal) wildlife and agriculture agencies. Fur production has not been banned in California, and WeHo town council has absolutely no credibility or authority in such matters. The hypocrisy of the WeHo town council is revealed by that fact that fur apparel is being banned, but the sale of the very same fur pelts as “home decor” is not. Could this be because certain influential members of the council have private business interests with interior designers? This pseudo-ban has nothing to do with “morality” and everything to do with cynical political theater.

  2. I feel quite strongly that leather is fur with the hair removed and nobody in a Republic such as defined by the US Constitution should be telling other folks what to wear or eat. Pravda & City Hall is a terrible system stifling freedom of expression & Liberty.

  3. Kristin/Nicole/Courtney/Elizabeth: at least 3 of you are one and the same person, if you want to pose as a popular uprising you need to give it a little more effort.

    1. Good catch Mr. Martin. At WEHOville we try to prevent people from posting comments under different names. All four people you mention share the same IP address (computer) with another commenter, which indicated the comments are coming from one person. So we have deleted four of the five.

  4. alan stephens, your opening premise makes no sense: if 90% of people shun fur you can still have a very lucrative market out there so obviously there is a need to ban it.

    and i disagree further: any civilized society imposes certain moral parameters that the majority agrees on. for example we choose to ban sex with children, we ban sex with animals and we choose to impose all kinds of other laws against cruelty and torture of animals. do you condone pit bull fighting? animal testing for cosmetics? would you defend the clubbing of baby seals? cock fighting?

    i agree that not everyone draws the line in the same place but you seem to suggest that we let the market place take care of all these things which would legalize all of the above.

  5. It would be interesting to know ALDF’s comments on the arbitrary nature of the WeHo ban itself. If their goal is to truly protect animal rights then the organization should “symbolically” turn their back on a ban that is purely symbolic at best.

  6. There seems to be a contradiction here: if it is true that most people agree that it is wrong to use fur, there would be no need to ban it. What we are really seeing is some people imposing their personal values on others. (And that’s without going into the political pay-off that is apparently at the root of all this.) Society is in transformation, leading many to question all sorts of things: should we eat meat or be vegans? Eat organic or local? In many of these issues, there is no clear or simple “right” or “wrong”, we all draw the line where we think best. For some that may mean only eating meat from animals raised free-range. But maybe wild-sourced furs are the true free-range clothing? The bottom line: we should be very cautious about imposing our values on others, just as we wouldn’t want others to impose their personal morality on us. It is ironic (and very short-sighted?) that WeHo, of all places, would support this sort of legislation of public morality!

  7. i don’t doubt your authenticity, “Snarkygal”, and your comments are never generic. i agree that this was probably a political move for some people. but it’s still the right thing to do if you value the humane treatment of animals. more so than outlawing the declawing of cats. i don’t buy the argument that it’s meaningless just because there are so many other avenues for animals to be tortured and slaughtered unnecessarily.

  8. Rudolph, I am a City of WeHo resident with no ties to the fur industry and I am AGAINST the City telling me or anybody else what I can and cannot buy. I have heard that the some of the designers in the Pacific Design Center have immunity from this law (but that is just rumor). This was a personal agenda item for one of our Council Members and I do not like being a pawn.

    First was the cat declawing law, which I supported. Then this, which I don’t support. Our City Council just wants to be the first in the Country in passing legislation so they get press. I think it is disgusting.

  9. may I suggest that some of the recent commenters with generic profiles and talking points neglect to mention their vested financial interest in the fur industry? shocking…

  10. I fully support the fur ban. Yes we’ll be losing out on some sales tax $$$ but we are making a strong statement (that fur farms are inhumane) and are putting our money where our mouths are. sure, one can always go further but this is a step in the right direction.

  11. I believe the subject at hand is fur, taken from animals that are raised & die under inhumane conditions for a product that serves no purpose whatsoever to anyone or anything except human greed & ego. The human consumption of leather & meat may be legitimate subjects of discussion but they are totally separate from the raising of animals for their fur in such horribly abusive ways. Even China has an active movement to ban fur. This is all good for the cause of a more civilized world.

  12. however leather dog collars and leather leashes are still sold in abundance.. leather furniture, shoes and wallets made of skin are sold.. weho’s drive porsches and jags with leather seats so their butts will be nice an comfy. they still sell meat in Weho

Comments are closed.