WeHo Council to Consider Ban on Shops Displaying, as Well as Selling, Fur

How much is that fur coat in the window? Well, soon you might not see one if the West Hollywood City Council passes a revision to its fur ban on Monday night.

The Council will consider banning not only the sale of fur, which it did in 2011, but also banning the display of fur apparel, putting an end to a practice in which some merchants have directed customers to order a fur item in their shops online or go to another shop outside the city limits to make the purchase.

Ugg boot
Ugg boot

The City Council in 2011 passed a law banning the sale of clothing made in whole or part of fur. That law took effect in September 2013. The ban was promoted by John D’Amico, who was running for election to the City Council. Among D’Amico’s supporters were Animal Alliance California and Ed Buck, a local fur ban advocate. The city became the first in the United States to ban fur apparel. West Hollywood also has banned the retail sale of cats and dogs, and it recognizes their human companions as “guardians” rather than owners. The city has banned “pet rentals,” cat de-clawing and also performances by exotic animals.

The fur sales ban has been especially controversial, with local businesses saying the city has no right to tell them what products they can or cannot sell. West Hollywood’s Design District, which encompasses Beverly and Robertson boulevards and Melrose Avenue, is a fashion hub with boutiques that historically have offered fur products for sale. A 2012 study commissioned by the city found that 16 of 27 businesses responding to a survey said the ordinance would have a negative impact on them.

Mayfair House, a clothing and home furnishings retailer at 8844 Beverly Blvd. near North Clark, has challenged the city’s ban in federal and state courts. Mayfair contends that the ban has had a negative impact on its sale of Uggs, a popular type of boots made of sheep who were slaughtered for their meat and not to fabricate boots.

  1. Unfortunately, animals will continue to be killed,and in much larger numbers when they become a nuisance because the wild fur managers are not doing it.
    All you have to do is look at the millions of Beautiful Muskrats that are slaughtered in Holland and thrown in the incinerators,because there are no fur managers in those countries,
    Once this valuable, renewable natural resource was managed for sustainability,and health,and now the millions of sick and starving rats have been turned into nothing but a pestilent nuisance to be gotten rid of.Instead of having a capital enterprise that values animals as well as the health of the overall populations we now have a business of eradication that costs the taxpayers millions.
    Same is happening with the seals now,it is morally sickening to treat animals like that.Man has a moral duty to manage the animals as we have done since time immemorial as the top predator in the food chain and web of life.

  2. Alan, your argument is based on a faulty premise: the state (aka the law) is imposing an ethical view/morality on the public already. We have human rights, civil rights, anti torture laws, as well as laws about the treatment of animals. You and I are not allowed to mistreat or kill just any animal for any reason, nor should we be.

    If my “lifestyle choice” is beheading squirrels in the park and displaying their heads in my store window for decoration, I would surely get in trouble in most civilized societies.

    In your opinion, should someone be allowed to impale cats and dogs for their own amusement? I think there is a clear majority, certainly in WeHo, that would answer “no”!

    The question is not IF the law should impose basic ethics on society when it comes to the treatment and killing of other beings (it clearly does that already) but WHERE to draw the line.

    I only agree with your second point.

  3. @Allan Herscovici: I reply to your propaganda. “Surely the people of WeHo should understand that better than anyone?!” Obviously you are referring to WeHo’s support if it’s gay population, another point irrelevant to the subject at hand, but a low one nonetheless, to compare the right to sexual freedom to the right to animal torture. Your perception of Councilmember D’Amico being “embarrassingly incoherent” on a radio program is completely irrelevant as well, but a personal attack, also a typical method of response by those who wish to convolute the discussion with irrelevance because their arguments are otherwise weak. To state that animals are not tortured or skinned alive is an ignorant statement of propaganda as well, & there is no excuse for ignorance in this age of instant electronic information, Your points can be disproven with the click of a mouse, quickly & easily. The fact is animals are born & bred in filthy sickly conditions before being killed by workers who viciously snap & break their necks, by gassing or poisoning, by anal electrocution & other slow, grueling deaths. And many are indeed skinned alive. Denial does not change reality. Banning fur is nothing new, as such laws have been enacted in the UK, Austria, Sweden. Croatia among others & Switzerland has enacted such strict fur laws that there are no fur farms at all. Fur trapping, in which animals are trapped & left to suffer sometimes for days until the trapper comes along & clubs them to death or stands on their neck till they suffocate, is universally considered so cruel & inhumane that trapping has been banned in 90 countries & some states ,including Calif, Florida, Mass., New Jersey, Rhode Island & Wisconsin. West Hollywood is by no means the first to acknowledge the cruelty of the fur industry & it won’t be the last because it is a growing trend. To imply that everything in life is a choice is also propaganda. West Hollywood has already banned stores that sell puppy mill dogs & very effectively I might add, & to applause from other places that use WeHo as a trend setting example. WeHo has also banned cat declawing & the use of animals in circuses etc. If one chooses to do these things, they will have to do them elsewhere. They are NOT a choice here. But I presume you also object to these bans & think these forms of animal abuse should also be a choice. It is perfectly logical to use fur apparel as a starting point to raise public awareness of cruelty in the fur industry & expand it to other areas of use as time goes on. There are many different areas of animal abuse that many people have organized against, like the abuse of whales & dolphins at Sea World, torturing ducks for foie gras, banning shark fin soup, organizations fighting against dog & bull & cock fighting, & many others. Have you seen the movie “Blackfish”? These are all different animal rights causes & there is absolutely every reason why they all should be individualized as separate causes & organizations. The fur industry is synonymous with animal abuse & is an ugly industry which shouldn’t even be an issue in Southern Calif where the idea of wearing fur is ridiculous on it’s face. Since personal choice seems to be the main theme of your point, do you also think store window displays that might display symbols of religious, racial or ethnic violence should also be a “choice”? Smoking is banned in many locations in WeHo. Do you think that is an invasion of personal freedom? Laws are meant to protect the innocent & that includes animals., maybe especially animals since they cannot speak for themselves & can only suffer in silence. Those who speak out against animal abuse of any kind are honorable people. Animal abusers & those who defend them are not.

  4. There are many very strange things about the WeHo fur ban.

    First, I thought that WeHo was founded on the principle of freedom of lifestyle choices? If you don’t want to buy or wear fur, then don’t, but it boggles the mind that WeHo’s political elite would choose to use legislation to dictate what other people may buy — or now, even show in their store windows?!

    Second, there are strange double standards at work: e.g., why is fur in clothing banned, but not fur for blankets or pillows or other interior decor? It has been whispered that this is because certain members of WeHo’s political elite had business interests in interior decor. So much for moral integrity!

    Third, WeHo’s political elite seems completely out of touch with serious environmental policy: the modern, well-regulated fur trade is an excellent example of the responsible and sustainable use of natural, renewable resources — a central principle of current ecological thinking as promoted by the World Conservation Union (IUCN), the Worldwide Fund for Nature, and other conservation authorities. (The synthetics preferred by WeHo’s political leaders are usually made from petroleum, a non-renewable resource!)

    Fourth, WeHo’s political elite has never been able to justify their ban in any coherent way. In fact, when I was asked to debate then councillor John D’Amico on Canadian CBC radio, Mr. D’Amico was so embarrassingly incoherent that the host of the program (“Q”) refused to air the segment, although (or because?) he is a vegetarian and sympathetic to “animal rights” philosophy.

    Fifth, it is sad to see the proponents of this ban using sensationalist lies to promote their issue. Don’t buy fur if you don’t want it, but could we stop repeating lies like the absurd claim that farmed fur animals are “tortured” or “skinned alive”. For a more realistic take on the modern, North American fur trade, check out TruthAboutFur.

    Bottom line: No one is forcing anyone to wear fur or leather or to eat meat. But that doesn’t give you a right to impose your personal choices on everyone else. It is dangerous to let the state dictate morality. Surely the people of WeHo should understand that better than anyone?!

  5. @Rudolph Martin: Thank you, very well said. This is not about belts or purses, religion, gay flags, traps in store windows, the Civil Rights movement. Westborough Baptist Church etc, but about the torture & killing of innocent animals for needless & virtually useless human so called luxury apparel. Unfortunately so many convolute the subject matter by straying to unrelated subjects which though they may certainly be worthy of concern & discussion, they are too far off topic & contribute nothing to the subject at hand. I can’t figure what part of “fur” so many people don’t seem to understand.

  6. Interesting points but I don’t see how this is a “free speech” or “freedom of expression” issue at all. The ban is meant to prevent the sale of fur products. Everyone can express themselves all they want. Just like money is not speech, fur is not speech.

    This is solely an ethical issue. Where should we draw the line when it comes to the treatment and the killing of animals? Do animals have rights? Is it really in our best interest to kill animals just because we feel like it?

    The fur ban opponents are absolutely right when they point out that there is no consistent nor logical line in our society that separates acceptable from unacceptable, different animals get treated differently for no logical reason. Mass slaughter for food is ok, for fashion accessories not so much. Unless it’s leather. Cows and pigs are no less sensitive and intelligent than cats and dogs, yet most of us don’t question our right to mass slaughter them. Hypocrisy abounds around this subject.

    And yet I feel that none of this matters as the important thing is to become more humane step by step and try to evolve. It is better to be chipping away at an injustice piece by piece than to do nothing. Like many rights in society it can be a long process. I am proud to live in a city that raises the bar on animal rights and I don’t care if we lose a couple of stores over it.

  7. @Robert Roy You know, since the Lion was Killed In Africa …. it wasn’t the worldwide ‘outcry’ that got my attention, but the very large number of people who live full satisfied lives …. which include for them Killing Animals for pleasure.

    I happen to be unable to understand anyone wanting to kill anything (not trying to kill them first). The Lion just got the world’s attention.

    THUS – I don’t think there is any point in discussing, arguing, or canvassing either the Lion Killing Story or the People who are Anti-fur and those who live fulfilled lives with fur.

    There is simple no similarity, frame of reference or ability for either side of these issues to try to understand the very strong held/felt beliefs of EITHER side.

    The Civil Rights Movement had the ability to be discussed and have those who were against any ‘integration’ et al, come around and see what is a majority (but clearly not a universal feeling in the US) of consensus about equality of Civil Rights.

    That kind of coming together will never happen. There is something intrinsically different in the cognitive process over this issue (other issues too, but this one I don’t think will ever change, and fighting, getting upset over comments or drawing anti-Semitism into a fur ban discussion is hardly appropriate or relevant.

    I will point out (recently seeing a documentary on tv) that the sheer number of animals living in torture until they are violently killed for our Beef/Cattle/Chicken consumption in the US is staggeringly HUGE in number and DISTURBING (and disgusting) that our national livestock supply is the result of millions of animals being equally treated (or worse) that the fur industry’s practices.

    I am just glad, we live in a free society where we can’t express ourselves and are not prohibited from choosing what we display or not.

    How about some small town in the deep south. Banning gay flags? Sits well with that rural fundamentalists …. but not for us in weho. Unfortunately, they have gay children too, and were such a ban allowed to be put up by any 35,000 populated small city, it would be devastating to LGBT children born there.

    eg. the Westborough Baptist Church is actually totally OFFENSIVE to almost EVERYONE. Obviously gay and liberals … but the far right as well. By blocking their demonstrations with larger numbers of people making their own statement by forming long groups blocking the HATE signs they display …. the Free World Exists.

    What else can be done? Well, the LGBT community raised funds, bought a house across the street from that church, and painted a GIANT Rainbow Flag on the house.

    I am glad that Westborough (if that’s the city’s name) doesn’t have the ability to write legislation banning the display of the Rainbow Flag.

    To have weho even think of attempting to legislate such a ban on display is contrary to both the Constitutional Freedom of Expression (most people in the world don’t have that right) as well as the foundation of weho to be able for everyone to express, display and live with what was at the time a very much NOT accepted by the majority of the Country IS A MORAL VIOLATION in line with the overall loss of a value system coming from the city’s decisions about growth and construction.

    WEHO is the SYMBOL of freedom of expression in the US. Now because there is a HOT BUTTON ISSUE WE DON’T LIKE ….. that issue weho can decide (5 council members) BANNING IT BY LAW.

    Again … I now see there is no real reason for either side in this issue to attempt to come together. There is a difference in the way people perceive and choose to live and what to do within their life choices.

  8. You know, what’s always bothered me about the whole ‘animal rights’ faction is how selective they are re. their ‘targets’. which has led me to wonder if there’s a degree of anti-semitism at work here. I live in a conservative , quite up-scale part of my native city. About twenty years ago, the local furrier was having terrible problems with his premises being vandalised. Glue in the locks, his sign being smashed, that sort of thuggery. However, this was the lead up to a night when his shop front was covered in red paint and two of his windows were smashed. It reminded me of ‘Kristallnacht’ in Nazi German. Many local people were very sympathetic and helped to clean off the red paint as well as expressing horror that such a thing could happen in our quiet street.

    Oddly enough, the butchers shop, three doors up, was unaffected despite there being complete animal carcasses on display. Four doors down was an upmarket shoe shop with leather goods in the windows, also unaffected. This led me to two conclusions. Is the anti- fur movement really the politics of envy? The vast majority of people can afford to eat the products of a butcher or shoe shop despite animals having died to create the product. However, not everyone can afford £15,000 for a mink coat. Why did no-one attack the butcher’s shop or the shoe shop?

    Perhaps the answer lies in the names of the proprietors. The butcher’s shop is owned by Hamish Macleod, the shoe shop by Stuart Johnson and the furrier’s name was Isaac Cohen. Make of that what you will.

  9. Banning the display? — isn’t that like banning free speech? I’m for animals.. but I am also for living in a free country where I have my choice to not purchase fur or frequent businesses that want to sell those type of products. What’s next? Have you seen the way pigs get slaughtered or chickens rounded up in chicken mills?

    If this update to the fur ban goes into effect then it should apply to the Pacific Design Center.. there should not be the Charles Cohen free ride on display or sale of fur in the red, blue or green building…

    The city council should speak louder for freedom of speech and freedom of expression and freedom of markets than spending time worrying what is in my store window…. because I might want to put up a piece of fur, next to a trap, and educate passers by to the horrors of animal traps ..

    Why doesn’t the city council ban the sale of crystal meth pipes instead..? How stupid, they allow the sale of crystal meth pipes in town and then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to educate, prevent and treat meth addiction.

  10. Banning the ‘sight’ of anything is a scary start down a dangerous hill. Besides not understanding under what law, the city/city council will be able to regulate what business owners display, just because WE ALL (most of us) might like this to happen, government regulating what can be displayed is wrong.

    BETTER – assuming most people don’t want to see business with certain displays, make the stop the AMERICAN WAY …. don’t shop there. Tell friends not to shop there. Hey even have public protests in front of any such offending business ….. That’s the American Free Society we are lucky enough to live in.

    Legislating it will be ineffective, costly when it goes to court and won’t address the community not wanting to see the pelts of tortured animals as expensive accessory clothing.

    I would never wear fur, but who knows, if I lived in Siberia …. I might reconsider it.

    Ironic the fur coat debate is coming mid August as our Hottest Months now start.

  11. PLEASE DO THIS! There is so much horrific animal cruelty, innocents that live tortured & tormented lives then are cruelly killed, even skinned alive in the name of ego driven “fashion”. This is a chance for West Hollywood to seriously enhance our present ban & continue to lead by example that will be used as a model for others who want to follow, here & even around the world. One small step for mankind, one giant step for animals. Whether this is symbolic or not, it is a monumental statement that there are still people who are willing & able to fight against animal cruelty for needless so called “luxury” clothing. West Hollywood should be very proud of their leadership on animal rights & of continuing to pave the way step by step to a more civilized world for everyone. Anyway I always observe how ridiculous fur clothing looks in store windows in this nearly 100 degree weather even though I never see anyone wearing it. There is in fact no weather in So. Calif that is appropriate for fur clothing so I’m sure this is no significant profit loss for those who sell shoes & clothing. Let’s do it folks!

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