Recently, AB 44 (Assemblymember Laura Friedman), the proposed prohibition of animal fur products in California, cleared the Assembly’s Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife. Locally, Assemblymember Todd Gloria (D-San Diego) voted to support the measure. “Californians love their animals and wildlife. Skinning animals or farming fur for fashion or other accessories is contrary to those values, and I believe it’s no longer necessary in a 21st century society,” said Assemblymember Gloria.
Existing state law (California Fish & Game Code Section 3039) makes it unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within the state, the dead body, or any part or product thereof, of specified species of animals. AB 44 would add California Fish & Game Code Section 2023, making it unlawful to sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, give, donate, or otherwise distribute a fur product in California. Used furs for sale and furs used for tribal culture or spiritual purposes by a Native American tribe are excepted from the prohibition. Violations of the law is not criminal but is subject to civil penalty of $500 for the first violation, $750 for the second violation within a year, and $1,000 for the third or additional violations. The penalty is deposited in the Fish and Game Preservation Fund used to fund the Department and assist with programs relating to the protection and preservation of birds, mammals, fish, reptiles or amphibian animals.
This law has the full support of animal rights organizations, such as, the Humane Society and the National Animal Interest Alliance. Supporting responsible and humane use of animals for food, clothing, medical research, companionship, assistance, recreation, entertainment and education are among the larger topics of discussion and debate in our rural and suburban communities. Part of the discussion must include how the state and federal laws that mandate the proper treatment of animals and provide penalties for animal abuse. I applaud Assemblymember Laura Friedman for authoring AB 44 and for Assemblymember Todd Gloria’s leadership on advancing this bill to law.
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Alan Geraci is a former candidate for 75th Assembly District and consumer attorney.