Once ubiquitious on 5th Avenue fashion houses in Manhattan, fur products are now in the crosshairs as lawmakers are mulling a ban on the pelts of animals.
NYC legislators are pushing for a halt on the sale of new fur products, citing cruelty.
According to NBC New York, Albany is considering similar measures to impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur. The fur trade in New York dates back to days of Henry Hudson and the original settlers of the area who trapped and manufactured beaver pelts.
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Today, roughly 1,100 people work in the fur industry in NYC and may lose their jobs as a result of the ban. Advocates for stopping the fur trade dismiss these concerns, claiming that the practice is inhumane and archaic.
“Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who is sponsoring the state legislation told KTLA 5 News. “Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one’s business.”
FURNYC, an activist group rallying against the ban, say more than 130 strictly fur businesses operate in New York City, the largest fur market in the U.S.. These businesses make up 70 percent of high-end designer clothing, such as parkas, UGG boots, handbags, fake eyelashes, paintbrushes and home décor products. FURNYC claims that the United States manufactured more than $352 billion in fur apparel and accessories in 2018, and that fur products sold by secondary retailers were estimated at $120 million in 2017.
"Everyone is watching this," said Nancy Daigneault, vice president at the International Fur Federation in London told CBS News. "If it starts here with fur, it's going to go to wool, to leather, to meat."
Fur farming was outlawed in England and Wales in 2000, and in Scotland in 2002. Fur products can still be legally imported from other countries and sold in the United Kingdom. Should the ban go through, New York City would join San Francisco, where a fur ban will go into effect later this year, and Los Angeles, where a similar ban will be implemented in 2021.