In the wake of the Los Angeles City Council’s recent unanimous vote to put in motion a citywide ban of fur sales, the International Fur Federation and the Fur Information Council of America are striking back.
In a joint statement released Thursday, the groups emphasized that the Los Angeles city attorney still needs to draft the proposed law, before it is presented before the full City Council and debated. “It could still be amended and changed considerably, if members of council decide to do their homework.” the statement read.
As of Tuesday there was no specific timetable in place, according to a spokesman for Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer. “The specifics of the ban will need to be worked out per the instruction of our client, the City Council, before drafting a final version of any ordinance,” he said.
IFF’s Nancy Daigneault and Mark Oaten said, “This is public policy based on lies, flawed studies and false allegations as those proposing the ban have not proactively reached out to the fur industry to learn about the high animal welfare and environmental standards in place — nor have they learned about sustainability in a meaningful way.”
FICA’s Keith Kaplan continued, “The motion put forward to the Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee in support of a fur ban was pulled nearly directly from a 2009 Humane Society of the United States [HSUS] propaganda filled with lies and inaccuracies that are rebutted in detail in the attached document. This proposal could cost hundreds of jobs and millions in tax revenues on the basis of lies about industry practices that are nearly a decade old.”
Fur supporters have written an extensive rebuttal that has been shared with nine of the 15 council members, according to Kaplan. The remaining ones will also receive it and meetings will be held with each of all them, but no dates have been set, he said. The staff for Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz, who led the fur-free effort, has not received calls from FICA or IFF, according to a spokeswoman.
Describing the situation as “a slippery slope,” Daigneault said, “While this is happening to fur today, leather, wool and silk will be tomorrow. The campaigns against these products have already begun.”
Pro-fur supporters put forward six questions about the Los Angeles proposal, including “Have any one of our city council members spent time on a fur farm to see if the claims put forth in the motion are really true? Have they met with wildlife biologists to really learn about trapping and wildlife management? Will they read through the rebuttal presented to you today and engage in any further investigation in an attempt to get at the truth?
“How will council respond when this same group of activists comes back to them for the next ban on animal-use products, telling us we can no longer buy leather shoes, wool blankets or hamburgers?” the statement read. “Fur is the easy target because it is a luxury product, but campaigns against leather, wool and meat are already well under way around the world.”
Kaplan said, “A small group of very vocal activists is asking our city council to make a choice for the rest of us. They are asking city council to take away our freedom of choice, assuming consumers are neither smart enough nor considerate enough to make a decision for themselves.”
He continued, “For over 40 years, groups like PETA and HSUS have been hard at work to convince consumers to stop buying fur. They have been loud, graphic and in-your-face. Certainly, consumers have been bombarded, more than any other product category. Still, they are buying fur. They have listened; perhaps they have done their research and they have made up their own minds. No matter what claims are thrown around about consumer attitudes and research, the cash register tells the truest story. If nobody was buying fur retailers would not be selling it and manufacturers would not be producing it…and a ban would be a moot point.”
The pro-fur rebuttal comes at a time when animal activists have accelerated their fur-free lobbying with international designers — and Los Angeles city officials — in recent weeks and when leading brands such as Michael Kors, Gucci and Burberry have vowed to stop using real fur in their designs.