When the city of West Hollywood, Calif., banned the sale of all animal fur products in 2013, animal lovers everywhere cheered. It was heartening to see a major U.S. city step up and declare that they would not support the operations of the cruel fur industry, in which millions of helpless foxes and mink are confined within tiny cages, skinned alive, and anally electrocuted every year.
However, not everyone was pleased. Fur industry representatives and retailers soon began to complain that the ban was “illegal.” One particular retailer, Mayfair House, even filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing that their constitutional rights were being violated.
Hmm … so, Mayfair, your “constitutional right” to offload some of the skins of the 50 million tortured animals killed by the fur industry each year was being violated, was it? Our hearts go out to you…not.
Thankfully, the courts believed otherwise, and Mayfair’s challenge has just been struck down. Federal Chief Judge George H. King said that West Hollywood’s intent to “promote community awareness of animal welfare, foster the City’s goal to be a community that cares about animal welfare, and foster the City’s reputation as a Cruelty Free Zone for Animals” was a “legitimate interest,” rejecting Mayfair’s outlandish claim that the ban on fur sales was unconstitutional.
Ralph Henry, deputy director of the Humane Society of the United States Animal Protection Litigation Group, responded to the news by saying, “West Hollywood is one of the nation’s most animal-friendly cities – a notion that’s just incompatible with the inhumane treatment of fur-bearing animals. We applaud the Court’s decision to uphold the City’s groundbreaking ordinance. The ruling makes clear that the Constitution does not prevent West Hollywood or any other city from using its lawmaking powers to protect animals by prohibiting the sale of cruelly-produced products.”
It’s true that West Hollywood has long flown the flag for animal welfare standards. In 1989, the city declared itself a “Cruelty Free Zone for Animals,” and banned steel leg-hold traps and testing of cosmetics on animals that same year. The declawing of cats and other domestic animals was outlawed in 2003, the sale of puppy mill dogs and cats was banned in 2010, and just last year, the use of animals in circuses on the city grounds was also prohibited.
Looks like animal lovers in West Hollywood and throughout the U.S. have a great reason to celebrate right now!
Image source: Flikr