California has become the first US state to ban the sale and manufacture of new fur products.
On Saturday, California’s governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law to prohibit residents from making or selling items such as clothing, shoes or handbags made of fur.
The bill, which will go into effect in 2023, was applauded by animal rights advocacy groups, who have long been pushing for a ban on fur.
Bans on fur have already been put in place in some California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Mr Newsom also signed another bill into law on Saturday to ban most animals from circuses, similar to laws in place in New Jersey and Hawaii.
Despite opposition from the billion-dollar fur industry, and a threat to sue by the Fur Information Council of America, Mr Newsom said the state is a “leader when it comes to animal welfare”.
“California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare, and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur,” the governor said in a statement.
“But we are doing more than that. We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames.”
The ban excludes fur worn for religious or tribal purposes, and used fur. It also does not apply to leather, cowhides, stuffed animals and the full skin of deer, sheep and goats, according to the SF Chronicle.
Under the new law, violators could face up to $500 (£400) fines, with fines up to $1,000 for repeat violations. Fines can apply to each product sold.
Kitty Block, the chief executive and president of the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement: “The signing of AB44 underscores the point that today’s consumers simply don’t want wild animals to suffer extreme pain and fear for the sake of fashion.”
However, a spokesperson for the Fur Information Council said the group sees the law as an attack on choice.
In a statement, the spokesperson said the new law is part of a “radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step to other bans on what we wear and eat”.
The ban comes after numerous fashion designers have announced they would stop working with animal fur, including Versace, Gucci and Giorgio Armani.
Also on Saturday, Mr Newsom signed a law that bans the trophy hunting, trapping or killing of bobcats, adding them to the list of protected species in the state./Independent