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Prohibit the Retail Sale of Fur

S. 623/H. 965: An Act prohibiting the sale of fur products

MSPCA Position: Support
Sponsors: Senator John Velis and Representative Jack Patrick Lewis
Status: Referred to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. Hearing held November 17, 2021.

These bills would prohibit the sale of new fur products in Massachusetts.

Ask your legislators to support S. 623/H. 965 to end the retail sale of fur in Massachusetts!

The future is fur-free. Growing consumer concern for animal welfare is leading fashion brands, cities, states, and countries to move away from animal fur once and for all. In 2019, California became the first state to phase out the sale of new fur products, after four of its cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, and West Hollywood) passed ordinances outlawing fur sales. Internationally, since 2000, twenty European countries have either banned or restricted fur farming, including the United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Austria. Also, India has phased out fur skin imports and São Paulo, Brazil has banned fur imports and sales. Most recently, in June 2021, Estonia passed a ban on fur farming and Israel banned the sale of fur in the fashion industry. In retail, Massachusetts-based TJX, as well as numerous top brands and retailers—including Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Canada Goose, Chanel, Coach, Neiman Marcus, Burberry, Versace, Donna Karan, Gucci, Michael Kors, and Armani—have announced fur-free policies. In Massachusetts, Wellesley banned new fur sales in 2020, Weston did the same in 2021, and other Commonwealth localities are also considering bans.

Fur production spreads COVID-19 and is a breeding ground for the next pandemic. In 2020, mink on hundreds of fur factory farms across Europe and the U.S. (Utah, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Oregon) tested positive for SARS-CoV-2. Wild mink in Oregon and Utah also tested positive. In Denmark and the Netherlands, farmed mink spread the mutated virus to humans—the only known animal-to-human transmission outside the original source—and such mutations might reduce the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines. To protect public health, European governments decided to kill nearly 20 million mink at infected farms, and France and the Netherlands passed laws to ban fur farming. Foxes and raccoon dogs were also found to have been infected with the SARS coronavirus.

Horrific animal cruelty is involved in making fur products. Every year, more than 100 million animals are raised and killed for their fur. On fur factory farms, animals spend their entire lives in cramped cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviors, only to be crudely gassed or anally-electrocuted at the end. The stress from living in a tiny cage causes serious welfare problems, such as self-mutilation and infected wounds, and can increase pathogen shedding and the risk of zoonotic disease transmission. Animal protection organizations have documented animals being skinned alive by the fur industry. In the wild, animals are caught in crippling leg-hold traps for days without food or water. These archaic traps are indiscriminate, often maiming and killing non-target animals, including threatened species and pets.

Fur production causes major pollution. On fur factory farms, waste runoff from animals pollutes the soil and waterways. The tanning and dying process uses toxic chemicals, like chromium and formaldehyde, to prevent the skin from decaying. Not surprisingly, truth in advertising committees across Europe have ruled that advertising fur as environmentally friendly is “false and misleading.” In 2018, the French advertising authority concluded, “numerous reliable reports show that the production of fur is extremely cruel and polluting, and that the final product contains toxic substances.”

Humane alternatives exist. After going fur-free in 2016, Giorgio Armani said, “technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposal that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals.” Michael Kors went fur-free the following year saying, “due to technological advances in fabrications, we now have the ability to create a luxe aesthetic using non-animal fur.” This sentiment has spread across the fashion industry, as major fashion brands have switched to innovative materials that have the look and feel of animal fur but without the cruelty. Legislation like S. 623 and H. 965 is helping drive the demand for innovation leading to a more sustainable and cruelty-free future.

Note: this bill will not impact second-hand fur sales.

In the news:

Should Massachusetts prohibit the sale of new fur products in the state? Boston Globe. April 29, 2021.

Animal Cruelty Fueling Push To Ban Fur Sales In Mass. WBUR. February 11, 2021

Co-Sponsors

Updated 8/13/2021

State Senators:

Name District/Address
John C. Velis Second Hampden and Hampshire
Jason M. Lewis Fifth Middlesex
James B. Eldridge Middlesex and Worcester
Michael D. Brady Second Plymouth and Bristol
Brendan P. Crighton Third Essex
Patrick M. O’Connor Plymouth and Norfolk
Rebecca L. Rausch Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex
Michael O. Moore Second Worcester
Sal N. DiDomenico Middlesex and Suffolk
Joseph A. Boncore First Suffolk and Middlesex
Joanne M. Comerford Hampshire, Franklin and Worcester
Julian Cyr Cape and Islands
Bruce E. Tarr First Essex and Middlesex

State Representatives:

Name District/Address
Jack Patrick Lewis 7th Middlesex
Natalie M. Higgins 4th Worcester
Lindsay N. Sabadosa 1st Hampshire
Jay D. Livingstone 8th Suffolk
Vanna Howard 17th Middlesex
Tommy Vitolo 15th Norfolk
Tram T. Nguyen 18th Essex
Bradford Hill 4th Essex
Steven S. Howitt 4th Bristol
Tami L. Gouveia 14th Middlesex
Kenneth I. Gordon 21st Middlesex
Adam J. Scanlon 14th Bristol
Angelo J. Puppolo, Jr. 12th Hampden
Linda Dean Campbell 15th Essex
Lori A. Ehrlich 8th Essex
Mathew J. Muratore 1st Plymouth
Joseph D. McKenna 18th Worcester
David M. Rogers 24th Middlesex
Christina A. Minicucci 14th Essex
David Henry Argosky LeBoeuf 17th Worcester
Josh S. Cutler 6th Plymouth
Peter Capano 11th Essex
Sean Garballey 23rd Middlesex
Michelle L. Ciccolo 15th Middlesex
Tackey Chan 2nd Norfolk
Thomas M. Stanley 9th Middlesex
Danillo A. Sena 37th Middlesex
Daniel J. Ryan 2nd Suffolk
Christopher Hendricks 11th Bristol
Carmine Lawrence Gentile 13th Middlesex
Daniel M. Donahue 16th Worcester
Michelle M. DuBois 10th Plymouth
Tricia Farley-Bouvier 3rd Berkshire
Marjorie C. Decker 25th Middlesex
Carol A. Doherty 3rd Bristol
Nika C. Elugardo 15th Suffolk
James M. Kelcourse 1st Essex
Erika Uyterhoeven 27th Middlesex
Brian W. Murray 10th Worcester
Kay Khan 11th Middlesex

More Information on Fur

The Fur Trade
Wellesley Bans the Sale of Fur
2021 Giving Tuesday Lightbox

COVID-19

Important Updates 

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