BREAKING: California bans the sale of fur

British Government under increasing pressure from #FurFreeBritain campaign to end UK fur sales after California’s historic ban

Humane Society International / United States

Jillian Cooper/ Wild mink

LONDON—California has made history today by becoming the first U.S. State to ban the sale of animal fur. Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 44 into law, banning all new fur sales and manufacturing in California. The law, which comes into effect in January 2023, has been welcomed by Humane Society International which hopes it will inspire fur sales bans around the world. In the United Kingdom, Humane Society International’s #FurFreeBritain campaign is urging the UK to follow in California’s footsteps by becoming the first country in the world to ban the sale of animal fur.

The United Kingdom, which was the first country in the world to ban fur farming on ethical grounds back in 2000, still allows imports of animal fur from other countries such as Finland, Poland and China.

Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK, says, “California has made history by becoming the first U.S state to ban the sale of animal fur, signifying the growing distaste for fur products by consumers who want to see compassion in fashion. It is deeply immoral for animals to suffer miserable lives and painful deaths just to end up as a bobble hat or coat trim, and this ban sends a powerful message to the fur trade that its business model is unethical and its days are numbered. Now is the time for the UK to join the trailblazing to shut down markets for this cruel and outdated industry. We banned fur farming here two decades ago for being inhumane, but now we allow tens of millions of pounds of fur to be imported; by effectively outsourcing cruelty we’ve only done half the job. Our #FurFreeBritain campaign is calling on the British government to follow in California’s footsteps, and make the UK the first country in the world to ban the sale of animal fur.”

California’s bill was introduced by Assemblymember Laura Friedman last December and sponsored by HSI/UK’s sister organisation the Humane Society of the United States, and Animal Hope and Wellness. It passed six committees and the full Assembly and Senate with overwhelming support. It had many notable supporters among the fashion industry, including InStyle magazine, Stella McCartney, Diane von Furstenberg, 3.1 Phillip Lim, HUGO BOSS, Patagonia, H&M, GAP, J.Crew, Madewell, Des Kohan, Hiraeth and Inditex/Zara.

California’s ban increases the pressure on the UK government to ban the sale of animal fur in Britain. The #FurFreeBritain campaign, launched by HSI/UK, argues that if fur is too cruel to produce in Britain, it is too cruel to sell in Britain. The campaign, backed by celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench, Paloma Faith, Ricky Gervais and Thandie Newton, has strong cross-party political support with MPs Zac Goldsmith, John McDonnell and Jo Swinson in favour of a ban. A UK fur sales ban is also included in the Labour party’s animal welfare plan, published last month. Earlier this month Islington became the first London Borough to ban the sale of fur.

Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, says, ““The signing of AB 44 underscores the point that today’s consumers simply don’t want wild animals to suffer extreme pain and fear for the sake of fashion. More cities, states and countries are expected to follow California’s lead, and the few brands and retailers that still sell fur will no doubt take a closer look at innovative alternatives that don’t involve animal cruelty.”

Humane Society International expects more state-wide bans to follow quickly, as similar bills have been introduced in Hawaii and New York. Los Angeles, San Francisco, West Hollywood and Berkeley have already implemented fur sales bans.

Fur facts:

  • More than 100 million animals globally are reported to be killed every year for their fur. In addition to the physical and psychological torment of being confined in small, barren cages for their entire lives, the killing methods typically used on fur farms are equally distressing. Mink are killed by gassing, and fox and raccoon dogs are killed by anal electrocution.
  • An increasing number of fashion designers and retailers are dropping fur cruelty. In the last two years alone Prada, Gucci, Versace, Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, DKNY, Burberry, Chanel and other high-profile brands have announced fur-free policies. In addition, online fashion retail platforms Net-a-porter and Farfetch have introduced no-fur policies.
  • Britain imports and sells the fur of a variety of species, including fox, rabbit, mink, coyote, raccoon dog and chinchilla. Fur imports from dogs, cats and seals killed during commercial hunts are banned across the EU, and HSI wants those existing bans extended to protect all fur-bearing species. In 2016 the value of fur imported into the UK was £55.6 million. A provisional estimate of the number of animal skins that equates to in that year is approximately 2,000,000 (1,720,000 mink, 110,000 fox, 90,000 raccoon dog and 80,000 skins from animals trapped in the wild, such as  coyote, lynx, beaver and otter).

Download fur farm photos and video here: 

China fox and raccoon dog, December 2015:

Fur: China rabbit fur farm, December 2015:


Media contact:

United Kingdom – Wendy Higgins


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