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Garments containing animal fur have to be labeled, CA Senate
Aug '10
The CA Senate passed Assembly Bill 1656 with a bipartisan vote of 22 to 11. The bill, co-authored by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) and sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), would require garments sold in California that are made of animal fur to say so on the label. Previously AB 1656 passed 59 to 11 in the Assembly and now heads to the Governor's desk.

AB 1656 was introduced after investigations in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento areas found unlabeled animal fur jackets for sale at well-known stores, in several instances being described by the salespeople as fake fur. Although a federal law requires labeling of most animal fur apparel, many fur-trimmed jackets are exempt under a loophole and do not currently require labeling.

“With more than one million items of clothing or accessories being sold with animal fur in the U.S. each year, it only makes sense that consumers know what kind of fur they are wearing,” said Assemblywoman Fiona Ma. “There is an assumption out there that if a garment isn't labeled it must be fake — this isn't always the case. People have a right to know if they are buying dog fur or a polyester blend. It shouldn't be a mystery.”

“Many consumers choose not to buy fur products because they have ethical objections or are allergic to animal fur,” said Assemblymember Lieu. “This bill will help consumers get the facts about the contents of these garments.”

In November 2009, an HSUS investigator accompanied a news crew in the Los Angeles area where it was discovered that unlabeled animal fur garments — as allowed by the current loophole — were being sold at stores including Bloomingdale's, Burlington Coat Factory and a children's boutique where the fur had been dyed pink.

“Right now, there are jackets for sale in California stores that say nothing on the label about the raccoon dog fur trimming the hood,” said Jennifer Fearing, The HSUS' California senior state director. “The Humane Society of the United States urges the governor to sign AB 1656 to grant consumers full disclosure about whether garments contain animal fur.”

In January 2010, unlabeled animal fur apparel – as allowed by the current federal loophole – was found in the San Francisco area, including Coach brand boots at Macy's; a dyed pink jacket by Bryan Bradley at Loehmann's; and Baby Phat, Rocawear and Utex brand jackets at Burlington Coat Factory. In Sacramento, an unlabeled Nicole Miller jacket was discovered at a Loehmann's.

If California enacts AB 1656, it would join Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin and become the sixth state with a fur labeling law.

California State Assembly Democratic Caucus

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