This week, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed AB 44 into law, which will make California the first state in the country to prohibit the sale and manufacture of new fur statewide. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2023 and violators will be fined up to $1,000 and/or serve up to six months in jail. In December 2018, California assembly member Laura Friedman introduced AB 44, which is sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and supported by organizations In Defense of Animals (IDA), Animal Hope in Legislation (AHL), and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF). “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,” HSUS CEO Kitty Block said. “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.” 

This week, Newsom also signed SB313 (known as the “Circus Cruelty Prevention Act”) into law, making California the third state—behind New Jersey and Hawaii—to ban wild animal circuses. SB 313 was authored by Senator Ben Hueso, and sponsored by animal-rights groups People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL). “This is a historic day for California, as we join the growing number of states and localities stepping up to implement similar bans on cruel circuses,” Hueso said. “I’m very proud of the work we’ve accomplished to close the curtain on circuses in our state that exploit these beautiful creatures.” 

Additionally, Newsom signed AB1260 into law which bans the import and sale of certain “exotic” skins, including those derived from lizards, caimans, and hippopotamuses, a bill also sponsored by PETA and SCIL. “Californians’ dream of rejecting cruelty to animals in circuses, and the exotic-skins industries has come true,” SCIL founder and president Judie Mancuso said. “Social Compassion in Legislation is cheering our compassionate governor and lawmakers for slamming the door on these abusive industries and showing the rest of the country what a kinder future looks like.”  

In September, Newsom signed into law The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019 (AB 273), making California the first state to ban fur trapping.

Photo credit: Richard Vogel/AP

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