This week, California governor Gavin Newsom signed into law The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019 (AB 273) which bans fur trapping across the state—making California the first state in the United States to adopt such legislation. The bill was introduced by California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez and supported by numerous animal-rights organizations, including In Defense of Animals (IDA). “Prohibiting fur trapping would eliminate the needless taxpayer subsidized killing of California’s native species for the international fur trade, while better protecting the role these species place in our ecosystems and economy,” the new law states. Animals trapped for their fur—whom trappers beat, electrocute, and strangle to death—in California typically include coyotes, mink, foxes, beavers, raccoons, badgers, amongst others. Last year, 1,568 animals were trapped and killed for fur. Along with prohibiting the sale of “raw” fur from trapped animals, AB 273 makes all methods, specifically “steel-jawed leghold traps” illegal in the state. Additionally, the new law prohibits the trapping of animals for “pest control” purposes and protects species such as rats, mice, moles, and gophers. 

The Office of the Governor of California announced the passing of AB 273 on Twitter with the help of stuffed animal “Potter the Otter,” who tweeted, “Gavin Newsom has put his paw of approval on AB 273. My friends and I should not have to live in fear of being trapped and our fur being sold.” 

“This is a victory for animals and for all Californians who spoke out in the thousands to protect animals from extreme cruelty of fur trapping,” IDA Director of Communications Fleur Dawes said. “California is sending the world a clear statement: fur-bearing animals have the right to live in their own skin, free from being maimed and killed by horrific traps to steal their fur for trivial ‘fashion’ statements.” Dawes hopes that the fur-trapping ban sets a precedent for the passing of other legislation that protects animals from cruelty, including AB 44—a bill currently in front of state legislators that aims to ban the sale of fur across California.

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