Animal advocates are applauding the introduction of legislation in Hawaii that could make it the first state in the nation to go fur free.
The bill (SB 1350), which was just introduced by Senator Mike Gabbard, would ban the manufacture and sale of certain fur products in the state, in addition to banning the import of fur products for sale or distribution.
In a statement to the Fur Free Society, which is supporting this bill, Senator Gabbard said, “[b]anning animal fur products in our islands is the right thing to do and will show our aloha for animals. I’m hopeful we’ll get this bill to the finish line this session.”
As the bill points out, while fur was once used to provide protective clothing, we no longer actually need it and it’s become something that’s used only for fashion.
Unfortunately, millions of animals are still being violently killed for their fur every year, while the majority of them are raised and killed on fur farms, where deplorable, inhumane living conditions that take a major psychological and physical toll on furbearers have continued to be exposed again and again around the world.
Little oversight of the industry is also problematic, and compliance with guidelines issued by the American Veterinary Medical Association isn’t mandatory. Now, one of the biggest problems in the U.S. is that furbearing animals that are farmed aren’t considered wild animals, but they’re not really considered domestic either. While licenses may be required for farms, there are exemptions from both the Animal Welfare Act and the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and there are few other laws in place to protect them from cruelty or inhumane living conditions.
A few federal laws may protect wild furbearing animals to a degree, but even the fur that comes from them is the result of suffering at the hands of trappers who have an arsenal of tools used to maim and kill, including leghold traps, body-crushing Conibear traps and snares.
Now, thanks to alternatives that are widely available, this is no longer necessary, and the demand for fur doesn’t justify cruelty to animals, or unnecessarily killing them. Not only does this industry cause immense suffering to animals, it’s also contributing to environmental problems. While the industry claims that fur is an eco-friendly “renewable resource,” it’s continued to cause problems ranging from water and air pollution from fur farms to the toxic chemicals used to process pelts to keep them from rotting, proving there’s nothing about it that’s environmentally friendly.
Fortunately, a lot of progress has been made with bans on fur farms and fur products around the world over concerns about the cruelty involved in fur production, and hopefully more will continue to be made.
Last year legislation that would ban fur in California was introduced, but it has yet to move forward. Now, Hawaii could be the first in the U.S. to pass a statewide ban, but it’s likely going to need a lot of public support. If it does pass, not only will it help protect furbearing animals from this insidious trade, it will help send a strong message that there’s nothing fashionable about animal cruelty.