Putting animal rights over fashion imperatives and its own vibrant shopping scene, leaders of the California city of West Hollywood have given final approval to a first-in-the-nation ban on the sale of fur clothing within its limits.
The five-member City Council of the tiny, tony municipality wedged between Beverly Hills and Hollywood voted 3-1 with one abstention early on Tuesday to approve the ordinance, said City Councilman John Heilman, who voted no.
The ban was tentatively adopted by the council on Sept. 20 and had been expected to win easy enactment two weeks later.
But it ran into stiff opposition from the local Chamber of Commerce and the fur industry, whose main trade group, the Fur Information Council of America, happens to be based in West Hollywood.
Opponents say nearly half of the 200 apparel stores in town sell at least some fur items, and that merchandise made with animal pelts is estimated to account for up to $2 million in revenues for those businesses each year.
But the city's famously left-leaning political establishment ultimately embraced the ban, won over by supporters' arguments that furs are produced from animals that are inhumanely killed for their pelts.
However, the date the measure will take effect was pushed back to Sept. 21, 2013, from the original June 30, 2012, in part because city officials want to conduct their own study on how the ordinance will affect businesses, Heilman said.