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Fur Bans Are Unconstitutional, Consumer Group Says

Today the Center for Consumer Freedom announced support for planned legal challenges to bans on the sale of natural fur in California. San Francisco has a ban that will come into effect January, while California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a statewide ban that will begin in 2023.

The bans create a slippery slope for banning more consumer products. Fur ban proponents, led by the radical PETA and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are committed to imposing veganism on society, using coercion or intimidation to undermine Americans’ right to wear leather, cashmere, or wool products. The most recent such hostage-taking is the announcement last week from HSUS that it had “convinced” the struggling Macy’s department stores to stop selling fur clothing. Animal activists also seek to outlaw or make far more expensive any animal-derived food products including meat, dairy, seafood and eggs.

Conversely, Gallup polling finds the majority of the public believes wearing fur is a morally acceptable choice. Americans strongly support the freedom to decide on their own what to wear or eat. The California is expected to lose $25 million in tax revenue if businesses are banned from selling the material. This is tax revenue that could be used to find solutions to California’s ballooning homelessness crisis.

Litigation soon to be filed challenging these frivolous bans relies on well-established constitutional law that prohibits towns, or states to concoct restrictions on commerce. Under Supreme Court cases interpreting the Commerce Clause in the U.S. Constitution, San Francisco (as an example) may not wall itself off from interstate and foreign commerce. As the Supreme Court has held, “States and localities may not attach restrictions to exports or imports in order to control commerce in other States.” 

“Banning Californians from buying certain clothing is an abuse of consumer’s rights and an attempt to impose selective morality on consumers,” commented Will Coggin, managing director of CCF. “Animal activists would ban everything from cheeseburgers to pet ownership if they could, but the Constitution protects consumers’ ability to buy lawfully produced products.”

CCF is also critical of companies like Macy’s that buckle under pressure from vegan activists to stop selling sustainable, natural products. “The fast declining Macy’s let a small band of bullies dictate what they can sell. They are letting the inmates run the asylum,” remarked Coggin. “Such weakness only invites more blackmail from animal radicals, while failing to serve consumer interests.” 

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