21 September 2011

West Hollywood gives the fur industry the Klum kiss-off: 'You’re Out'

Known for their exclusive shopping district, West Hollywood is home to fashion firms like Dolce & Gabbana, John Varvatos, and Stella McCartney. While West Hollywood has seen trends come and go, they’ve been working a true classic for the past two decades, making themselves known as America’s top model of animal protection.

In 1989, the West Hollywood (WeHo) council passed resolution 558, officially proclaiming the California city a “cruelty-free” zone, supporting a ban on animal-based cosmetics testing and steel-hold leg traps. In February of 2001, WeHo reinvented how they saw their animal friends, formally adopting the term “companion” and “guardian” (instead of "pet" and "owner").  In 2003, the city became the first in the US to ban declawing of cats, a legislative effort supported by The Paw Project. Last year, West Hollywood’s “Ordinance Prohibiting the Sale of Dogs and Cats in Companion Animal Stores,” went into law.

Now, in 2011, the city council of West Hollywood again lived up to their title of guardian, becoming the first city in the US to approve an ordinance banning the sale of fur. The measure won’t become law until it passes a few hurdles, namely the decision of a specific starting date for the ban, penalties, and how the law would be enforced in the instances of vintage-fur resellers.

Despite attempts by the fur industry to bring re-popularize their trade, it remains the fashion equivalent of a Flock of Seagulls haircut; the only person who thinks it looks good is the person wearing it. Ethically or environmentally-speaking (and no, vintage isn't any better) there isn't a good argument for fur (even Tim Gunn agrees, and we can all agree it's a bad idea to argue with a Gunn).

The West Hollywood fur-free campaign is the result of a lot of work from very dedicated individuals. To name a few: In Defense of Animals, Orange County People for Animals, Last Chance for Animals, and the San Diego-based Animal Protection and Rescue League. To find out what you can do to help make your city fur-free, visit the In Defense of Animals action center.

Nathan Rivas 
Nathan is a passionate animal advocate and vegan in the Seattle-area, who lives with a crazed dachshund, an enormous Maine coon and a judgemental short haired black cat. Nathan graduated with a Bachelors of Science (summa cum laude) from Northeastern University. He is preparing for his Masters of Science program in the fall and likes to make jokes that involve the chemical compound arsole (and is totally addicted to gardein).

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/keepthebyte