California just became the first US state to ban the practice of fur trapping.
The state’s newly-approved Assembly Bill 273 prohibits the trapping of any fur-bearing mammal or non-game mammal for purposes of recreation or commerce in fur. It also bans the sale of raw fur and eliminate the licenses of fur dealers and agents.
The legislation, which was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week, is expected to benefit thousands of native species, such as foxes, coyotes, beavers, badgers, and mink. It was approved by 30-9 in the Senate and 51-19 in the state Assembly.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) says that she penned the legislation because—in addition to being an inhumane practice—fur trapping was also shown to be a drain on taxpayer dollars in 2017.
Historically, trapping for fur was a large industry in California, but the harmful effects of trapping on the wildlife population can be traced to the early 1800s when sea otter populations along the San Francisco Bay and North Coast were decimated. Fur trapping has also played a role in the decline of wolves, wolverines, fishers, martens, and beavers in California.
Fur trapping in California is currently done on an extremely small scale, but hundreds of fur-bearing animals have been trapped each year so their pelts can be sold for a profit overseas. In 2017, a total of 133 trapping licenses were sold to fur trappers in California, generating approximately $15,000 for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which is just a fraction of the financial resources required to oversee the industry.
“Not only does the cruel fur trapping trade decimate our increasingly vulnerable wildlife populations, running this program doesn’t even make fiscal policy sense,” Gonzalez said in a statement. “Taxpayers are subsidizing this unnecessary commercial activity because the cost of managing this program isn’t even covered by the revenue from trapping license fees.”
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