Hallandale Beach Bans Fur Sales: Florida Has The Eighth Highest Fur Sales In The Country
December 1, 2021
The Humane Society of the United States applauds the City Commission of Hallandale Beach for taking action against the cruel and dangerous fur trade. On November 17th, 2021 The City Commission of Hallandale Beach voted 5-0 to make theirs the first city in the state to ban the sale of new fur products. The ordinance will take effect immediately and exempts used fur and pelts from cows, sheep and deer.
Florida has the eighth highest fur sales in the country according to 2017 Economic Census Data.
Kate MacFall, Florida State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Florida is now on the map as a state that recognizes that fur products come from an industry that treats wild animals cruelly by raising them in unnatural conditions for the most frivolous of items. Hallandale Beach has set an example for other humane communities to follow.”
Michele Lazarow, The City Commissioner who sponsored the ordinance, said: “Hallandale Beach is a progressive community that doesn’t support products where unnecessary animal cruelty occurs and the fur industry, breeding animals for their pelts only and nothing else is a prime example.”
Anabelle Lima-Taub, The City Commissioner who co-sponsored the ordinance, said: “As a fiscally conservative lawmaker who believes that free enterprise is a moral imperative, sponsoring a fur sales ban due to the unspeakable cruelty to over 100 million animals killed yearly to supply the fashion industry, it comes down to right vs. wrong. If the multi-billion-dollar luxury fashion label stakeholders are choosing to be on the right side, I am proud to stand behind the principles of morality.”
California banned fur sales in 2019 following the passage of similar measures in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and West Hollywood. Wellesley and Weston, Massachusetts, Ann Arbor, Michigan and Boulder, Colorado have also voted to end fur sales. Internationally, Israel became the first country to ban fur sales earlier this year.
In 2021, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Canada Goose, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta, Tory Burch, Alexander McQueen and Balenciaga have announced fur-free policies, joining top fashion brands and retailers Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Prada, Gucci, Armani, Versace, Michael Kors, DKNY, Burberry, Chanel and many more.
According to PETA wool, fur and leather are hazardous to the environment. There is nothing “natural” about clothing made from animals’ skin or fur. In addition to causing the suffering and deaths of millions of animals each year, the production of wool, fur and leather contributes to climate change, land devastation, pollution and water contamination.
How Fur Production Harms the Environment
Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals on fur factory farms. These farms can house thousands of animals, as with other factory farms, they are designed to maximize profits—with little regard for the environment or animals’ well-being.
Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 40 pounds of feces in his or her lifetime. That adds up to millions of pounds of feces produced annually by U.S. mink farms alone. When a Washington state mink farm was charged with polluting a nearby creek, the fecal coliform levels measured in the water were as much as 240 times in excess of the legal limit. Over the span of five years, studies of lakes and rivers in Nova Scotia found “degradation in water quality to be primarily a result of high phosphorus inputs resulting from releases emanating from mink farming operations.” According to the World Bank, the hazardous process of fur dressing is so problematic that it is now ranked as one of the world’s five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution.” Raising animals for their fur also pollutes the air. In Denmark, where more than 19 million minks are killed for their fur each year, more than 8,000 pounds of ammonia is released into the atmosphere annually.
Why Finished Fur Is Anything but ‘Natural’
Fur is only “natural” when it’s on the animal born with it. Once an animal has been slaughtered and skinned, his or her fur is treated with a soup of toxic chemicals to “convert the putrefactive raw skin into a durable material” (i.e., to keep it from rotting in the buyer’s closet). Various salts—along with ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide and other chromates and bleaching agents—are used to preserve and dye fur. Much of the world’s fur is processed in China, where environmental regulations are often ignored. According to Professor Cheng Fengxia of Shaanxi University of Science and Technology, “Pollution caused by inappropriate processing, especially coloring the fur, has also become a headache.”
Fur-farm pollution is further compounded when all aspects of farmed-fur production are considered: Fur processing requires transporting feed to animals; removing animals’ waste; providing electricity for housing facilities, the slaughter process and other operations; using pesticides, vaccines and antibiotics; transporting carcasses; transporting pelts to auction; transporting pelts to a fur tannery, which involves sorting, soaking, fleshing, tanning, wringing, drying, cleaning, trimming, buffing, finishing; and transporting tanned pelts to a garment maker, a wholesaler and so on. When all of these processes are taken into account, the negative environmental impact from producing a fur coat and trim can be three times higher than making a faux fur coat. In some models, the environmental effects may be 10 times higher.
No federal humane slaughter law protects animals on fur factory farms and the methods used for killing are gruesome.
How Leather Production Harms the Environment
Until the late 1800s, animal skin was air or salt-dried and tanned with vegetable tannins or oil, but today animal skin is turned into finished leather with a variety of much more dangerous substances, including mineral salts, formaldehyde, coal-tar derivatives, various oils, dyes and finishes—some of them are even cyanide-based.
Most leather is chrome-tanned. All wastes containing chromium are considered hazardous by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The waste from tanneries also includes large quantities of other pollutants, including protein, hair, salt, lime sludge, sulfides and acids. Furthermore, a chrome-tanning facility wastes nearly 15,000 gallons of water and produces up to 2,200 pounds of “solid waste” (e.g., hair, flesh and trimmings) for every ton of hides that it processes. Leather tanning also generates 800,000 tons of chrome shavings annually and much of this chromium waste ends up in landfills.
Groundwater near tanneries has been found to have highly elevated levels of a variety of toxic substances. The Regis Tanning Co., Inc., operated a tanning facility in New Hampshire from the early 1950s until 1972. But more than 20 years after it closed down, groundwater samples collected in the area revealed that arsenic, chromium, lead and zinc were all still present—likely because of wastes disposed of on the property—while samples taken from nearby Lamprey River and its wetlands indicated the presence of cyanide, chromium and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
More than 500 tanneries in three districts of India were charged with polluting some 16,000 hectares of agricultural land and contributing to drought conditions that were “not due to failure of monsoon or other natural causes termed as Acts of God, but … purely man-made.”
How Wool Production Harms the Environment
Without human interference, sheep grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The invention of shears led humans to breed sheep for continuous fleece and subsequently, land has been cleared and trees have been cut down to make room for grazing sheep, which has led to increased soil salinity, erosion and decreased biodiversity.
Oxford University researchers studying land degradation in Karoo, South Africa, reported that large numbers of farmed animals, especially sheep, were responsible for an unfavorable change in vegetation and erosion that led to the formation of badlands (heavily eroded, barren areas) and gully systems.
In the first half of the 20th century, Patagonia, Argentina, was second to Australia in wool production. But local sheep farmers’ scale of operations outgrew the ability of the land to sustain them. Soil deterioration in the region triggered a desertification process that, according to National Geographic, “brought the industry to its knees.” More than 50 million acres in one province alone have been “irrevocably damaged because of overstocking.”
Not only does animal agriculture consume huge amounts of water, chemicals used for wool production can also pollute existing water supplies. More than 9,000 pounds of insecticides were applied to sheep in the U.S. alone in 2010. According to a 2004 technical memo from the Environmental Agency of New South Wales, Australia, an “investigation of a major decline in the invertebrate fauna of the upper Teifi has established that the major causal factor is pollution by sheep dip pesticides.”
What You Can Do
With so many great alternatives to fur, leather and wool available, there’s no reason to wear the fur, skin or fleece of any animal.
There are many plant-based, sustainable, renewable fabrics available, including hemp, cotton, bamboo and linen. Designers such as Gucci, Michael Kors, Versace, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Stella McCartney don’t use fur in their collections and stores such as J.Crew, The Gap Inc., Express and Ann Taylor do not sell fur items.
There are many alternatives to leather, including polyurethane, Ultrasuede, pineapple leaves, grape-derived leather, cork, waxed canvas, cotton, linen, ramie as well as other natural and synthetic fibers.
Vegan wool knits are made from polyester fleece, soy-based “vegetable cashmere,” biodegradable Tencel and fleece is created from recycled plastic bottles, seaweed, hemp and modal.
These materials are easy to find, will keep you warm and cozy without contributing to the cruelty of animals. For the latest in cruelty-free and environmentally friendly clothing and accessories, check out PETA’s Shopping Guide to Compassionate Clothing and visit PETA’s on-line cruelty-free mall at: www.PETAMall.com