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Fur Or Foe? WeHo Could Become Nation’s First City To Ban Fur Sales

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WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBS) — Fur vests may be one of fall’s hot style pieces but you may be hard-pressed to find them on Melrose Avenue.

West Hollywood officials will consider banning stores from carrying fur apparel at Monday night’s city coucil meeting.

“The whole world is watching this,” said Chris DeRose, of Last Chance For Animals. “We’re getting e-mails from all countries in Europe, Australia — they’re waiting to see what happens with this.”

Campaign organizers say they expect that the council will pass the measure, which would make WeHo the first city to ban fur sales in the country.

“Unfortunately, women tend to think it makes them look sexy or rich, and to me, and to so many others, all it makes them look is uncaring,” said Ellen Lavinthal, of Fur Free West Hollywood.

The fur council said customers should be given the choice whether they want to buy fur and that they want to keep high fashion business in West Hollywood.

fur ban2 Fur Or Foe? WeHo Could Become Nations First City To Ban Fur Sales

“It’s a significant loss of revenue to the city and it’s a significant loss of image as a fashion destination to the city,” said Keith Kaplan, of the Fur Information Council.

Some residents spoke at Monday’s meeting fighting for their right to make the choice.

“If you don’t want to buy fur — don’t. But don’t restrict other people or businesses,” said one resident.

Animal activists say few retailers count primarily on fur sales.

“We don’t really have fur salons in West Hollywood — those lie in Beverly Hills — so, we’re not really, in this economic climate, putting anyone out of business,” Lavinthal said.

Since animal activists began the campaign in January several WeHo retailers have decided to remove fur from their stores.

Organizers say the campaign “hopes to set a precedent and expand to other progressive cities in the U.S., and, ultimately, put an end to the needless suffering of 50 million animals killed annually for human vanity and luxury.”

fur ban3 Fur Or Foe? WeHo Could Become Nations First City To Ban Fur Sales

Councilman John D’Amico reportedly led the campaign as an extension of WeHo’s 1989 resolution to be a “Cruelty Free Zone for Animals.” The city has already passed a historic ban on declawing cats, banned the sale of dogs and cats within city limits, cosmetic testing on animals and steel-jaw leghold traps.

“I’ve seen it myself — many of these animals are skinned still alive,”  DeRose said. “It’s just a horrible practice, it’s just a horrible thing.”

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