California Assembly votes to close loophole on fur labeling
Coats, wraps and other clothes that are made with animal fur would need to have special labels in California under legislation adopted Monday by the state Assembly.
Lawmakers voted 46-7 to close a loophole in federal law that allows many fur products to go unlabeled. Current law requires labels only for garments that have $150 or more worth of animal fur.
The bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration. If it's signed into law, California would become the sixth state to impose the labeling requirement, joining Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.
"I think there is an expectation that if clothing isn't labeled as real fur it must be fake, but this isn't always the case," bill author Fiona Ma said in a statement after the vote. "People have a right to know if they are buying raccoon dog or a polyester blend."
A raccoon dog is a canine species from Asia.
The bill by the San Francisco Democrat would require that all garments containing fur are labeled with the type of animal and the country of origin. Currently, manufacturers avoid labeling requirements by using cheap fur from raccoon dogs and other animals raised in foreign factories, Ma said.
Critics argue that the labels would burden retailers. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine) said the measure would lead to added regulations and fines for retailers. He said consumers should instead take recourse in the courts.
"I believe, and based on current civil code, you can in fact bring a lawsuit if something is said to be one thing and it is really something else and you suffer harm," DeVore said during the floor debate.
-- Associated Press
Photo: Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco) looks over a vote tally after the fur-labeling measure she co-authored with Assemblyman Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) was approved by the state Assembly on April 5. Credit: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press