Oct. 12 (UPI) -- California became the new first state in the nation to ban the sale of new fur products.
On Saturday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a package of laws "to fight animal cruelty and promote animal welfare," according to a state news release. Other laws ban animals, including elephants and bears, being used in circus acts, and the prohibition of hunting or killing bobcats in the state.
The fur law, which will go in effect in January 2023, would no longer allow the manufacture, sell, offer for sale, display for sale, trade, donate or otherwise distribute the products in the state. It applies to clothing, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats or key chains that contain fur. Each violation carries a civil penalty.
"California is a leader when it comes to animal welfare and today that leadership includes banning the sale of fur," Newsom said. "But we are doing more than that. We are making a statement to the world that beautiful wild animals like bears and tigers have no place on trapeze wires or jumping through flames. Just YouTube the videos showing the cruel way these animals -- often stripped from their mothers as babies -- are trained to do dangerous tricks. It's deeply disturbing."
The fur industry contributes to the suffering and death of more than 100 million animals worldwide each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
Nearly 8,000 PETA supporters supported the ban in letters to their representatives.
"This lifesaving measure will prevent animals from being beaten, electrocuted, and skinned alive for environmentally toxic items that compassionate shoppers no longer want and top designers no longer use," PETA wrote in a news release.
The measure was opposed by the fur industry.
"Chalk this up as a victory for a radical vegan agenda using fur as the first step,"Keith Kaplan of the Fur Information Council of America said after passage of the bill last month. "In the end, there will be no positive impact on animal welfare."
Exempted are leather, cowhide and shearling, as well as fur products used for religious purposes.
Taxidermy products -- fur from an animal lawfully taken with a hunting license -- are allowed.
Another law protects California's wild and domestic horses from slaughter. This includes the purchaser of an animal at auction to sign a sworn statement agreeing to comply with Penal Code provisions on the slaughter and sale of horses or horsemeat for human consumption.
Also, more animals are added to the import and trade prohibition of dead animals and dead animal parts: iguana, skink, caiman, hippopotamus and three types of lizards.
Since 1970, California banned the sale of alligator and crocodile skins, and a new law.
Laws in Hawaii, Illinois, New York and New Jersey ban the use of most animals in circuses.
Domesticated dogs, cats and horses would still be allowed in circuses, and rodeos aren't affected.
"In yet another nod to pressure from activist groups, millions of California youth will no longer be able to experience the thrill of a circus performance featuring beautiful, well cared for animals," the Southwest California Legislative Council said before the bill signing.