AB 273, The Wildlife Protection Act of 2019, which would prohibit commercial fur trapping and the sale of raw pelts, passed out of the Senate Committee of Natural Resources and Water with a 6-2 vote. AB 273 will now go to Senate Appropriations and then to the full Senate for a vote.
Each year, hundreds of animals including: gray foxes, coyotes, badgers, beavers, and mink are trapped, tortured, and killed in California so that their pelts can be sold to foreign fur markets.
In 2017, it was reported that 1,568 animals were killed for their pelts statewide by 68 licensed commercial trappers. Of those, 1,241 were sold for profit. Based on average pelt prices, the total income generated was estimated at less than $9,000. State revenue generated from licensing through the Department of Fish and Wildlife totaled just over $15,500, not enough to cover the cost of a properly managed and enforced fur trapping program, resulting in a de facto subsidy for commercial fur trapping.
“While trapping is no longer a practical line of work, jobs related to wildlife watching for outdoor recreation have blossomed,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), author of AB 273. “This is a common-sense bill from the standpoint of wildlife, conservation and our state budget. At this point, revenue generated by trapping licenses covers only a fraction of one warden’s salary. Meanwhile, millions of Californians are actively participating in wildlife watching, generating millions of dollars for California’s economy.”
“Fur trapping is a cruel, antiquated practice that is ecologically destructive,” said Judie Mancuso, Founder and CEO of Social Compassion in Legislation, a co-sponsor of AB 273 and several other bills on animal rights and protection. “Small and mid-sized animals play a key role in maintaining biodiversity. We cannot continue the brutal killing of our wildlife, particularly given that continuing this practice will deplete local animal populations which are already under tremendous pressure from habitat loss due to development, poison, drought and wildfires.”
“No matter how you look at it, fur trapping is ecologically, economically and ethically bad policy” said Jenny Keatinge, California Wildlife Policy Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “California should not be subsidizing destruction of our wildlife for the private profit of a few, especially when the majority of the public prefers seeing wildlife alive, not as commodities to be killed and skinned for foreign fur markets.”
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