Update Sept. 28, 2010: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed A.B. 1656, a bill that would have required manufacturers and retailers of new clothing to warn of fur content.
A.B. 1656 would have prohibited the "sale or display for sale" of any "coat, jacket, garment, or other clothing apparel made wholly or partially of fur… without having attached thereto and conspicuously displayedÂ a tag or label including the names of both of the following:
(1) The animal or animals, as set forth in the Fur Products Name Guide maintained by the Federal Trade Commission, from which the animal fur was acquired.
(2) The country of origin of any imported furs used".
The labeling requirement would have applied regardless of the price of the apparel or the amount or value of the fur in the garment. Used clothing would be exempt.
Assembly Members Ted W. Lieu and Fiona Ma were sponsors. The Senate sponsor was Sen. Elaine Alquist.
The new requirement would have gone into effect in Sept. 1, 2011.
Any violation of the labeling requirements would have been subject to a civil penalty of not more than $500 for the first violation, and not more than $1,000 for each subsequent violation. Retailers would not have been liable for false labels unless they knew or reasonably should have known the label was false.
There is a federal law that governs labeling of fur used in clothing. To an extent.
The 1951 Fur Products Labeling Act, 15 USC §§69b-69f requires fur clothing and accessories must be labeled generally with the name of the animals used, the country in which the animals were killed, and the manufacturer.
(For a complete list of regulations for labeling fur products, go to 16 CFR Part 301.)
The Act, however, exempts garments with a "relatively small quantity or value" of fur. 15 USC Â§69f. Note the exemption is not based on the value of the clothing or accessory. Instead, whether the exemption applies depends on the value of the fur. Clothing with fur worth $150 or less is exempt. That means millions of garments made of fur or with the fur as decoration can be sold with no labeling requirements. Consumers are not told the fur is real or even the country of origin of the animal.
That has meant millions of dollars in additional sales of real fur. People who would not buy real fur may not realize they are doing just that. More animals are losing their lives, living in desperate conditions, because of these now legal, but deceptive practices.
California’s A.B. 1656 would have eliminated the exemption for products sold in that state.