On Wednesday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he had signed a bill making it illegal to trap animals for the purposes of recreation or to sell fur, making his the first state to ban trapping.
“Fur trapping is a cruel practice that has no place in 21st century California,” said Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, the bill’s author.
Data from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife suggest that trapping had already lost a great deal of popularity in the Golden State, with only 133 trapping licenses sold in 2018. However, fur trapping was the genesis of the first waves of white explorers and settlers in the area two centuries ago, predating the 1849 Gold Rush.
“A ban on trapping for the purpose of fur products is an interesting move considering how few trapping licenses have been sold in the state. Looking at the numbers this is just a political gesture,” said MeatEater Conservation Director Ryan Callaghan. “Regardless, LA and California’s fashion industry will ensure trapping for leather goods and furs will continue, just not in the state of California.”
True, the bill does not ban fur or retail fur sales, just the procurement of that fur, making many outdoorsmen question the wisdom and intent of the legislation.
“I try to be an optimist, so I’m looking for a bright side in California’s decision to ban commercial fur trapping,” Steven Rinella responded to the news. “I guess it’ll have to be this: hopefully the rest of America will take notice of what happens when your state government becomes the political arm of the animal right’s movement. I’ve long been concerned about the liberties of Californian hunters and anglers. Next, I’ll be worrying about the liberties of people who choose to wear leather shoes.”