Lorena Gonzalez’s Statewide Ban on Commercial Fur Trapping Passes California Assembly

Thursday, April 25, 2019

SACRAMENTO – (Thursday, April 25, 2019) – The California State Assembly approved legislation calling for a statewide ban on commercial fur trapping. Assembly Bill 273 authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) on a 49-18 floor vote this morning.

“This unnecessary commercial activity is both cruel and insolvent,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “California’s fur trapping program has long faced a funding shortfall. Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing the destruction of our wildlife.”

Historically, trapping for fur was a large industry in California but the harmful effects of trapping on the wildlife population can be traced to the early 1800s when sea otter populations along the San Francisco Bay and North Coast were decimated. Fur trapping has also played a role in the decline of wolves, wolverines, fishers, martens and beavers in California.

Fur trapping in California is currently done on an extremely small scale, but hundreds of coyotes, foxes, badgers and other fur-bearing animals are trapped each year so their pelts can be sold for a profit overseas. In 2017, a total of 133 trapping licenses were sold to fur trappers in California, generating approximately $15,000 to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Despite requirements in state law for the trapping program to cover its own costs, trapping license fees do not cover the actual cost of implementing the state’s fur trapping program. In 2015, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to make California the first state to ban the commercial trapping of bobcats and it noted the program’s funding shortfall as a key role in the decision. River otters and red foxes are also banned from trapping in the state.

AB 273 would prohibit trapping for fur, prohibit the sale of raw fur, and eliminate the license for fur dealers and fur agents. This bill would, however, maintain the ability to trap in order to manage wildlife which may be injuring crops or property. The bill will be considered by the State Senate later this year.