ANN ARBOR, Mich. (WXYZ) — The Ann Arbor City Council voted unanimously to become the first city in the Midwest to ban the sale of new fur products.
The ordinance includes a one-year phase out and exemptions for used fur, fur used by tribal communities and pelts from cows, sheep and deer.
Molly Tamulevich, Michigan state director for the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Ann Arbor has now become the Midwest leader in the fight against the fur industry. Cities should rightfully align their laws with the values of their constituents, and it’s clear the people of Ann Arbor care about animals and want nothing to do with fur.”
According to 2017 Economic Census Data, the Humane Society says Michigan’s fur retail sales were a little over $20 million, which represents 3.5% of all U.S. fur sales and ranks the state sixth in the country. Michigan’s fur sales account for .01% of the state’s total retail sales.
The Humane Sociery cited a 2019 U.S. Department of Agriculture report that Michigan produced 65,000 mink pelts, making the state the seventh highest fur producer in the U.S. Last year, the number of mink killed for their fur in the U.S. dropped 49% to 1.4 million, the lowest number on record.
In October 2020, mink on a fur farm in Michigan became infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, after it was reported that several of the mink had died. Similar outbreaks have occurred on more than 430 mink fur farms in Wisconsin, Utah, Oregon, Canada and Europe.
More than 20 million mink were killed in response to the outbreaks, and several countries have suspended or completely ended mink fur production. The Humane Society says mink fur farms can incubate dangerous mutations that could potentially undermine the efficacy of vaccines.