Boulder could become the first city in the state to ban the manufacture and sale of fur products, depending on the November 2 election results.
Voters at that time will vote on the Cruelty-Free Clothing Act – known officially as Voting Measure 301 and unofficially as Fur Free Boulder – a measure that would make the “manufacture, sale, l ‘display for sale, distribution or exchange for money or non-monetary consideration any fur or fur product’ in Boulder.
It is a measure that opponents fear will have unintended consequences, despite campaign organizers’ opinion that it is largely symbolic.
Although it bans the manufacture and sale of fur products, the measure, if approved, includes a number of exemptions. For example, the wording of the ballot indicates that it would not apply to second-hand or second-hand products, or to animal products other than fur, such as leather or wool.
In addition, it excludes fur articles that are used for sacred or religious purposes in Indigenous cultures, namely those that fall under the American Indian Religious Freedom Act and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Campaign organizers Brent Johannes and Lucy Heller felt compelled to introduce the measure because of their view that the fur industry is cruel and unethical. According to the Humane Society of the United States, industrial fur farm animals spend their entire lives in cramped cages deprived of the ability to adopt natural behaviors.
Additionally, Johannes and Heller argue that fur is purely aesthetic, often a symbol of fashion and wealth, and said the measure would not have a significant impact on local businesses, making it largely symbolic.
“If Boulder can be the first of its kind in Colorado, it would allow legislation like this to move forward in Denver or the state as a whole,” Heller said in a previous interview with the camera.
However, some local business owners disagree and believe that the ambiguity in the wording of the ballot could have a major impact. Laurel Tate, co-owner of Two Sole Sisters in downtown Boulder, has been one of the most vocal voices against the measure of the ballot.
“There is an absolute negative impact on independent businesses in Boulder,” Tate said.
In addition to his shop, which sells shoes, Tate said the measure would impact a number of others, including Alpaca Connection, Royal Stag Hats and Cedar & Hyde Mercantile.
The language of the ballot is vague and the measure is unclear on how the ban would be enforced, Tate noted.
“At a time when the city is coming out of COVID, and their resources have been depleted and their sales tax revenues have been so badly damaged, I can’t imagine the city having the resources to control this,” he said. she declared.
During the August hearing, when city council agreed to send the three measures initiated by residents to the ballot, campaign supporters demanded changes to the text of the measure which they said would clarify some of the ambiguity in question.
However, the board did not approve the changes, arguing that the changes should take place before the signatures are collected to avoid changing the intent of the measure people supported upon signing.
Generally, the Humane Clothing Act has mixed reviews in the community. Some community organizations, including PLAN-Boulder County, have taken no position on this issue. In a newsletter explaining its endorsements, the organization said it does not see the initiative as a local initiative but rather as something that should be addressed more broadly.
The local chapter of the environmental group, the Sierra Club, backs him, saying Boulder should take the lead in “this important environmental and justice initiative.”
“The fur trade is horrendous for animal welfare and violates the rights of an individual animal to a humane existence with space, stimulation, the ability to move and to adopt adequate natural behaviors,” the group explained in a press release spanning its 2021. endorsements.
Originally, the Boulder chamber did not take a position on the measure but has since decided to oppose it.
“We encourage the humane treatment of animals, a value shared with our community,” the House wrote. “With respect to this specific initiative, we are concerned about the unintended impact on our local retailers who sell products, such as shoes, boots and hats that incorporate certain natural fibers.”
As for Tate, she said she and other members of the Boulder retail community might oppose this particular measure, but that they are “all for the ethical treatment of animals.” It strongly supports initiatives such as Furmark, a new global certification and traceability system for sustainable natural fur. According to the Furmark website, it guarantees the highest standards for animal welfare and the environment.