By Bob Katzen

A bill before the Environment and Natural Resources Committee would make it illegal to sell a new manufactured fur product in Massachusetts and impose a fine between $500 and $5,000 per fur product for anyone convicted of the sale.

The measure exempts used fur products and fur products used for traditional tribal, cultural or spiritual purposes by a member of a federally recognized or state-recognized Native American tribe.

Supporters say that more than 100 million undomesticated animals like foxes, raccoon, dogs and mink are confined to small wire cages and then subjected to cruel killing methods that are not regulated by federal humane slaughter laws. They say that animal protection organizations have documented animals being gassed, electrocuted, bludgeoned to death and skinned alive. They noted that there are many fur alternatives available and urged Massachusetts to end its complicity in this truly horrible industry.

“Our commonwealth has long been a world leader in animal welfare,” said co-sponsor Rep. Jack Lewis (D-Framingham). “With evidence of inhumane practices in the fur industry, the risks fur production has to our public health, and the availability of so many different options for warm and fashionable fabrics, I look forward to ongoing conversations on this and other animal welfare bills this session.”

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