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New York lawmakers consider fur ban

Both New York City and New York State are considering a plan to outlaw the sale of fur items. The movement is gaining ground and that has the fur industry shaking.

New York City is considered one of the centers of the fashion world and, if the law is passed here, that would be a huge blow to those in the industry. But for supporters of the ban, it's a big win and one they consider a long time coming.

There are 130 fur businesses in the city, many of them family-owned, including Pologeorgis Furs.

Nick Pologeorgis' father started the business nearly 60 years ago. He's seen fur go in and out of fashion over the years, but his business is now facing a bigger threat than any style trend.

"If the furs go it's a slippery slope, guaranteed this is only the first step in their agenda. Will we not have woo? We will be not allowed to eat a hamburger," said Pologeorgis.

Leading the push for the ban at the state level is Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. Rosenthal believes New York should follow the leads of San Francisco and Los Angeles, both of which recently voted to ban fur.

"People don't want to see animals tortured and sacrifices for fashion," said Rosenthal.

The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, says a ban would send a strong message - that the use of fur is cruel and inhumane to animals.

"New York is a fashion capitol, so for New York to ban fur, it really would set an example for the country and the world," said Ashley Byrne with PETA.

The fur industry says the ban would eliminate approximately 1,100 jobs. Pologeorgis says despite some big fashion houses going fur-free, business is good for him.

"I'm concerned," said Pologeorgis. "For 40 years, we've only known one trade. Now somebody wants to put us out of business."

Supporters of the ban concede jobs will be lost but contend that many of the skills and fur-related jobs can be transferred to other positions in fashion. If passed, the state ban would not go into effect until 2021.

If the NYC law is passed, it would still allow New Yorkers to sell "used" fur items. However, anyone caught selling new material will be slapped with a $500 fine for a first offense, and the violations only go up from there.

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