The legislature finds that the demand for products made of animal fur has been in decline and that the fur industry represents a very small portion of Washington's economy. For example, according to the United States department of agriculture, mink pelt production decreased 15 percent from 2018 to 2019, and the value of mink pelts produced decreased 30 percent in the same time frame. In Washington, mink pelt production accounted for only 1.4 percent of total production in the United States in 2018, decreasing to less than one percent in 2019.
The legislature finds that there are growing concerns for the welfare of the animals used in fur farming. For instance, there are no federal or state humane slaughter laws that regulate the industry. In addition, there are significant concerns related to the environmental impact of fur farming. For these and other reasons, the legislature finds that it is in the public interest to end fur trading and farming.
Recognizing the harmful impacts on animals and the environment, the legislature intends to end fur farming, to provide assistance to existing farmers transitioning to other types of farming or livelihood, and to end the production and manufacture of fur products in Washington by 2023.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
"Fur" means any animal skin or part thereof with hair, fleece, or fur fibers attached thereto, either in its raw or processed state.
"Fur farming" means breeding, raising**,** and rearing of mink, marten, fox**,** and chinchilla in captivity or enclosures.
"Fur product" means any article of clothing or covering for any part of the body, or any fashion accessory including, but not limited to, handbags, shoes, slippers, hats, earmuffs, scarves, shawls, gloves, jewelry, keychains, toys or trinkets, and home accessories and decor, that is made in whole or in part of fur.
"Fur product" does not include any of the following:
An animal skin or part thereof that is to be converted into leather, which in processing will have the hair, fleece, or fur fiber completely removed;
Cowhide with hair attached thereto;
Deerskin, sheepskin, or goatskin with hair attached thereto; and
The pelt or skin of an animal that is preserved through taxidermy.
"Person" includes any individual, firm corporation, trust, association, copartnership, society, or other organization of individuals and any other business unit, device**,** or arrangement.
"Produce or manufacture" means to engage in any activity related to processing raw materials to create a fur product for distribution or sale.
"Taxidermy" means the practice of preparing, stuffing, and mounting the skin, in lifelike form, of any fish, reptile, amphibian, bird, or mammal.
"Ultimate consumer" means a person who buys for their own use, or for the use of another, but not for resale or trade.
"Used fur product" means fur in any form that has been worn or used by an ultimate consumer.
Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may neither participate in fur farming, nor produce or manufacture a fur product.
The prohibitions in this section do not apply to any of the following:
A fur product used for religious purposes;
A fur product used for traditional tribal, cultural, or spiritual purposes by a member of a federally recognized Native American tribe;
Any activity expressly authorized by federal law; and
A product where all of the fur used in its production is from a used fur product.
A person who sells or trades any used fur product or fur product described in subsection (2) of this section shall maintain a record of each sale or trade of one of those exempt fur products for at least one year. A violation of this subsection is not subject to a criminal or civil penalty.
Except for subsection (3) of this section, a person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each fur product that constitutes a violation must be treated as a separate and distinct offense.
The fur farm transition grant program is established in the department of agriculture. Subject to the availability of amounts appropriated for this specific purpose and as allowed by law, the purpose of the program is to help existing fur farmers impacted by this act transition out of fur farming. Grant funds may be used only for technical assistance, permitting, new facility construction, equipment, and labor costs associated with transitioning out of fur farming. The department of agriculture may adopt rules to carry out the grant program.
This section expires June 30, 2025.
The fur farm transition account is created in the custody of the state treasurer. All receipts, any legislative appropriations, federal funds, private donations, or any other private or public source directed to the fur farm transition grant program must be deposited into the account. Expenditures from the account may be used only for the fur farm transition grant program established in section 4 of this act. Only the director of the department of agriculture or the director's designee may authorize expenditures from the account. The account is subject to allotment procedures under chapter 43.88 RCW, but an appropriation is not required for expenditures.
This section expires June 30, 2025.