Commentary

Animal-Rights Activists Hail Macy's Decision To Stop Selling, Storing Fur

In a joint press release with the Humane Society of the United States, Macy’s, Inc. said yesterday that it would stop selling furs in all of its affiliated stores, including Bloomingdale’s, in early 2021.

“The shift will mean the closure of 34 Fur Vaults at Macy’s and 22 Maximilian salons at Bloomingdale’s,” the company tells  The New York Times’ Sapna Maheshwari in an email.

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“Macy’s, which reported about $25 billion in annual sales in 2018, said the namesake chain’s private brands were already fur-free, and that fur was not a ‘material’ part of its business. The company said that its new policy, which was in line with guidelines from animal-rights organizations, would allow for ethically sourced sheep and cattle fur products, including ‘shearling,’ ‘sheepskin,’ ‘calf hair' and ‘cowhide’ goods,” Maheshwari continues.

“The exceptions are in alignment with the Fur Free Alliance’s guidelines, which permit the ‘use of fur that is a by-product of domestic farming to feed our society,’ according Macy’s website,” CBS News’ Danielle Garrand points out

Macy’s also answers questions, such as: “Can I still store my coat with Macy’s or Bloomingdales?” in an FAQ  about the new policy on its website. (The short answer is “no.”)

“Over the past two years, we have been closely following consumer and brand trends, listening to our customers and researching alternatives to fur. We’ve listened to our colleagues, including direct feedback from our Go Green Employee Resource Group, and we have met regularly on this topic with the Humane Society of the United States and other NGOs. Macy’s private brands are already fur-free, so expanding this practice across all Macy’s, Inc. is the natural next step,” Macy’s chairman-CEO Jeff Gennette states  in the release announcing the move.

“We applaud Macy’s, Inc.’s forward-thinking and principled decision to end the sale of fur by the end of fiscal 2020,” says Kitty Block, president and CEO of HSUS. “This announcement is consistent with the views of countless consumers in the marketplace, and other retailers should follow.”

“This is a monumental day for animals!” the organization tweeted, linking to a blog post by Block, who is also CEO of Humane Society International.

“Macy’s is a retail behemoth -- the largest U.S. department store with 900 stores in 44 states. It is also something of an institution, with an unparalleled reach into American hearts and homes. The company’s flagship store in New York City has long been associated with popular culture and high fashion. When a company like this says no to fur, it is a clear sign that the days of this unnecessary commodity are numbered,” Block writes.

“Macy’s is joining a trend of luxury and high-street brands banning the sale of fur as increasingly eco-conscious shoppers make larger demands of retailers. But attempts to stop the practice is not new -- major retailers have faced pressure from animal-welfare groups to ban the sale of animal fur for decades, with [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)] famously carrying out ‘fur-free Fridays’ protests targeting Macy’s, since the 1980s,” Isabel Togoh writes  for Forbes.

“VICTORY! After decades of massive pressure from PETA & activists, the largest US department store, @Macys, just announced it will stop selling fur! So many animals will be saved by its fur vault staying vaulted forever!” PETA tweeted  yesterday. 

The movement is also gaining traction politically.

“A year after Los Angeles became the largest city in the country to ban the sale of animal fur, the entire state of California has followed suit. On October 11, Governor Gavin Newsom approved bill AB44, which makes it illegal to sell, donate, or manufacture new fur products in the state,” Marie Lodi wrote for The Cut last week.

“However, the law does exempt leather, cowhide, and shearling, as well as the use of fur for religious purposes, taxidermy products, and used fur. The law will take some time to go into effect -- January 1, 2023, to be exact,” Lodi adds.

“Macy's isn't the first big fashion company to say goodbye to fur. It'll join a long list, which includes companies like: Burberry, Chanel, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren,” Bloomberg’s @tictoc account tweeted yesterday before asking: “What are your thoughts on fashion companies ditching fur?”

“It’s fur a greater good,” was the first among a handful of predominantly positive replies.

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