Progressive animal rights legislation is being considered by Pittsburgh City Council, Pennsylvania, US, to ban fur sales, horse-drawn carriages, and selling foie gras in the city, all in three separate bills tabled in the third week of December 2023, with one on foie gras already passed. Councilman Bruce Kraus, D-South Side, sponsored or co-sponsored all of the related bills, recognised that there is not a large market in Pittsburgh for any of the products or services targeted, but he said the legislation is meant to be “preventive in nature because we don’t have anything on the books.”

The first bill, co-sponsored by Kraus and Erika Strassburger, D-Squirrel Hill, was passed on 19th December 2024, and it has banned the sale of foie gras and force-fed animal products. Violators of that ban would face fines of up to $500.

The second bill, also sponsored by Kraus and Strassburger, would ban the manufacturing and sale of fur products in the city, except for second-hand fur products and fur products that are used for religious, traditional tribal, cultural or spiritual purposes. Those violating such a ban could face fines of up to $500 per violation.

A third bill, sponsored by Kraus, would ban horse carriages, building upon legislation passed in 2017 that restricts how people can handle wild and exotic animals in the city. Kraus said he was inspired to push for the measure after interacting with a horse drawing a carriage in New Orleans.

None of these bans are unprecedented in the US. A statewide ban on the production and sale of fur products was approved in California in 2019 after several municipalities enacted similar measures, and the state also has banned foie gras. New York City also banned foie gras in 2019, although the implementation of the ban was delayed. Bans on fur products are in place in Ann Arbor, Mich., Hallandale Beach, Fla., and several cities in Massachusetts.

The two remaining bills could be ready for a preliminary vote the last week of December and a final vote as soon as early January 2024.

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.