Women wearing fur coats. A lawsuit is challenging San Francisco's law that bans the sale of animal furs. (Photo by Ianqui Doodle/Flickr)

San Francisco’s ban on the sale of fur within city limits is being challenged in a federal lawsuit by an international fur trade group.

The International Fur Trade Federation claims in the lawsuit filed this month in U.S. District Court in San Francisco that the city law violates the U.S. Constitution by interfering with interstate and foreign commerce.

The law was passed by the city’s Board of Supervisors in 2018. It went partly into effect in 2019 and then fully into effect this year.

The lawsuit, filed against the city and Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director, asks for an injunction blocking enforcement of the law.

Last year, the law partially took effect but allowed a temporary exemption for sale or distribution of furs obtained before March 2018.

On Jan. 1, the exemption was ended and sales of all furs were banned.

The legislation states, “The sale of fur products in San Francisco is inconsistent with the city’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness.

“In light of the wide array of faux fur and other alternatives for fashion and apparel, the demand for fur products does not justify the unnecessary killing and cruel treatment of animals,” the law says.

The lawsuit notes that most fur farms are located in other states or in other countries, such as Denmark and Finland.

It argues because fur products “do not constitute any threat to the health, safety, or welfare of a person or animal within San Francisco,” there is no legitimate local purpose for the law.