California Governor Newsom Signs Ban on Certain Exotic Animal Skins
An Animal Rights Article from

FROM SCIL Social Compassion in Legislation
October 12, 2019

By eliminating sales of several exotic, vulnerable animals, California burnishes status as leader in environmental preservation and animal welfare.


Hippos, caimans and several species of lizards, including iguanas, were pardoned today by Governor Newsom when he signed legislation to outlaw the sale of certain exotic animal skins. The skins of these species are used in the exotic trades for fashion items such as wallets, belts, shoes and boots.

“These animals suffer greatly for the sake of fashion – even though alternatives exist,” says Social Compassion in Legislation founder and CEO, Judie Mancuso. “By signing this bill into law, Governor Newsom understands our fight to create compassionate legislation that protects animals, saves lives and battles the depletion of wild animals around the world. By eliminating a market for unnecessary and destructive animal products, California is showing there should be no market for skinning rare animals.”

Authored by Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (D-San Diego) and sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), Assembly Bill 1260, which becomes law Jan. 1, 2022, adds hippos and many reptiles to a list of other endangered or threatened species, including big cats, polar bears and dolphins.

“Thousands of exotic animals are treated inhumanely and killed for their skins each year in the name of fashion,” said Assemblymember Maienschein. “I applaud Governor Newsom for approving this important step towards reducing the unnecessary pain and suffering of animals by banning the importation for sale of these exotic skins within California.”

Many of these animals are skinned alive, sometimes taking hours to die because of slow metabolisms. Several large retailers have already led the charge to use only cruelty-free products and ban these skins, including Chanel, Ann Taylor, H&M, Adidas and Victoria’s Secret.

“Having been appalled by the sale of alligators, crocodiles, and every manner of exotic animal hides in a high-end leather shop, I felt compelled to personally do something about this for all of these animals who have no voices and are killed for their skins,” said Dr. Gary Michelson, who came to SCIL to help drive this initiative.

“I am indebted to Social Compassion in Legislation, Judie Mancuso, Assemblymember Brian Maienschein, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, the entire California legislature, and Governor Newsom, who have now placed California at the forefront of the country and the world for protecting animals.”

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