In a unanimous decision by San Francisco’s board of supervisors, the city voted this afternoon to ban the sale of fur, making it the largest city in the country to enact such a ban.

The ban will go into effect on January 1st, but it allows retailers to sell down their stocks by the beginning of 2020 if necessary.

“More than 50 million animals are violently killed each year around the world to support the fashion industry,” Supervisor Katy Tang, who introduced the fur sale ban legislation, said in a statement after the vote. “San Francisco is a city with progressive values where we believe in the rights of all people as well as all living things – and it is not right to allow this practice to continue.”

Tang proposed the ban last December because the sale of fur products, she said, is “inconsistent with the City’s ethos of treating all living beings, humans and animals alike, with kindness.”

The ban is earning applause from animal welfare organizations around the globe, including the Humane Society International. In a statement released shortly after the announcement, Kitty Block, CEO of Humane Society International praised the city.

San Francisco has today put itself on the map as a world-leading city in kind, progressive law making. The fur trade is responsible for the suffering and death of more than 100 million animals a year, either kept in tiny cages to be killed by gassing or electrocution, or trapped in the wild waiting hours or days to be shot, all for fashion,” she said. “Today, San Francisco has said a resounding ‘no’ to that suffering, so this is an exciting and historic vote both for animals and compassionate consumerism, and we hope that the world is watching. Let’s see this ban replicated in cities, states and countries across the world.”  

Recently, numerous fashion designers, including Versace and Tom Ford, have announced they will be moving away from fur. 

“Standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the most influential designers in the world, San Francisco is showing that animal fur is a fashion faux-pas that trend-setting San Franciscans simply will not tolerate,” Claire Bass of the Humane Society UK noted. “The vast majority of British people feel the same, and our campaign for a nationwide ban on the sale of fur in gaining momentum in the UK. For our government to realise its ambition of being ‘a world leader in animal welfare’ means closing our borders to the cruel, outdated and completely unnecessary fur trade.”

Vegan actress and animal rights activist Alicia Silverstone recently urged the city, her hometown, to take this momentous step. “There’s so much violence in the world that’s beyond our control, but banning fur sales is one easy way to set an example of compassion for the whole world to follow,” she wrote. “It would make me even more proud to call San Francisco my home.” 

Other cities in the state already have fur bans in place including neighboring Berkeley and West Hollywood in Los Angeles County. The sale of fur is also banned in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and in India. Earlier this year Norway announced it would ban fur farming in the country.