Beverly Hills Vetoes Fur Tags

Despite the support of some of its more famous residents, voters in this city of the well-dressed and well-heeled rejected a measure requiring fur garments to have labels explaining how the animals died.

Measure A, the sole issue on Tuesday's ballot, was defeated by 3,363 to 1,908, or 63.8 percent to 36.2 percent, city spokeswoman Robin Chancellor said. A little over a quarter of the city's 20,000 registered voters cast ballots.

Even so, the bill's supporters said they were pleased with the publicity they received.

Â"It's disappointing to lose the election, but we've won the battle,Â" said Luke Montgomery, campaign manager of Beverly Hills Consumers for Informed Choice, the group behind the measure.

Â"All we wanted was a little tag telling people what animals go through and we got front pages all over the planet,Â" he said. Â"A lot of people around the world now know about the cruelty these animals are put through.Â"

Jack Lemmon, Sid Caesar and Larry King were among the residents who supported the proposal, which would have been the first of its kind in the nation.

The measure would have required furriers to place credit card-sized tags on furs costing more than $50, warning that the animals may have been electrocuted, gassed, poisoned, clubbed, stomped, drowned or snagged by steel-jawed traps. The law would have carried a $100-per-item fine for violations.

If the bill had passed, stores that could prove their garments are made from animals killed humanely wouldnÂ't have to display the warnings.

Exclusive stores in the area carry some of the worldÂ's finest pelts, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales. A single one can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Â"The fact that the city rejected this measure shows that Beverly Hills is not the place to try goofy ideas,Â" Rudy Cole, No on A Committee campaign manager, told the Los Angeles Times.

Voter Judith Karlan was angry about $60,000 cost of the special election.

Â"It's a terrible waste of money,Â" she said. Â"It could've been put on a ballot with six other things to vote on. What is so important about this?Â"

The pro-Measure A group argued that retailers have misled consumers by saying animals are killed humanely. The campaign raised $75,000 and sent 5,000 videotapes to registered voters showing hidden camera excerpts of Beverly Hills fur merchants claiming the deaths were merciful.

The No on A campaign spent $81,000, saying the initiative was another attack by animal rights extremists who want to hurt the fur industry.

Behrouz Mahboubi, who works in property management, said it was a matter for the federal government, not a municipality, to decide.

Â"This is not a practical thing. How could a store or shopkeeper know where a coat is coming from, or how they kill the animal?Â" Mahboubi said.

"Where does it stop?" asked Keith Kaplan of the Fur Asociation of Southern California. "When you walk into a restaurant and thereÂ's meat on the menu, do you expect your waiter to know how the cow lived and how the cow was managed? ItÂ's pretty unreasonable."
  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

Comments