February 20, 2024

CSF Opposition Helps Defeat Fur Ban in Washington State

Article Contact: Marie Neumiller,

Why It Matters: Washington State relies heavily on licensed trappers to help manage and mitigate human-wildlife conflict. Products made from legally harvested animals provide a valuable use of resources. Senate Bill 6294 would have made the retail sale of most furs illegal in Washington by restricting the sale of fur-based products, including fly-tying supplies.


  • Senate Bill 6294 received a hearing on January 25, 2024, but did not move out of committee by the 2024 legislative deadline.
  • The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) testified in opposition to this bill and worked with the Washington Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and coalition partners ahead of that hearing.
  • As a result, trapping, wildlife management, and fur products (including fly-fishing supplies) will not be hindered in Washington State.

On January 23, 2024, Senate Bill 6294, “Prohibiting the unlawful trade of fur products,” was introduced in Washington. The stated intent of this bill included decreasing demand for “cruel” products, reducing public health risks, promoting community awareness of animal welfare, and enhancing the reputation of Washington State. In addition, testimony that was provided in support of this bill by legislators and members of the public focused on conditions on fur farms in foreign nations.

Unfortunately, this bill did not address conditions that may be present on fur farms in foreign nations, and in implementation would have only served to ban the retail sale of most fur products with the skin attached. Minor exceptions were included for furs harvested through legal trapping and also for some fly-tying supplies. However, the rules around those exceptions were so prohibitive that it would have deterred trappers from continuing their time-honored traditions. SB 6294 also would not have banned the retail sale of fly-tying supplies with the hide attached, permitting only loose fiber sales.

Trapping continues to play a vital role in wildlife management throughout the country. In fact, Washington State relies on the services provided by licensed trappers to aid in human-wildlife conflict mitigation through their Wildlife Control Operator program. A special license is offered to trappers that have held a Washington trapping license for at least two years and complete additional training. These specialized trappers help mitigate conflict and improve coexistence on the landscape. The value of programs like these was highlighted by the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, in their trapping conservation brief which states, “Regulated trapping, and the fur trade allows for the legitimate and responsible use of wildlife – wildlife that will be considered a valuable resource to be perpetuated, rather than a pest to be eliminated when they become inconvenient.” Trapping is an important tool in the protection of wildlife habitats, invasive removal programs, endangered species protection, research, and overall wildlife management.

The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation believes that trapping is an important wildlife management tool, and provided testimony at the hearing on January 25, 2024 in opposition of Senate Bill 6294 and urged Senators to reach out to the sportsmen’s community on this bill to ensure the language does not impede legal fur products like fly-tying supplies. This past Tuesday, February 13, 2024, was the “crossover” deadline for bills in Washington State. Through CSF’s testimony and careful coordination with the sportsmen’s community, we were able to ensure that this bill failed to meet the legislative deadline and will not be enacted in Washington state this session. CSF will continue working to protect sportsmen’s interests to ensure that trapping and the products created from those activities are protected in Washington and in states across the nation.

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