updated 4/30/2008 3:29:48 PM ET 2008-04-30T19:29:48

New York became the first state to ban electrocuting animals in a particularly gruesome way to harvest their fur for clothing.

National animal rights advocates said it's a critical move in an effort to ban the global practice. While still governor, Eliot Spitzer signed the measure into law in March, which has now taken effect.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said the law bans the common practice of anal and genital electrocution of mink, foxes, chinchillas and rabbits. They hope it will force similar measures in other states.

The practice is widespread because it's cheap, PETA's Melissa Karpel said.

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