Sales of furs will climb about 15 percent to a record $2.1 billion this year, according Southwick Associates which surveys retailers for the fur industry’s trade group, the Fur Information Council of America.
Special Report – Companion Animals Caught by Trappers
Incidents of Pets Caught by Cruel Traps in 2004
Traps, be it steel-jawed leghold traps, Conibear traps, or snares, are inherently indiscriminate. Each year throughout North America and around the world, traps set for purposes of “harvesting” pelts for the fur trade or for controlling “nuisance” wildlife injure and kill millions of “non-target” animals — domestic dogs and cats, rabbits, deer, songbirds, raptors, livestock, and even endangered or threatened species. Referred to as “trash” animals, non-target species often are simply thrown away. Injuries from leghold traps are often so severe that the injured limb of a trapped companion animal must be amputated. Conibear traps, however, kill many of their unintended victims. Trappers are rarely prosecuted when a pet is caught by a trap. Trapping is a largely unregulated activity, and where restrictions do apply, they are poorly enforced.
Western European retailers are still feeling the effects of a season that is experiencing milder than average temperatures. Adverse economic conditions and problems on the political scene are also helping to keep store traffic low. This year’s higher prices are hurting retailers in China.
A report by an engineer at the Ford Motor Company calculated that the amount of energy needed to make a real fur coat from farmed animals — accounting for 85 per cent of world production — is sixty-six times that needed to make a fake fur coat. This takes into account feed, cages, skinning, pelt-drying, processing and transportation. He calculated that a fur coat made from trapped animals still needs nearly four times the energy used for a fake fur coat.
The Humane Society of the United States has opened a Montreal branch in an effort to put an end to Canada’s inhumane seal hunt.
Canada is the world’s largest producer of seal skins. The federal government has announced it would allow fishermen to slaughter 975,000 harp seals off Newfoundland and Labrador between 2003 and 2005. This year alone an estimated 353,000 seals were killed, making it the largest slaughter in half a century.
Mink factory farmers in Poland and the Netherlands have reported the deaths of as many as 120,000 animals, about 60,000 in each country, due to suspected feed contaminated by type D botulism. Two years ago fox factory farmers in Finland saw the deaths of 50,000 foxes due to botulism caused by a toxin developed in spoiling food. The Netherlands kills about 3 million mink annually, second in number only to Denmark. Poland kills about 200,000 mink annually.
P.J. from Virginia wrote to trapper Kermit Stearns asking his advice on a few trapping-related problems. P.J. asked Stearns how he can correct the problem of finding traps with only toes caught in them. Stearns mentioned that the trap was not set correctly and gave him some suggestions on how to correct the problem.
Special 100th issue
Leghold Trap Information
U.S. and Canadian trapping regulations
The following eighty-nine countries have banned the leghold trap. Those marked in boldface with an asterisk (*) have banned all trapping: