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The Fur Trade Today - 09/01/05

Published 09/01/05

Kelowna, BC: An orange tabby cat named Cassidy had his right leg amputated after being caught in a steel-jaw leghold trap for several days. Dr. Marco Veenis of the Okanagan Veterinary Hospital described Cassidy’s leg as "crushed, the bone was exposed and there were maggots crawling out of the wound. The skin was already dried, like parchment, around the wound, and everything below the jaws of the trap had died off. It was a mess."

Cassidy was dehydrated and emaciated when he was found by a groundskeeper at a local golf course. The Kelowna SPCA paid the $500 veterinary bill and is working to find Cassidy a home.

Sources:The Daily Courier, 08/03/05;
The Vancouver Province, 08/04/05


On August 11, The New York Times ran a story in the Style section, called "The Lamb on the Runway," about the popularity of "askrakhan" lamb fur in the fashion world, which is also know as Persian fur (fur from newborn karakul lambs) and broadtail (fur from fetal lambs).

Here are some quotes:

  • "Does she have any problem with the use of lamb fetuses? ‘It doesn’t bother me at all,’ she said."
  • "Most designers working with the fur expressed no compunction about using the skins of unborn lambs or those a few days old, if indeed they understand the fur’s exact origins."
  • "‘Most people do not know where the fur comes from unless they are fur knowledgeable,’ said Sherry Cassin, a designer of fur accessories sold at Saks and Bergdorf Goodman. ‘Very often they do not know what they are looking at. They just think it’s pretty.’"

Source: New York Times, 08/11/05

The HSUS web story about "astrakhan fur"and our undercover investigation and contact information for retailers and designers using "astrakhan fur":
www.hsus.org/wildlife/wildlife_news/astrakhan_hot_new_fashion.html.


Illinois: Thank Governor Blagojevich for Vetoing Cruel Snare Bill

"On August 12, Governor Rod Blagojevich vetoed a bill that would have expanded the use of cruel snare traps by allowing these devices to be used on land. The snare, one of the most primitive and indiscriminate devices for trapping wildlife, is designed to kill the animal by strangulation or crushing of vital organs."

At this site, you can send an email thanking the Governor for his decision.

Sources: HSUS: IL H.B. 1486 Cable Restraints to Trap Animals;
API News Release, 08/16/05;
HSUS News Release, 08/16/05

Quotes on snaring from Governor Blagojevich:

"Snares are inhumane and indiscriminate. Not only do they cruelly kill wild animals, they may also kill domestic pets and even endangered species," said Governor Blagojevich. "While I support the hunters of Illinois, I refuse to support this particularly gruesome hunting method that’s been banned in Illinois for over fifty years."

Source: Official press release from office of the Governor, 08/12/05


With much of the international fur trade in a summer vacation mode, activity in many sectors remains stagnant as it has been for the past several weeks. Traffic through fur stores and departments — normally light at this time of the year — is described as even slower than usual, possibly because of record-setting heat waves around the world that may have wilted consumers’ shopping plans. Nevertheless, the skin market remains strong, primarily because of continuing demand from Russia and the Far East. But, even elsewhere, prospects for fall-winter retail business are still considered bright, largely due to fur’s renewed importance in the overall fashion picture.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/15/05


The average price of American mink produced in 2004 and sold at this year’s auctions advanced 21% over last year’s levels, according to data compiled by the Agriculture Dept.’s statistical service. That crop amounted to 2.56 million pelts, up 1% from the previous year, and realized a total of $124 million compared to $102 million the year before. The per skin average (male/female) this year was $48.40 compared to $40.10. All averages include commissions and fees payable to the auction companies. In the past two decades, there have been only six years in which prices averaged over $35, which represented a profit.

In the meantime, the number of farms producing mink slipped another 3% to a total of 296. That compared with 2,800 farms and a crop of 5.7 million mink in 1969, when the government started keeping such records. Utah again led the country in terms of the number of farms with 80, but second-place Wisconsin, with 67 farms, produced 768,000 pelts compared to Utah’s 580,000. There were 17 mink farms that also produced foxes in 2004, down from 18 the previous year.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/15/05


This year’s production, based on the number of females bred, is expected to be up about 6%. Whelping was reported to have gone well, with many ranchers having improved their kit averages. The number of females bred totaled 642,100.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/15/05


Celebrity Dept.: With more and more entertainment and sports personalities discovering the lucrativeness of the fashion field, an increasing number of furriers are realizing that these idols can be the keys that open the doors to new markets. The latest celebrity to apply her design talents to fur is singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles, who has signed a licensing agreement with New York manufacturer Tendler Furs. Knowles was already involved in contemporary fashion through her firm, House of Deréon, and also has a similar agreement with the G-III Apparel Group to produce leather and wool outerwear. Her first capsule collection for Tendler will be a holiday line in short and three-quarter lengths to be introduced at the MAGIC show in Las Vegas, Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, where she will make personal appearances. The main launch will be at the MAGIC February show. This is not Tendler’s first celebrity venture, having launched a Mr. Biggs men’s line with Grammy Award singer Ronald Isley last year.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/15/05


The International Fur Trade Federation unveiled its 2005-2006 advertising campaign last week, its most ambitious to date. This is the fourth consecutive global promotion, targeted at 25 million fashion-conscious consumers in 20 countries. The two-pronged advertorial approach features special sections in the September editions of Vogue and ELLE Magazines, providing complementary dual visions of fur fashion for the coming season. The Vogue program, a six-page color section photographed in Paris, focuses on the luxe sophistication of fur, depicting fur in romantic and highly evocative environments. It features creations by Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, John Galliano for Dior, Dolce & Gabana, Fendi, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Lanvin and Ralph Lauren. In contrast, the ELLE four-page section concentrates on the youthful and cross-generational appeal of fur. Shot in New York, it features attention-grabbing styles by Christian Lacroix, Missoni, Versace and the Sweetface collection by Jennifer Lopez.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/15/05


The Humane Society of the United States Files Comments to Protect Endangered Mexican Bobcat

Washington (August 17, 2005) — The Humane Society of the United States filed comments today with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) requesting that the Mexican bobcat remain protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Mexican bobcat is the only subspecies of bobcat that occurs solely in Mexico and because of its unique distribution, loss of this subspecies would significantly affect the distribution of the species.

The National Trappers Association proposed that the FWS remove protection for the subspecies of bobcat which would allow the group to import Mexican bobcat skins for sale in the U.S. The proposed rule provides no scientifically-based evidence that the Mexican bobcat does not meet the criteria for listing as Endangered under the ESA. The FWS quotes unnamed "experts"and Mexican government officials who have reportedly stated that the Mexican bobcat is abundant and widespread. This is contrary to the Mexican government’s position in 2004, when it was so concerned about a lack of information on bobcat populations in Mexico that it convinced the U.S. to withdraw a similar proposal to de-list the bobcat."

Animal Protection Institute (API) also sent comments to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on behalf of the Fur Free Alliance.

Source: HSUS Press Release, 08/17/05


Give life back to an old fur ... Fashion castoffs help orphaned wildlife

"It is hard to grasp a baby animal wanting your old fur coat or swathed in a fur stole, but sweetie, those little orphaned critters really have more need for last season’s fashion must-have than your closet has space or your heart has room.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) collects furs to send to wildlife rehabilitators, who use them as bedding and nesting material for the animals in their care. If you are fur-friendly, isn’t it time that you are friendly back to animals? All fur donations are tax-deductible."

How to donate your fur items:

  • Package fur in a sturdy box or padded envelope for small items
  • *Mail to:
  • The HSUS
    Attn: Fur Campaign
    2100 L Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20037

  • The HSUS will send a letter thanking you for your donation, which should also be kept for your records.

Source: Focus on Style, 08/22/05


A recent major article in the New York Times was devoted entirely to broadtail and its renewed popularity at sharply higher prices. It was accompanied by photos of garments from top designers at prices up to $45,000. The article’s main thrust was the question of whether customers will balk if they learn that broadtail comes from unborn lambs. One of the most succinct answers was offered by designer/retailer Dennis Basso, who commented "women who want something beautiful are only interested in the final product. She’s buying fashion. She’s not going into Prada and asking, ‘Where did this come from?’"

This proved to be an unfortunate result in the 2004-05 season, when inconsistent weather conditions were believed to have caused many women to postpone plans for a new coat. The result, of course, was the big carryover of those coats, which now comprise a major portion of retailers’ inventories.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/22/05


Retail activity in Canada also has been quiet all summer, attributed at least partly to the high temperatures that have affected both domestic and tourist business. In addition, the recent strengthening of Canada’s dollar has removed some of the incentive for Americans to travel and shop there. Only a year ago, Americans enjoyed what amounted to a 25% discount on their purchases; now it is closer to 15%. The leading Western European fur markets, particularly Spain, France, and Italy also have been undergoing the same oppressive heat and tourist traffic reportedly is down. In addition, many shops and other businesses in those countries close down for the full month of August.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/22/05


The Fur Council of Canada has issued its annual trend book, featuring the trends for Winter 2005-06. These were the trends observed at the North American Fur & Fashion Exposition in Montreal earlier this year. The booklet of photographs, as well as a compact disk, were distributed to more than 1,000 members of the fashion media, stylists and ready-to-wear buyers. It is also available to retailers and consumers at www.canadafur.com.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/22/05


But retailers also figure to benefit from even greater editorial support for furs, based on the enthusiasm shown by editors at the international fashion shows this spring. Much of this coverage has already appeared in print following the individual presentations — virtually all positive commentaries — but these reviews are likely to be recapped, along with photos, in the more meaningful September, October, and November issues of many publications. The current situation as regards public relations for furs is in sharp contrast to what it was several years ago, when the trade found itself in a defensive campaign against various animal rights organizations. Both the trade’s PR and the media coverage now are more oriented to fashion — as they should be.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/29/05


A group of more than 30 North American mink farmers left last week for a research tour in Denmark. The purpose of the tour, organized by Illinois rancher Ron Gengel, is to study advanced methods in farming and pelt processing developed by their Danish colleagues. The trip is not without some irony, considering that mink is indigenous to North America and the Danes got their start with breeders sold to them by Americans about 50 years ago. But Danish mink production now is about five times that of the U.S. and they have invested more heavily in research and development. A highlight of the tour will be the annual pelting show in Herning, up in the Jutland section of the country, where new processing equipment will be on display.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/29/05


Outdoors Dept.: The Canadian Outdoor Heritage Alliance has formed a national hunting committee to combat the efforts of the Humane Society of the U.S. and other animal rights organizations who seek to end deer hunting. According to committee chairman Jim Lawrence, this is the first step in the reorganization of COHA to strengthen the three areas of its commitment: hunting, trapping and fishing. Committees to deal with trapping and fishing issues also will be set up.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 08/29/05


Dubois, WY — A trapper in Wyoming writes in Trapper & Predator Caller that he discovered a female wolf, a federally protected animal, caught in one of his coyote traps on February 10. He called a biologist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who could not come until the next morning. The wolf thus stayed in the trap overnight. Though the wolf was eventually re-released by the biologist, the trapper commented that he was surprised that the toes weren’t frozen, since the wolf was trapped by two of her toes and the temperature was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit overnight.

Source: Trapper and Predator Caller, August 2005, p. 29


Michigan trappers are concerned about efforts from the hunting dog community to limit the use of snares. A number of hunting dogs have been harmed by snares recently, and the hunting dog community are putting before the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) commission a number of changes to the snaring rules, including a 24 hour trap check requirement, that the trappers do not support.

Source: Trapper and Predator Caller, August 2005, p. 74


Anti-fur campaigners have stepped up the campaign against the fashion chain Joseph, with protests taking place at 7 of their branches in London in the past few weeks, including several which had previously seen no protests.

Demonstrations have also been held at Joseph stores in New York City, USA and Cannes, France.

You can contact Josephs, which is based in the UK but has stores in New York, Ireland, France, and Japan, about adopting a fur-free policy by emailing: imogen.crosby@joseph.co.uk and sarah.lipman@joseph.co.uk

Source: Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade - UK


Urge J.Crew to Stop Being Cruel

PETA has learned that J.Crew will be selling fox, rabbit, and coyote fur in its fall line, despite claiming just last year that "J.Crew does not currently include fur in its collections nor does it plan to." When we learned of the possibility that J.Crew would be selling fur, we wrote to J.Crew representatives and sent them a video containing recently released footage from a yearlong undercover investigation on fur farms in China, where most fur comes from — compelling evidence that selling fur means endorsing cruelty beyond imagination.

Please let J.Crew know that it is totally unacceptable to support and promote the cruel fur industry. Tell the company that you won’t shop at J.Crew unless it makes the compassionate decision not to sell fur, and tell your friends to do the same."

J.Crew 24-Hour Customer Service Line: 1-800-562-0258 (toll-free)
Customer Service Email: contactus@jcrew.com

Margot Brunelle, Head of Brand Marketing & PR
J.Crew Group, Inc.
770 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
212 209 2717
212 209 2666 fax
mbrunell@jcrew.com

Source: PETA alert

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