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The Fur Trade Today - 10/03/05

Published 10/03/05

Bill to restrict fur farming in Sweden on the horizon

“We have all along demanded a ban on fur farming based on ethical grounds, as the one in England. But we have also since the beginning of our campaign supplied the politicians and people within the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency with information regarding the latest research results about mink. This has resulted in that there are no fox farms in Sweden since January 2001. And the upcoming demand of swimming water for mink is also a result of this work.

“A week ago the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs presented a memorandum to strengthen the Animal Protection Act for mink held for fur production. They propose a whole new paragraph that states that mink must be able:

  • to move
  • to climb
  • to exercise their hunting behaviour
  • to get their need for periodical solitarity satisfied
  • to have access to swimming water

“The memorandum is now sent out for review to a number of government agencies and NGOs, including Animal Rights Sweden as well as the fur farmers’ organization. The new paragraph will be presented before Parliament in March 2006, and voted on by May 2006. If ratified, the changes in the law will be applied from January 1st 2007. The industry will be given a period of two years to adapt to the new demands in the law. It’s not an outright ban of fur farming, but the title of an article signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Ann-Christin Nykvist, and representatives of their coalition parties (the Left Party and the Greens) speaks for itself: ‘The end is near for the fur farmers.’”

Source: Benny Anderson, Animal Rights Sweden, 09/02/05

Louisiana is one of the largest furbearer-producing states in the U.S. and Katrina’s damage to the wildlife populations was thought to be extensive. According to the state’s Dept. of Wildlife & Fisheries last week, it was too early to assess the damage, but that many parishes were hit. Most of the damage was in the southeastern sections, particularly the marshy areas inhabited by nutria and muskrats. However, considering that these species are regarded as pests because of the erosion they have been wreaking on the coastal and inland wetlands, a trimming of their populations is regarded as beneficial. Three years ago, the state placed a $4 bounty on nutria in hopes of reducing their population by between 200,000 and 300,000 to restore the ecological balance.

Last year, the program was repeated and the goal was at least 400,000, the trappers again offered a bounty of $4 a tail. About 20 years ago, when the nutria market was strong — most going to Russia for hats — the average price was about $8 and the state issued about 2,500 licenses annually to trappers who caught up to 1.8 million. Two years ago, the regular harvest was less than 20,000 at prices averaging about $1. A female raises as many as 20 young a year. Biologists blame the exploding population for destroying thousands of acres of coast with their orange teeth and insatiable appetite for the grasses that hold the eroding wetlands in place. Most of the more desirable furbearers such as otter, bobcat and raccoon are found in the northeastern part of the state, which was not affected as much.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/05/05

Plans for next year’s design competition sponsored by the International Fur Trade Federation in partnership with MIFUR are well under way. The competition, called REMIX 2006, is open to schools, students and young designers who have graduated within the past two years. The cutoff date for design entries to be received by IFTF is November 20. All designs entered into the competition must be received by MIFUR in Milan by February 26, 2006. All entries must be supported by a photo of the finished garment in addition to an annotated sketch. The entries will be on display during next year’s MIFUR, when the winners will be announced.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/05/05

The Society’s plans include Prada demonstration, ad in The Daily, and FurBlog reporting

New York (September 8, 2005) – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is pulling out all the stops to promote cruelty-free alternatives to karakul lambs’ fur and other animal fur for New York Fashion Week. HSUS staff members will be in New York to facilitate a wide range of activities including: a demonstration against the use of karakul fur, the launch of a major fur-free ad campaign, an outreach table at the N.Y. premiere of Thumbsucker, and an ongoing weblog of “fashion offenders in fur.”

Source: HSUS Press Release, 09/08/05

... For Tendler Furs, who recently signed a licensing agreement with singer/actress Beyoncé Knowles, that arrangement proved to be a boon at this show, where the popular entertainer made an appearance. Her capsule collection of short pieces in mink, rex rabbit and persian lamb sold well and opened new accounts.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/12/05

Montreal’s fur trade is under increasing pressure to find new quarters to avoid sharp increases in rent, the same situation their New York colleagues faced several years ago. As previously noted, that market’s hub, the Gordon Brown Building — also known as 400 de Maisonneuve West and 395 Mayor Street — is undergoing extensive renovation in preparation for upscale tenants. Furriers whose leases are about to expire have been told they can renew, but at about double what they’ve been paying. More than 20 have moved so far, half of them to nearby buildings and the rest to the city’s garment district about 15 minutes away. Another 20 may be leaving by the end of this year.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/12/05

Ski wear specialist Bogner of America has joined the ranks of non-fur fashion houses that have been dressing up their products with furs. The company, based in Newport, VT, has come up with a line of lunar boots wrapped in fur. They range from $535 retail for a rabbit version to $1,850 for coyote and $4,325 for sable. They are water and snow repellent and the outer shell is detachable.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/12/05

Throughout North America, wildlife populations have been increasing and people are becoming less tolerant of their presence and disturbance, according to a survey of wildlife professionals. As urban centers expand and populations of such species as beaver, bear, and deer continue to increase, professionals expect contact, conflict, and calls for “pest management” to become more common. A recent report by the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies outlines the potential costs of losing hunting and trapping as wildlife management methods. The report was released during a conservation workshop at the annual meeting of the Fur Institute of Canada.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/12/05

Grimm’s shop [Nicholas Ungar Furs] is accused in federal court filings of selling coats and other items made from pelts of endangered or banned species, such as Alaska seals, jaguars and leopards. Grimm is scheduled to appear at a change of plea hearing on September 21. According to court records filed Wednesday, Grimm has agreed to pay a $40,000 fine. Half of that will go toward the World Wildlife Fund North American Endangered Species Trafficking program... Grimm’s company, U&S Fur Corporation, has been charged with misdemeanor violations of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. According to court records, federal agents began investigating the shop after getting a tip from an unidentified nonprofit group.

Source: The Oregonian, 09/15/05

Groups call boost in killings cruel

A legislative plan to boost lethal trapping of beavers would be both cruel and ineffective, according to a report released by wildlife advocates yesterday amid growing calls to rein in the surging population of dam-building rodents.

The report, issued by the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and three other wildlife groups, concluded that more extensive trapping would not only be inhumane, sometimes subjecting animals to slow, painful deaths, it would fail to thin out beavers’ ranks.

The beaver population is likely to stabilize on its own, and trapping could backfire by causing adult beavers to repopulate faster, the report concluded.

“There are nonlethal solutions to human-wildlife conflicts,” said John Hadidian, director of the Humane Society of the United States’ urban wildlife program and an author of the report. “Recreational trapping is not the only way.”

Source: Boston Globe, 09/19/05

IFAW: 69% of Canadian voters oppose commercial seal hunt

Ottawa, September 20, 2005 – With only some six months remaining before Canadians go to the polls a 1,000-person national survey conducted by Environics Research for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) shows that 69 per cent of Canadians holding an opinion are opposed to Canada’s commercial seal hunt.

“When it comes to the commercial seal hunt, this poll shows that opposition literally starts on the doorsteps of Parliament Hill and extends across the country,” said IFAW Canada’s Director, Olivier Bonnet.

Opposition to specific aspects of the seal hunt was even higher with some 77 per cent of voters, stating an opinion, calling for a ban on the killing of seals under three months of age and 78 per cent opposed to government subsidies for the hunt. Seventy-eight per cent felt that killing seals by clubbing them is inherently cruel.

Source: IFAW Press Release, 09/20/05

Darden: There’s no plan to boycott Canadian seafood

Darden Restaurants’ CEO Clarence Otis, answering questions Wednesday from shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Orlando, says the restaurant giant has no plans to stop buying Canadian seafood.

Several national groups are calling for the boycott to protest the annual slaughter of baby seals in Newfoundland, a Canadian province.

Darden executives say they have met with Canadian government officials and, while the Orlando-based restaurant company opposes the seal hunt, they believe it’s unfair to penalize fishermen who have no direct involvement with the seal hunt.

Darden emphasizes that it does not traffic in any seal products and does not buy seafood from Newfoundland.

In recent months, the Humane Society of the United States has focused on Darden in an attempt to get the company to stop buying Canadian seafood. The group feels a boycott by Darden would pressure Canada’s government to stop its annual seal harvest each spring, during which thousands of baby seals are clubbed to death to reduce the Newfoundland seal population.

Source: Orlando Business Journal, 09/21/05

Wildlife groups urge India to clamp down on smuggling of tiger, leopard skins to China

New Delhi (AP) — India’s population of endangered Bengal tigers could be wiped out in less than a decade unless the government cracks down on the illegal trade in tiger skins, conservationists warned Thursday.

Wildlife groups said they had found scores of shops openly selling tiger, leopard and otter skins during a recent visit to Tibet and others provinces of western China.

Video footage shot by the Environmental Investigation Agency and the Wildlife Protection Society of India showed traders in Lhasa, Tibet, offering fresh Bengal tiger skins and hundreds of leopard skins for sale.

Bengal tigers are mainly found in the Indian subcontinent, and the activists said the traders told them all the skins had been smuggled in from India.

Source: Associated Press, 09/22/05

U.S. retail fur sales in calendar 2004 managed a small increase over the previous year, despite unfavorable weather conditions that curbed traffic in the key months. According to the annual survey commissioned by the Fur Information Council of America, sales edged up 1.1% to a total of $1.81 billion. This included fur and fur-trimmed garments and accessories. The new total also reflects sharp price increases that went into effect last year, which FICA reports averaged 8.1% across the board, which would indicate that the number of garments sold may actually have decreased. At the same time, however, the portion of the total accounted for by such services as storage, cleaning and repairs dropped to 19.8% from 28.4% the year before, that gap evidently filled by new sales.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/26/05

Sales of men’s furs increased dramatically in the latest year, amounting to $143 million, or nearly 8% of the total. This was an increase of 65.5% from the prior year.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/26/05

New York’s charitable Fur Trade Foundation, which has been devoted mainly to helping needy members and former members of the trade, has set up an extra-curricular fund drive for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The Foundation has made a grant from its own limited resources and is inviting contributions from the trade. Tax-deductible donations may be made payable to the Foundation, which will forward the amounts in full to a certified agency. Checks should be marked for Katrina Disaster Relief and sent in care of Alvin Glickman at 1359 Broadway, Suite 1206, New York NY 10018-7102.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/26/05

The Fur Institute of Canada has updated the list of traps that meet the requirements of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS), indicating their certification status as of September 15. The latest update includes 17 additions, consisting of 4 for beaver (land and underwater) that previously were listed for underwater use only; 1 for beaver on land; 2 for fisher, 9 for muskrat on land and 1 for raccoon. All traps on the list, according to FIC, have now been certified, except for those killing traps listed for river otter (underwater), weasel, and lynx. As noted, the regulations under AIHTS come into force in the fall of 2007, when pelts taken in non-conforming traps — or their products — will not be accepted by members of the European Union.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 09/26/05

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