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The Fur Trade Today - 11/23/04

Published 11/23/04

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.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has repeatedly defended the hunt, saying that the seals are killed in an acceptably humane manner. The DFO has no intention of stopping the slaughter.

Source: Ottawa Citizen, 10/21/04


The federal court in northern California dismissed The National Trappers Association challenge to Proposition 4, noting that the trappers do not have standing to sue and that Proposition 4 should stand. Proposition 4 was approved by California voters and was designed to protect wildlife animal companion animals by outlawing certain inhumane methods of trapping animals. It outlawed the use of leghold traps, body-gripping traps in certain circumstances and the use of sodium cyanide.

Source: The Fund for Animals, 10/21/04


The popularity of real furs has pushed more fake furs into the mainstream. Fake furs are now created in long, vertical strips, giving jacket and longer coats a more realistic, uniform look. PeTA spokesperson Dan Mathews points out that plenty of fake furs “can fool even the most discerning spray painter.”

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 10/22/04


At a recent Board of Directors meeting, the Chairman of the Denmark-based IC Companies made a decision to include in the company’s Code of Conduct a directive to not use any kind of real fur in the production of clothing for the eleven brands that are owned by the company. The decision was based on a resolution proposed by a shareholder.

Source: www.iccompanys.com/cds/showpage.asp?nodeid=19618, 10/27/04


Denmark’s mink factory farmers are reporting that they have skinned a total of 12.6 million animals. This increases the number of mink skinned in Scandinavian countries from 12.2 million to 16.1 million.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 11/01/04


The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife said high tide carried dozens of skinned mink carcasses onto the shore of Sinclair Island, the likely result of commercial crab fishermen dumping the bodies overboard. Dead minks are often bought from large Canadian fur farmers to use as crab bait.

Ferdi Businger, one of five people who live on Sinclair Island year-round, counted about 24 dead mink bodies on the shore. “Occasionally I’ll see dead seals wash up, some that have been shot,” Businger said. “I don’t have a problem with things washing up, but this offends my sensibilities.”

Source: Skagit Valley Herald, 11/05/04


With more than 1,500 Arctic foxes due to be killed this winter, Ireland’s Green TDs (members of parliament) are pushing for a prohibition on fur farming. Dan Boyle, the deputy sponsoring the move, said: “There is no large-scale economic benefit to this trade, which is morally and ethically suspect. We would hope that next year will see Ireland following the UK and banning this cruel industry.”

Since the introduction of a ban on all fur farming in Britain in 2003, and on fox farming in the Netherlands this year, the number of animals farmed for their fur in Ireland has risen sharply. While not banning fur farms outright, other European Union countries such as Italy and Sweden have introduced such tight restrictions that the industry has become unviable.

Last year some 117,500 animal skins were exported from Ireland. In the first six months of this year, 95,000 skins were sent abroad, a figure that is likely to rise significantly because November and December are the traditional killing months. The department of agriculture estimates there are more than 40,000 breeding mink in the country, with more than 100,000 being killed each year.

Source: www.timesonline.co.uk, 11/07/04


Fashion retailer Benneton has pulled all rabbit fur from their stores in Austria after activists promised to target them with a hard-hitting campaign. After the announcement was made, activists visited Benneton stores and confirmed that they are indeed rabbit fur-free.

Source: Email from Austrian activist Martin Balluch, 11/11/04


Approximately ten well-known Norwegian designers have responded to the Norwegian Animal Welfare Alliance (NAWA) and have stated in writing that they will no longer use real fur in their designs. NAWA sent out information about fur farming to more than a hundred Norwegian designers, many of whom had already been lobbied and/or sponsored by the fur industry

Source: Norwegian Animal Welfare Alliance, 11/12/04


The fur markets of Italy and Germany are now only fractions of what they once were. Fur market insiders say that the Italian economy is to blame and that Germany’s strong anti-fur movement has influence within that nation.

The U.S. fur industry has gotten a significant boost from the sale of fur accessories, often made with sable or rabbit fur. Department stores and specialty boutiques are the main outlets for these items which are usually not sold by traditional furriers because of their relatively low prices. These items are sold to a young and affluent consumer with a less formal lifestyle than those who buy full-length coats.

Fur apparel imports into the U.S. increased once again in September according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Total imports for the nine-month period ending September 30 increased by 36% over the same period from 2003. Hong Kong/China shipped the most of any nation, increasing its nine-month total by 77%.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 11/15/04


Morgan (the toi) is an international retailer that sells clothing and accessories with rabbit fur. After a telephone consultation with Benelux-manager of Morgan, mevr. K. Baekelmans, Morgan (the toi) indicated that all fur would be removed from its stores in Belgium and the Netherlands. Bite Back is still awaiting a confirmation of this decision in writing at this time.

Source: Belgian AR group Bite Back, 11/06/04


Because of falling fur prices, trappers in Louisiana have been few and far between. The few who are still active are taking advantage of a $4 a tail bounty on nutria. Fewer than 100,000 nutria were killed by trappers in the 2001-2002 trapping season before the bounty was established. Since then, the numbers have increased significantly. According to Department of Wildlife and Fisheries biologist Greg Linscombe, trappers killed 308,600 nutria in the 2002-2003 season and 332,556 in the 2003-2004 season. There is also a recreational hunting season on nutria but you have to be a licensed trapper to take advantage of the $4 bounty.

Source: www.theledger.com, 11/15/04


A recent article in American Trapper magazine exposes how snared animals may be preyed upon by other animals before being found by the trapper.

When checking one of his mink sets, trapper Tom Staley said, “When I turned around the corner of the bridge pylon, I found the bushes totally stripped, blood spattered around and a nice-sized dead buck mink, completely twisted up in a mess to the point that I had to cut him out. Obviously this was more than just a struggle to get free (as bite marks on his head and nose indicated)...”

Source: American Trapper, November/December 2004, p. 53.

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