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The Fur Trade Today - 10/25/04

Published 10/25/04

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.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/04/04


Commercial fishermen in Australia want to start killing Victoria’s 80,000 fur seals because they blame the seals for eating fish. Professor Milton Freeman, of Alberta University in Canada has urged Australia to develop an industry using seal skins as well as their meat and oil. This is an industry that the fishermen would be happy to support. Luckily for the seals the State Government has said it would not support a cull.

Source: Herald Sun (AU), 01/05/04


Here is more information to counter the lies told by those who claim that the rabbit fur used in clothing and on accessories is a byproduct of the meat industry.

“Angora rabbits, however, are produced solely for the hair. The only way the producer can be sure of quality hair is to apply a very specific methodology quite different from that used in meat-rabbit production. The same can be said for the production of quality pelts from special strains such as the Rex. The appropriate techniques, intended primarily to obtain a good pelt, make meat a by-product of the skin.

“... whereas rabbit pelts are estimated at one billion. In France alone annual rabbit skin production tops 70 million.”

Also disturbing is the fact that baby male rabbits are killed at birth.

“The number of breeding bucks is kept to a minimum. The proportion is only 2 or 3 percent in hair-production units. In France the males not destined for breeding are culled at birth, which hastens the development of the female young. “

Source: www.fao.org/docrep/t1690E/t1690e00.htm#Contents</p>




The Canadian Government has agreed to invest $240,000 in a trapping research program and has agreed to fund the program in future years as well.

Canada’s trap development program is part of an international treaty signed by Ottawa with the European Union and Russia to improve animal welfare in trapping. Under a national agreement reached at the Canadian Wildlife Ministers conference in 1999, the federal government supports the trap research program located in Vegreville, Alberta, while the provinces and territories fund other aspects of implementing the treaty.

Provincial/territorial responsibilities include trap certification, trapper education, administration and enforcement.

Source: Manitoba Province press release, 10/05/04


The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners gave preliminary approval to a regulatory change providing for the use of specific cable restraint snares. If approved at the Board’s January meeting, trappers would be required to complete a certification course to use cable restraints, beginning in 2006.

Source: PA Board of Game press release, 10/05/04


Despite trappers getting higher prices for the animal skins they sell, fewer people are being lured into the fur trade by the money that can be made from selling animal skins. According to fur market analyst Parker Dozhier, the numbers of trappers who earn a significant portion of their income from the fur trade are dwindling. There is very limited recruitment into the ranks of semi-professional trappers who devote the entire season to trapping animals for profit.

In one of the final columns written by the late trapper Kermit Stearns, Stearns was asked, “Is there any set you can use to avoid catching dogs in fox or coyote traps?” Stearns replies, “Not that I am aware of.”

Animal damage control trappers also endanger companion animals and commit acts of unspeakable cruelty upon urban wildlife. ADC trapper Phil Nichols told the story of how, after he set some bodygrip traps to kill groundhogs, a small dog who was the companion to his customer’s daughter ran over to the groundhog hole and stuck his head in the trap.

Nichols also tells of an incredibly cruel thing he did when trying to remove raccoons from an attic. “Here is a lesson in what not to do when using raccoon pups as bait to lure the mother into a cage trap. I had easy access to the pups in the attic because the nest was in the insulation between floor joists, out in the open. The mother retreated out of sight when she saw me. I figured using one of the pups in a closed cage trap, right next to a waiting cage trap, would trigger the maternal instinct, and eventually the mother would get into the set trap. Right? A distraught homeowner called me. He heard loud noises in the attic, so he poked his head up to see. What he saw was a bloody mess. Mother raccoon had pulled the pup through the cage trap wire, dismembering it in the process. She was not caught, but the scene was ugly. My customer eventually settled down. The lesson I learned is when using a live animal as bait, be sure it is out of reach.”

Source: Trapper & Predator Caller, October 2004


Fur retailers are citing the weather as a major factor on how sales were for the month of September. Some retailers have said that high temperatures in some of the usually colder areas may have contributed to potential customers postponing their fur purchases.

Because the Canadian dollar has increased in value against the American dollar, Canadian trappers and factory farmers are seeing their profit margins shrink.

Despite adverse weather conditions that caused the deaths of many mink kits on North American factory farms, the forecast for the number of mink killed on American fur farms this year is to be up by about 2% or 3%. The number of animals killed on Canadian fur farms will likely be 5% to 8% higher than last year. Most of Canada’s fur farms are in Nova Scotia.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/11/04


The worldwide number of minks killed and skinned on factory farms increased 3% from last year. Oslo Fur Auctions concludes that nearly 35.8 million skins will be up for grabs during the upcoming auction season. The number of foxes killed and skinned worldwide fell by about 9% to 4.9 million.

Andrea Cimino of HSUS put the numbers together in an easy-to-read format:

Factory-Farmed Minks:

Denmark — 12.2 million in 2004, same since 2001
China — estimated 5 million in 2004; estimated 4.5 million in 2003
Netherlands — 3.25 million in 2004; 3.1 million in 2003
Russia — 2.7 million in 2004; 2.7 million in 2003, same in 2002
USA — 2.6 million in 2004; 2.55 million in 2003
Canada — 1.75 million in 2004; 1.6 million in 2003; 1.2 million in 2002
Finland — 1.7 million in 2004; 2 million in 2003; 1.9 million in 2002
Poland — 1.5 million in 2004; 1.2 million in 2003
Sweden — 1.35 million in 2004; 1.4 million in 2003, same in 2002
Norway — 330,000 in 2004; 370,000 in 2003; 360,000 in 2002
Iceland — 150,000 in 2004; 165,000 in 2003, same in 2002
Total factory-farmed minks worldwide — 35,760,000 in 2004

Factory-Farmed Foxes:

Finland — 2.5 million in 2004; 2.3 million in 2003
China — .5 million in 2004; 1.2 million in 2002
Norway — 345,000 in 2004; 330,000 in 2003
Russia — 270,000 in 2004; 370,000 in 2003
Poland — 180,000 in 2004; 200,000 in 2003
Canada — 35,000 in 2004
Denmark — 30,000 in 2004; 34,000 in 2003
USA — 20,000 in 2004, same in 2003
Iceland — 8,000 in 2004; 12,000 in 2003
“Baltic countries” — 80,000 in 2004
Total factory farmed foxes worldwide — 4.9 million in 2004; 5.3 million in 2003

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/18/04


New York State Senator Malcolm A. Smith and State Assembly member Scott Stringer have introduced legislation to ban the anal and genital electrocution of animals killed for their fur.

Source: Fund for Animals press release, 10/20/04

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