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The Fur Trade Today - 05/12/04

Published 05/12/04

Members of the European Parliament have finally backed a ban on the imports of domestic dog and cat skins following a lengthy campaign, but the ban now faces the task of being passed before the European Parliament breaks for the May elections. Scottish Euro MP Struan Stevenson says that some within the European Commission are trying to stall the ban for political reasons.

Source: Daily Record (UK), 04/17/04

Despite government claims that humane methods of seal killing are being maintained, evidence exists proving that seals are being skinned alive and left gasping for air as their skinned bodies are thrown onto piles stacked on the ice. When the quota of 350,000 dead seals is reached, it will be the largest slaughter Canada has seen in close to 50 years. Seals just old enough to have shed their white fur are slaughtered en masse, beginning when they are about 13 days old.

Source: Washington Post Foreign Service, 04/18/04

Enticed by a $4 bounty on the heads of nutrias, Louisiana’s trappers killed more than 330,000 of the animals during the winter fur season, 24,436 more than were killed in the 2002-03 season. Most of the nutria skins went to Russia for use in fur hats.

Source: Times-Picayune (LA), 04/18/04

In Hungary, tens of thousands of hamsters are strangled so their skins can be sold to the fur trade. Each pelt sells for 600 Hungarian forint (US $2.66) to furriers who export them to Germany and Austria, where they are to be made into coats and hats to be sold around the world.

While furriers claim hamsters are considered an agricultural pest, locals cannot recall when they last saw one. The 59-year-old mayor of the village of Dany says that he has not seen a wild hamster since he was a young boy.

Source: Daily Mail, (UK) 03/13/04

[If you don’t have enough reasons for why trappers are the scum of the earth, here’s one more — JM]

The following question was posed to trapper Kermit Stearns:
Q: We have baby chicks and beaver meat to use at our dirthole sets. Which is better?
A: I prefer chicks early in the season in mild weather. Later, when it gets frosty, I would change to the beaver meat, preferably tainted, but not rotten.


Despite trappers’ claims that trapping is an effective way to halt the spread of rabies in raccoons, Pennsylvania Wildlife Services, in cooperation with federal, state and county agencies is conducting a large-scale, multi-year raccoon oral rabies vaccination program in western Pennsylvania. Approximately five-million baits containing oral rabies vaccine will be dropped by aircraft across rural areas of the state and by vehicle in urban areas from Maine to Alabama. Once a raccoon eats the bait, the pouch containing the vaccine ruptures and the raccoon is immunized.


Chris Jacobsen, state organizer of the Tennessee Free Trappers & A.D.C.O Association, reported that a companion Labrador was killed after being caught in a conibear trap. [This incident shows that even with legally placed traps there is always a danger to domestic animals. — JM]

Source: Trapper & Predator Caller, April-May 2004

The Chinese are starting to enlarge their mink factory-farming industry. Buyers have been purchasing live animals from North America and Scandinavia to use as breeding stock to get their operations started.

Source: Fur World, 04/19/04

Furriers have reported on the sales of springtime furs in boutiques, specialty stores and in non-fur sections of department stores. The items sold are geared toward a much younger crowd than that which buys traditional fur coats.

There have been reports of a federal investigation into possible violations by brokers at the American Legend fur auctions in Seattle of U.S. anti-trust regulations. It has been reported that at least two and possibly four or more prominent dealer-brokers have agreed among themselves to restrict bidding and share their purchases among their respective accounts. Reports also state that the investigation was instigated by the American Legend fur cooperative.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 04/26/04

The proposed amendment to the House version of the Massachusetts budget that would have weakened trapping restrictions was defeated. Representative Douglas Petersen (D-Marblehead) led the effort to make sure that the existing restrictions on body-gripping traps were upheld.

Two bills on trapping are still in the Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee.

Source: MSPCA, 04/04

Sealer Jack Troake blames his fellow sealers for the shutdown of the St. John’s-based office of the Canadian Sealers Association (CSA). He said there are 12,000 licensed sealers in Newfoundland and Labrador but only about 600 are members of the CSA.

The CSA was formed in 1982 in response to negative publicity against the sealing industry by some animal rights groups. Its primary focus was to develop propaganda campaigns to counteract animal right groups.

Troake said for years the federal and provincial government pumped money into the CSA, but now it is time for the association to be self-sustaining. All that is left of the CSA is the board, which is made up of local volunteer sealers.

Source: The Telegram (St. John’s, Newfoundland), 03/31/04

The Swedish Fur Breeders Association has joined the Danish Fur Breeders Association in deciding to leave the SAGA Furs cooperation, effective July 1, 2006. [This is a serious blow to the Saga Furs co-op, because it will no longer be receiving a stipend from the sale of each Swedish pelt sold. It is Saga Furs that is thought by many to be behind the current fur revival. Without two of its larger members, Saga will be unable to have as much influence over the fashion world. — JM]

Source: www.furbusiness.com, 04/30/04

A U.S. Senate resolution urging the Canadian government to end the needless slaughter of harp and hooded seals has gained the support and co-sponsorship of Senator Richard Lugar and Senator Joseph Biden.

Among others, the resolution made the following points: This year’s hunt has already resulted in the deaths of over 320,000 seals — mostly between the ages of twelve days and three months old; the world community is condemning the hunt, with initiatives to ban seal products under consideration in Italy and Belgium.

The resolution was originally introduced by Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) and strongly supported by Susan Collins (R-ME) and has been recommended to the full Senate.

Sources: The Humane Society of the United States, 05/03/04
U.S. Newswire, 05/03/04

The import of cat and dog fur products will be banned if Australia’s Labor Party wins this year’s federal election.

“The ban is necessary to protect Australian consumers from fraud as the makers of these products attempt to deceive consumers by falsely labeling them as originating from fictitious animals,” Consumer affairs spokesman Alan Griffin said. Mr. Griffin also said there was evidence of health risks associated with dog and cat fur being used in toys, such as the carcinogen chromium, which is used in tanning at fur factories.

Source: www.theage.com.au, 05/09/04

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