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The Fur Trade Today - 01/10/04

Published 01/10/04

Auckland Animal Action (AAA) has been conducting a very successful three-year campaign against fur trim in Auckland, New Zealand.

AAA sends a letter to stores that carry fur trim, explaining the cruelty in the fur trade. It follows up with another letter informing the stores that if they did not respond favorably, a campaign will be initiated against them. If AAA does not receive a satisfactory response, it begins with protests inside and outside the stores. AAA found that most of the shops gave in after two or three demos, some even after just one.

Media reports are mostly anti-activist, but that serves to frighten the shops that are next in line, as many stores that were contacted after this period removed their fur items.

AAA has had over twenty stores remove their fur items.

Source: Auckland Animal Action (NZ), 12/03

Dudley is Con and Marty Fielding’s lovable, red-haired golden retriever whose leg was caught in a trap that was ignored by the trapper for at least five days.

Dudley’s ordeal started Monday, Nov. 3, when he and his tri-colored border collie buddy, Max, explored along the river at the boundary of Con and Marty’s 30 acres. Max came home, but Dudley didn’t.

The neighbor’s sons, Carson and Wyatt, found Dudley — his right front paw clamped tight in the jaws of a steel trap.

Marty and Con took the emaciated, dehydrated Dudley to Red Willow Animal Clinic, where vets couldn’t initially determine the extent of damage to Dudley’s leg because it was so swollen. “His foot was the size of a softball,” Marty said. “When the swelling went down, we found open sores on the front and back of his leg.”

Dudley couldn’t put any weight on his leg for several weeks, and still today, walks with a very noticeable limp.

In Nebraska, trapping laws state that trappers must check (dry-land) traps “every calendar day.” If the trapper that snared Dudley had checked his/her traps at least once a day, Dudley wouldn’t have suffered five days without food and water ... five days chained to a steel jaw that wouldn’t let go.

Source: McCook Daily Gazette (NE), 12/11/03

Saga Furs of Scandinavia is an association of fur factory farmers that supplies 65 per cent of the world’s farmed mink and 70 per cent of the farmed fox.

Source: Financial Times, 12/12/03

Furriers are disappointed that December sales have been merely “okay” through the mid point of the month. Despite wintry weather conditions in the important markets, December has not to this point lived up to the sales levels that had been expected. Furriers had been expecting December ’03 to be a bigger sales month than December ’02.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports 12/15/03

More than 300 Members of the European Parliament (MEP’s) have signed on to a landmark declaration supporting a ban on the trade of dog and cat skins.

The leader of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, will now instruct the European Commission to draft legislation outlawing the practice.

Source: www.news.scotsman.com/, 12/18/03

Chinese fur buyers have been competitive during recent fur auctions with their smart buying habits. In general, they set a ceiling for the amount of money they will pay and because of this, fur factory-farmers could continue to struggle. In the past, U.S. and German fur buyers would drive prices up by bidding almost anything to get the furs they wanted, but the Chinese do not use these same tactics.

The weakening value of the U.S. dollar during the latest fur auction season resulted in losses for many Scandinavian factory-farmers. The head of the Danish Fur Breeders Association mentioned that if the dollar drops any lower in value, the financial situation of the factory farmers most in debt would be “very difficult.” Canadian manufacturers and fur factory-farmers have also been hit by the weakening U.S. dollar.

The upcoming Seattle fur auction will be testing a new push-button bidding system. Factory-farmers fear that this new system may cause prices to drop.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 12/22/03

The EU ban on dog and cat fur has hit an obstacle. Commission officials refused to accept that they have powers to pass such a law, stating that the decision is up to the individual member countries to pass laws against dog and cat fur if they so choose.

The campaign against the trade is focusing also on the dangerously high chromium levels in the dye used in tanning and to disguise the product, as much as six times that allowed under European law.

Source: Sunday Herald (UK), 12/21/03

Manitoba Trappers are concerned about the possible closure of a trap research facility run by the Fur Institute of Canada in Alberta. Federal funding for the $350,000 program will dry up later this year.

Corky Peterson of the Manitoba Trappers Association says if the project closes, trappers could lose public support, and Bob Carmichael with Manitoba Conservation agrees that without public support, trapping could become a lost lifestyle.

The Manitoba Trappers Association is considering trying to keep the program running by increasing license fees for trapping by $5 across the board.

Source: http://winnipeg.cbc.ca/, 01/05/04

An epidemic of Transmissible Mink Encephalopathy (TME) on a Wisconsin mink farm in 1985 was probably caused by a brain-wasting disease similar to Mad Cow Disease.

Gary Durrant, a veterinarian who sits on the board of the Mink Farmers Research Foundation, said he discourages farmers from feeding downers to mink, because of a concern about TME and other illnesses.

Ed Brecke, a Wisconsin mink factory farmer lost 60 percent of his mink to TME in the 1985 outbreak. “First thing they’d sit in corner or walk around the cage with their tails up, like a squirrel, when normally the tail is down,” Brecke, said. “Then they’d stagger. We didn’t let them suffer. We’d dispose of them.”

Source: Associated Press, 12/30/03

The Russian animal rights group “Vita” has been active spreading the word about the cruelty inherent in the fur trade.

Among the many things that keep the group active is a campaign to educate Russian Schoolchildren. VITA organizes a competition for the best drawing and composition against furs. Schoolchildren aged 7 to 11 will be asked to make drawings on the topic “They want to live!” Adolescents and teens aged 12 to 17 will write compositions on the topic “Is the killing of animals for fur production justified?”

Source: Tanya Maroueva — VITA newsletter, Oct/Nov/Dec 2003

Following are some of the significant happenings from 2003 according to Sandy Parker Reports:

  • Worldwide fur sales increased substantially due in part to the growing markets in Russia and China.
  • An extensive propaganda campaign by Denmark’s Saga Furs led a larger number of designers to use furs in 2003.
  • Mink factory-farmers were hurt by stagnant price levels at auction, coupled with rising production costs. This situation hurt North American and European factory-farmers and threatened to put many out of business. It is thought that Scandinavian factory-farms will shrink drastically because of China’s increased involvement in the mink fur market and the hard line its buyers are using when dealing with auction houses.
  • The age of the average fur buyer has fallen to 35.
  • U.S. retail sales increased by 13.2% in the year 2002, and the number of minks killed on factory farms worldwide increased slightly, while the number of foxes killed decreased slightly.
  • Department store chain Lord & Taylor resumed selling fur for the first time in twelve years. The fur departments are being run by B.C. International under the Ben Kahn name.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 01/05/04

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