There is a distinct possibility that American Legend may bring its auctions back to its Seattle headquarters next year, after having jumped over the Canadian border for this year’s sales.
Reports to that effect were flying around the U.S. last week, as were indications that some foreign buyers were feeling less squeamish about returning to the U.S. in view of the Justice Dept.’s anti-trust investigation. Not that anyone thinks the Feds have abandoned what buyers and brokers have labeled as a witch hunt. Rather, since the DOJ demonstrated that — by reaching into Canada to search for personal records — it can go almost anywhere, buyers are realizing that staying out of the country offers them little protection. Their main concern has been the time and legal expenses connected with appearances at grand jury hearings.
As to the investigation itself, which focuses on possible collusion among brokers to limit bidding on certain goods to keep prices down, reports are that little progress has been made. As a matter of policy, the government will not comment on any aspect of an ongoing investigation. Yet, it is known that DOJ agents have made contact with members of the trade in recent weeks, if for no other reason than to let it be known that they’re still on the case. There also were reports that, while the investigators may not be getting very far in relation to any deals regarding mink, they may be close to presenting their case — if they haven’t already — to a grand jury in connection with otters. According to trade sources, a suspected collusion was reportedly caught on video tape at a sale of otters in Seattle two years ago. Grand jury sessions are held behind closed doors and no information is available until an indictment is handed down.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/03/05
A 2005 Trapper Education Manual has been launched by the British Columbia Trappers Association (BCTA). It provides a complete portrait of all aspects of trapping, from a review of the history of trapping devices over 25,000 years and the introduction of the concepts of furbearer and habitat management to the finer points of trapping and preparing pelts for marketing.
The new manual, according to BCTA president Bob Frederick, brings comprehensive furbearer biology directly to trappers in a format that is concise and easy to follow. “It isn’t only for new trappers,” noted Frederick, “but for any trapper or outdoor enthusiast seeking to upgrade his or her knowledge about the sustainable use and management of furbearers and their habitats, the fur trade in general, humane trapping and other important related information.” It was authored by wildlife biologist/trapper Dave Hatler and Alison Beal, former director of the Fur Institute of Canada and now vice-president of BCTA.
Copies, at $35 plus $15 shipping and handling (Canadian) may be ordered from BCTA at email@example.com or by regular mail at Trapper Education, 5-595 Ongman Road, Prince George B.C. V2K 4L1.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/10/05
It’s shocking to think we live in a world where people — including wealthy and famous celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez — still kill for fashion. Yet every year, millions of animals are drowned, clubbed to death, crushed in steel-jaw traps and genitally electrocuted, sometimes just for a little piece of fluff on a coat collar.
We can’t stop all the suffering that exists, but I believe we can stop this. That’s why I recently teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals during New York’s Fashion Week — to tell consumers what fur designers and retailers won’t:
Those cheap price tags on today’s fur coats and fur-trimmed garments come at the expense of animals who are literally skinned alive.
Much of the fur now sold in the U.S. and Canada originates in China, where there is not a single law to protect animals. Undercover investigators who toured Chinese fur farms found raccoon dogs and silver foxes suffering from severe stress, repeatedly slamming their heads and bodies against the crude wire cages enclosing them. Others huddled helplessly in the back of their cages, paralyzed with fear.
— Heather Mills McCartney
Source: Myrtle Beach Online, 10/12/05
Manchester, England — Unscrupulous fur traders who operate via the Internet are openly flouting international laws and illegally exporting furs to the UK disguised as”gifts.” This shocking discovery was made by Co-operative Insurance Society (CIS) when carrying out research into the fur trade to support its newly launched Ethical Engagement Policy.
Within the fur trade, Lynx is the most commonly used endangered species. Lynx, or Bobcats, are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This means that a seller must apply for an export permit and a buyer for an import permit before a sale is legal. Without these documents, any item is liable for seizure at customs.
Source: PRNewswire, 10/17/05
Saga Furs will conduct its annual trends clinic for the New York trade Oct. 25 and 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only. The sessions will feature the latest manufacturing techniques, including new ways of cutting and sewing, developed at its design center in Vedbaek, Denmark, and its design team will present its new collection in mink, fox and finnraccoon. There also will be skin color and treatment presentations by Cipel of France and Tubari, Ltd. The main purpose of the two-day presentation is to keep the lines of communication open between Saga and the world fur community. Similar sessions will be taking place in Milan and Shanghai. This will be the sixth year Saga has maintained this program, the past two by Finnish Fur Sales as a result of the splitoff with the Danes.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/17/05
J. Mendel, the Paris-based fashion furrier that has established a solid base in the U.S. with retail operations at its own salons in New York (including Bergdorf-Goodman) and Aspen, Colo., has now expanded west to Hong Kong. A J. Mendel Corner has just been opened in the new London-based Harvey Nichols department store in a landmark luxury shopping mall in Hong Kong. Mendel has a 600 square-foot corner on the third floor near other designer departments, its own fixtures installed by the store, which will own and operate the department as a shop-in-shop. The new department apparently was more successful than it had anticipated and ran out of merchandise in the first two weeks and was quickly restocked. Mendel has another shop in France, located in Courchevel in the French Alps.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/17/05
Don’t legalize snare trapping
When several states in the past 10 years have voted to ban snare traps, some in Illinois are trying to buck the trend and make the long-banned traps legal again.
Earlier this year, Rep. Frank Mautino, D-Spring Valley, introduced House Bill 1486, which would legalize snare trapping in Illinois — a practice that has been banned in the state for 58 years.
Snare trapping is banned here and in 20 other states for good reason. It can be exceptionally cruel, and other means are available for trapping or hunting fur-bearing animals. Mautino’s bill does not mention snares — a word that has become synonymous with torture for many people — but instead it refers to the wire traps as “cable restraints.” Maybe the name change made the bill more palatable. Maybe legislators didn’t bother to research exactly what it would mean to allow snare trapping again. Maybe it was one of those bills that just flew under the radar.
Source: The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL), 10/18/05
Red Lobster in Hot Water over Link to Illegalities
The Humane Society of the United States Asks Darden to Discontinue Ties to So-Called Sustainable Use Group
Washington – The Humane Society of the United States sent a letter today to the CEO and Director of Darden Restaurants, whose subsidiaries include Red Lobster, asking that the company discontinue their association with the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources (IFCNR). A recently released report co-authored by the Center for Public Integrity (CFPI) and NPR’s Marketplace implicates the IFCNR in apparent illegal expenditures and advocating for the dismantling of the Endangered Species Act. Darden is listed as the principal contributor to the group, providing more than one-third of the support between 2000 and 2004. Other contributors include the National Trappers Association, The International Fur Trade Association, and the Japan Whaling Association.
“The Humane Society of the United States has attempted for months to negotiate with you in good faith to have Red Lobster join in opposing Canada’s brutal commercial seal hunt and join the boycott of Canadian seafood until the slaughter of baby seals is ended for good,” wrote Dr. John W. Grandy, senior vice president for The HSUS. “Based on this report, we now are left to wonder if there was ever good faith on the part of Darden and Red Lobster.”
Source: HSUS Press Release, 10/20/05
Fur returns but go with the faux
By Sarah Howden
When flamboyant British designer Julien Macdonald opened London Fashion Week earlier this year by sending Elizabeth Jagger down the runway wearing a fur pelt embedded with Swarovski crystals slung over her shoulder it was clear fur was set to be big news this winter... However, for the masses, wearing fur will never be acceptable. Indeed a recent survey for Cosmopolitan magazine showed that 91 per cent of women will never wear pelts no matter how fashion conscious.
And why should they when there’s faux fur? There’s a distinct air of old Hollywood glamour in autumn’s chic and sophisticated trends, available on the high street, and faux fur is in abundance, allowing those with a conscience to dabble with the hot trend.
And if you want Julien Macdonald’s fur design without the dead carcass, head to Designers at Debenhams where his Star by Julien Macdonald collection is faux fur only... But when it comes to glamorous fur, fake it. Real fur is the result of the death of an animal, so long live faux fur.
Source: Edinburgh Evening News, 10/20/05
In the annual design marathon sponsored by Kopenhagen Fur, five teams of designers were given 48 hours to create three different styles in either mink or fox, which were submitted last week. The 15 garments will be included in a fashion show at the end of November. A jury of designers and people from the fashion industry will choose the winner, who will be awarded the Golden Fur Pin.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/24/05
Import ban on dog and cat fur products urged
Vancouver (CP) — An animal-rights group is pushing for Canada to join a planned international ban on products made from dog or cat fur, claiming millions of animals are cruelly slaughtered for the trade. Fur-Bearer Defenders, based in Vancouver, contends the fur from dogs and cats can be legally sold in Canada without being identified as such.
[Visit the Fur-Bearer Defenders’ dog and cat fur campaign website at www.dogcatfur.com.]
The group says about two million cats and dogs are brutally killed each year for their skins.
Source: Canada News, 10/25/05
Animal Welfare Groups Applaud Illinois Lawmakers for Upholding Ban on Wire Neck Snares
Veto Override Attempt Rejected by Overwhelming 2-1 Margin
Washington — Today, the Illinois House of Representatives rejected an attempt to override Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich’s veto of House Bill 1486, a bill that would have allowed the use of wire neck snares, by a decisive vote of 37-74. A coalition of animal welfare organizations representing more than 600,000 Illinois constituents applauded the landslide victory.
Sponsored by the Illinois Trappers Association, HB 1486 would have allowed trappers to use wire neck snares to strangle several species of fur-bearing animals — also posing a danger to family pets and endangered species — for the first time in a half century. Citing humane concerns, Gov. Blagojevich rightly vetoed this bill in August.
Source: HSUS and API Press Release, 10/26/05
2005 Fur Farming Kill Statistics
Mink (Mustela vison)
1. Denmark - 12.9 million
2. China - estimated 8 million
3. Netherlands - 3.3 million
4. USA - 2.7 million
5. Russia - 2 million
6. Finland - 2 million
7. Canada - 1.8 million
8. Poland - 1.8 million
9. Sweden - 1.4 million
10. “Baltic States” - 1.3 million
Total farmed mink slaughtered worldwide - 40.2 million in 2005
Fox (Vulpes vulpes [silver fox] and Alopex lagopus [blue fox])
1. China - estimated 3.5 million in 2005
2. Finland - 2.2 million in 2005
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/31/05
Denmark is still the largest mink source by far and its production grew further this year after having remained relatively steady for the previous four years. The Danes produced an estimated 12.9 million mink this year, or 3.2% more than last year’s upward-revised figure of 12.5 million. But its market share dipped slightly to 32% from one-third, mainly because of China’s growth. The five Scandinavian countries produced a total of 16.8 million, versus 16 million last year. The breakdown showed that Finnish production rose about 15% to nearly two million; Sweden up 4% to 1.4 million; Norway up 43% to 430,000, and Iceland unchanged at 150,000.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/31/05
China, according to the best estimates, has become the second-largest mink producer in the world. With a crop of approximately eight million — or triple that of the U.S. — it is reckoned at 23% higher than last year’s upward-revised 6.5 million. Moreover, this is not the ‘Chinese mink’ — or, more accurately, weasel — that has been widely used in promotional garments. The expansion in recent years has been based mostly on breeding stock acquired in North America and Europe, so there has been a vast improvement in quality as well. Among the other major producers, the Netherlands is in third place with 3.3 million, up 1.5%; the U.S. next with 2.7 million, up 3.8%; Russia at 2 million, down 17%; Poland at 1.8 million, up 20%; Canada at 1.8 million, up 3%, and the Baltic States at 1.3 million, up 25%.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/31/05
In the ranched fox category, although world production was higher, Finland’s output was down and dropped that country to second place behind China. Finnish fox production dropped 11% to 2.2 million, but China’s is believed to have gone up 25% to an estimated 3.5 million, again, mainly consumed domestically. The total Scandinavian fox crop was down 10% at 2.5 million. That breakdown: blues down 2% at 1.6 million; silver up 10% at 170,000; blue frost up 19% at 285,000; blue shadow and white up 33% at 297,000, and miscellaneous up 49% at 121,000. There was no breakdown for Chinese fox production.
Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 10/31/05
Stella Sticks up for Seals
Gucci is being blasted by the Humane Society of the United States for using baby seal fur in a coat in its men’s collection — and designer Stella McCartney, one of the fashion house’s star talents, is siding with the seals. HSUS senior VP John W. Grandy sent a letter yesterday to John Ray, Gucci’s creative director for men’s fashions, protesting the “ebony seal skin fur coat” being sold on Gucci’s Web site. “The seals are clubbed or shot to death for their fur, almost all of which is shipped to Europe, where it is sold in fashion markets,” Grandy writes. “The seal carcasses are usually left to rot on the ice, because there are few markets for the meat. The Marine Mammal Protection Act prohibits the sale of all seal products in the United States, and very little sealskin is sold in Canada. Thus, European fashion designers such as Gucci... are largely responsible for the continuation of this barbaric and needless slaughter.” A spokeswoman for Gucci declined to comment, but we’re told McCartney is donating a portion of the proceeds from one of her new H&M T-shirts to the Humane Society’s Protect Seals campaign.
Source: New York Post, 11/01/05