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The Fur Trade Today - 02/07/05

Published 02/07/05

The Wednesday before Christmas, Brian Cherry of Victor, MT headed out for a walk with his dogs — “the same walk we’ve been doing for 20 years.” This time, Tio, the 3-year-old Great Pyrenees, didn’t come home. Usually, when Tio wandered off during a walk, he returned home within an hour but this time Tio failed to return. Cherry found Tio’s body four days later.

“I came upon the trap line and followed it to every trap that I saw,” says Cherry. At the bottom of a ravine was Tio, victim of the “shoot-and-shovel” routine. He was shot twice in the head.

In Montana, trapping is a minimally regulated sport. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks issues 3,500 trapping licenses annually. Many species, designated predators, can be trapped without a license.

The trapper who admits to killing Tio wants to be identified only by his first name, Fred. “I had to shoot it,” he says. “I couldn’t get it out of the trap. It wanted to bite me.” He was intending to trap coyotes, for which no license is required.

Montana trappers have mistakenly caught protected species like bald eagles and wolves and even unprotected species like domestic dogs. Paul Schmidt, president of the 30-year-old, 563-member organization, says that accidental trappings are inevitable. “I’ve released a lot of dogs.”

Source: Missoula Independent, 01/13/05

“Spotty” retail fur sales during the month of January have been blamed on adverse weather conditions. Unseasonably mild temperatures as well as snow and ice are keeping people out of fur shops and departments in the United States and also other important world markets including those in China, Russia and Western Europe. Retailers believe that their final totals for the season are likely to reach their expectations, but they say that at worst the 2004-05 sales season could be even with or slightly below those of the 2003-04 season.

Fur apparel imports to the U.S. rose in November. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that imports are up 24% over the first 11 months of 2003.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 01/17/05

An ordinance prohibiting hunting and trapping in Williamstown, Ohio passed unanimously Tuesday night. A problem with trapping was brought to the city council’s attention when a Williamstown resident and owner of wetlands property said he witnessed two individuals in the wetlands with traps for beavers living in the waters. He said he knew the individuals killed at least one beaver in the private wetlands.

When Blaine Myers, city attorney, wrote the ordinance he discovered Williamstown did not have laws prohibiting hunting and assumed council would want to ban that as well, he said. “This prohibits hunting unless permission is presented, in writing, by the chief of police,” said Mayor Jean Ford.

Source: The Marietta Times, 01/19/05

Sales of fur garments and accessories in Russia have come to a standstill as warmer temperatures swept across Northern European cities. Oslo recorded the warmest temperatures for the first six days of the month in 67 years.

Source: Fur World, 01/17/05

The state of Maine has 3,157 resident trappers, including 229 junior trappers.

Source: Press Herald, 01/23/05

Here are statistics regarding the number of Raccoons trapped in each Canadian Province for the 2002-03 trapping season:

Ontario - 35,940
Quebec - 10,803
New Brunswick - 4,999
Manitoba - 3,183
Nova Scotia - 3,083
Prince Edward Island - 974
British Columbia - 134
Alberta - 73
Newfoundland - 0
Northwest Territories - 0
Nunavut - 0
Yukon - 0
Saskatchewan (not reported)
Total - 59,189

Source: Statistics Canada

Trapper Charlie Probst speaks of the indiscriminate nature of trapping: “You never know what you are going to catch. I caught a coyote once while fox trapping ... Today you see a lot more coyotes.”

According to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, during the 2002 trapping seasons, trappers killed 11,444 coyotes, 33,007 red foxes, 18,805 gray foxes and 106,485 raccoons. Trappers killed 135 bobcats in 2002. The most recent beaver kill totals, from 2001, indicate that 10,934 of them were killed by trappers.

Source: Associated Press, 01/27/05

Despite a failed ballot initiative in November 2004, more than a dozen bills proposing changes to Maine’s bear hunt are pending, including bills that would ban bear trapping. Maine is alone among the 50 states in still recognizing the leghold traps as legal for bear trapping.

Source: Bangor Daily News, 01/28/05

The New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife issued 173 trapping permits last year, and trappers killed 489 beavers, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Source: Star Ledger, 01/23/05

There was concern at a recent Finnish fur auction that fox factory-farmers are unable to sell fox skins and meet their costs. A single blue fox skin brought 59.50 euro in September, but in December the hammer price was down to 47.62 euro. Since that time prices have dropped another 13%.

Sources: http://www.jakobstadstidning.fi/sokmotor/svar.php?svar=1656mparaden;

For several years trappers have been designing and conducting BMP trials in an attempt to prove that the traps they use are safe and humane. Sometimes their tests yield data that even the trappers cannot spin, as is the case when raccoons are trapped with #1-1/2 coil spring traps — one of the most common traps in the field.

Trapper Tom Krause admits that raccoons are badly injured in these traps and goes so far to say “I can tell you that the standard #1-1/2 coilspring trap is not recommended for raccoons after extensive testing and persistently failing animal welfare scores.”

Source: American Trapper, January/February 2005, p. 10

Trapper & Predator Caller magazine’s Parker Dozhier reports that the number of raccoons killed by trappers this season will be “average,” while the number of minks, beavers and bobcats trapped will increase. (p. 12)

Mike Schoonveld is a trapper that honestly admits that he enjoys trapping and killing animals. In an article entitled “First, Last and Fun in the Middle” Schoonveld says: “I simply do my best, enjoy myself and take what comes in the limited amount of time I have to trap.” (p. 30)

Adding to the incredible cruelty of trapping is the fact that many trapped animals are attacked and eaten while in the clutches of a trap. Trapper Marty Kovarik tells of checking his son’s traps and finding a “disheartening sight.” “Under a cedar blow down, lay Ted’s first bobcat — scavenged by another ‘cat and eaten all the way up to the shoulders. All that was left was the head, shoulders and spine.” (p. 34)

Source: Trapper & Predator Caller, February 2005

Animal Activists in Zurich, Switzerland have uncovered an operation that clubs foxes, wild dogs and martens, sometimes skinning them while still alive. This is being done in China’s Hebei province to supply fur for clothing.

More than 1.5 million foxes, and about as many martens, mink, rabbits, dogs and cats are raised in China every year for their fur.

Source: http://www.tierschutz.com/main/aktuell/pelz/pelz.htm, 02/01/05

The state of Minnesota has no limits on the number of beavers, muskrats, minks raccoons that a trapper can catch and kill. [This exposes another lie spewed forth by the propaganda machine of the National Trappers Association. The NTA claims that “In every state and province in the United States and Canada which have furbearer trapping programs, seasons, harvest limits and trapping methodology are strictly regulated by the state or provincial management authorities.” — JM]

Source: Duluth News Tribune, 02/04/05

American fur sellers were disappointed by the January’s less that successful sales figures, given that it came on the heels of a “so-so” December. Retailers are troubled that the sales of long mink coats — the item that is the “bread and butter” of the industry — have not been up to par.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 02/07/05

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