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The Fur Trade Today - 03/17/05

Published 03/17/05

The pine marten once was common in Wisconsin but the species was considered exterminated by 1925 as a direct result of over trapping and habitat loss. Efforts to reintroduce pine marten in the 1970s and 1980s established populations in the Nicolet and Chequamegon national forests, but there is no evidence that they are expanding, said Jim Woodford, Department of Natural Resources wildlife ecologist..

“The Nicolet population of pine marten appears to be a shrinking population” and a similar trend has been noticed in the Chequamegon, he said. “There is pretty good evidence marten are susceptible to nontarget trapping ... they are taken incidental to other trapping efforts.” “Pine marten are a state endangered species, so the taking of marten is not allowed at all,” Woodford added.

Fishers, also a species that was virtually eliminated by trappers in the early 20th century, were reintroduced into many of the same areas as pine martens. Trapping is allowed for fishers in most northern counties under a limited permit system, but that might carry fatal consequences for marten. “There is no way to exclude marten from traps set for other animals,” Woodford said. “Marten are very susceptible to trapping. In our efforts to trap marten for our studies, we caught some of the same martens every day.”

Source: Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune, 02/27/05

Global retail sales reached $11.7 Billion (US) in 2004 according to a survey by the International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF). The total included sales of all-fur garments, as well as fur-trimmed apparel and accessories in 30 countries. The IFTF says this was a 2.8% increase over the 2003 total.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 02/28/05

The Burnaby, British Columbia police are warning families with young children and guardians of companion animals to be careful, after a house cat got caught in a leg-hold trap. Angus, a two-year-old shorthaired cat, was seriously injured and may lose his leg after stepping into a leghold trap on February 25.

Source: http://vancouver.cbc.ca/regional/servlet/View?filename=bc_cat-trap20050301

February’s retail sales were said to be disappointing for most U.S. fur retailers, and this is said to be even more of a disappointment because sales during November, December and January — the three biggest fur selling months of the year and the period when 80% to 90% of all fur is sold — did not reach retailer’s expectations. When all was said and done, the year as a whole saw flat sales figures. Consensus is that sales of electronics, home improvements and vacations were more than likely to have taken the dollars that were expected to be spent on furs.

Federated Department Stores’ move to buy May Department Stores has created the largest department store company in the U.S. The acquisition is not expected to impact the fur departments at Federated stores, but could have an effect on some May stores. May previously had a maintained a no-fur policy but in 2003 Lord & Taylor leased space to B.C. International for a Ben Kahn fur department. Last year when May acquired Marshall Field, it retained the B.C. fur department that was already there. No other May stores have fur departments at this time.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/07/05

A surge in the use of “astrakhan,” a fur similar to broadtail, means death for thousands of spring lambs in Uzbekistan.

According to Sean Gifford, PeTA’s director of European campaigns: “Upwards of 4m lambs are slaughtered every year for these coats. A ewe can usually have four births in a lifetime. The first three lambs are slaughtered after they are born. But the mother is butchered 15 to 30 days before giving birth to the fourth lamb. The unborn lamb is then ripped from her belly. Its skin has not had a chance to develop so it is softer and more highly valued.”

Andrea Martin, of the British Fur Trade Association, did not deny that the skins of fetuses are used. “Karakul sheep and lambs provide an important source of food as well as other income from skins and wools.”

Astrakhan has been used to make whole coats, collars on jackets and trim on evening dresses.

Source: www.timesonline.co.uk, 03/06/05

A Mat-Su, Alaska man discovered more than two dozen skinned carcasses in a pile along the Knik River and according to Alaska State Troopers, it’s not uncommon to find such piles at this time of year.

For Ed Krueger, the discovery was difficult to stomach. “My friend and I were out walking our dogs and happened to come across it. I counted at least 35 (skinned carcasses). It’s disgusting. It’s unbelievable,” Krueger said.

John Frey, a deputy officer with Mat-Su Animal Care and Regulation, said a trapper apparently picked this spot to dump the animal remains, also called a trapper’s cache. “You got everything from coyotes, these big guys in here are wolves,” Frey said. “Right now, I guess, I was told the heads are going for about $100 a skull.”

Police say it is not uncommon for trappers to dump the carcasses of animals in a public place.

“By people doin’ what just happened out there, gives everybody a black eye,” said Kenny Barber of the Trappers Association of the Mat-Su. “A responsible trapper does two things with them,” Barber says. “He either takes them to the dump or he has what he calls a ‘bait site’ where he takes these animals out — the carcasses of these animals — lays ’em out to harvest other animals, like wolverines or cats or whatever it may be.”

Source: www.ktuu.com, 03/07/05

Landowners in the state of Washington would not need a permit to use body-gripping traps to catch moles, gophers, and other specified nuisance animals, under a bill that passed the Senate yesterday, modifying a voter-approved ban on most animal trapping. The bill which also restores some commercial sale of trapped fur passed on a 40–8 vote. It now heads to the House. The bill lists nuisance species as Columbian ground squirrels, Eastern grey squirrels, gophers, mice, moles, mountain beaver, opossum, and rats. Landowners may trap other animals with non-body-gripping traps without a license or permit.

Under the bill, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission would establish rules on types of traps and use of bait, but the rules would not allow the use of traps with teeth or serrated edges or any spring pole type device. Also, trappers and nuisance wildlife control operators would have to submit an annual catch record to the department.

Voters banned most animal trapping and commercial sales of pelts in 2000, but almost immediately, the initiative’s sponsors sought to allow trapping of moles and gophers that were provoking public outcry.

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 03/08/05 & 03/09/05

Oreo Cookie, a 15-month-old black Lab and Border Collie mix, died when a Conibear trap snapped shut on her neck in Alaska’s Chugach State Park, said Oreo’s guardian Mel Strauch of Anchorage. The incident happened early on March 7. The trap was illegally set, since trapping season for some animals in that area of the state park ended February 28, said Mike Goodwin, the park’s chief ranger

Strauch, his partner Suzanne Moore, and their two dogs, Oreo and a golden retriever mix named Savannah, entered the park early Monday afternoon. Within minutes Strauch and Moore noticed that Oreo was missing. Strauch immediately began thinking the worst. “The first thing I said to Suzanne, ‘God, I hope there’s no trapping around here,’” he said. Oreo had stuck her head into the opening of a small teepee. The trap was hidden by the twigs and snow, connected to a wire. Strauch tried to open the trap but Oreo was already dead.

Other dogs have been injured by traps in Chugach State Park and nearby environs over the years, but Goodwin could not remember one being killed. A dog got its leg caught in a trap in Beach Lake Park near Birchwood earlier this year, said trooper Kim Babcock of the Bureau of Wildlife Enforcement. Traps have indeed killed dogs elsewhere and fairly recently, too, said Kneeland Taylor, an Anchorage lawyer who proposed to the state Board of Game in 2001 that traps be banned near popular park trails in Alaska.

Trappers feel the dog owners are as much responsible for what happens to their dogs as the trapper and should have their pets under control, said Bruce Bartley, a trapper who is a spokesman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

Source: Anchorage Daily News, 03/09/05

Kathryn Hoot’s Jack Russell terrier named Ruby was killed by a conibear trap set in a thicket adjacent to a trail leading from TouVelle State Park into a portion of the 1,900-acre wildlife area in White City, Oregon. Since the January incident, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, has banned conibear traps and body snares, now allowing only leg-hold traps and cage traps until the current trapping season ends March 31. Signs warn the roughly 40,000 annual visitors where traps may be placed and also when and where the trapping occurs.

Waymon Stanfield — the Eagle Point trapper whose trap killed the dog — died a week after Ruby’s death. His grandson, Stephen Price remains the only other permitted trapper in the wildlife area.

Source: www.mailtribune.com, 03/13/05

The New York State Conservation Council says that mink skins are in oversupply internationally, apparently because fur factory farmers have bred too many animals. American fur sellers are holding onto too much inventory and it is thought that this could impact upcoming auctions.

According to Tom Krause, editor of the American Trapper magazine, the traditional #1-1/2 coil spring leghold traps have not been approved for use in trapping raccoons by the BMP trap tests. The traps came up with poor scores for efficiency and welfare standards. [#1-1/2 coil spring traps are among the most widely used traps — JM]

Source: New York State Conservation Council, 03/00/05

According to the German Fur Association, Germany’s domestic fur sales are sluggish and the country’s entire fur industry is down to approximately 250 wholesalers and 850 retailers (down from 876 at this time in 2004). Reflecting this, the Fur and Fashion Frankfort trade show shrunk in size once again this year. The largest fur show from an exhibitor standpoint is now MIFUR, held in Milan, Italy.

American Legend will hold its final auction of the year in Whistler, B.C., Canada instead of in Seattle, Washington. Foreign fur buyers are apparently worried about returning to the U.S. considering the investigation into possible industry anti-trust law violations. This will be Legend’s second auction held in B.C.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/14/05

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