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The Fur Trade Today - 04/05/06

Published 04/06/06

Retail companies that have recently announced Fur Free policies:

U.S.

Red Envelope — www.redenvelope.com

Source: PETA Press Release, 02/22/06

Canada

BEDO — www.bedo.ca

Source: Global Acton Network (GAN), 01/14/06

Europe

Promod (418 shops in 26 countries) — www.promod.com

Source: Fourrure Torture, 03/00/06


Dog’s death sparks debate over trapping,
Pets at risk where suburbs meet nature

Mineola, NY — It was the last thing Gail Murphy thought she had to worry about when she took her dog for a walk through a suburban nature preserve on a quiet Sunday morning.

Zephyr, a floppy-eared mixed breed Murphy adopted in 2004, ran about 50 feet ahead — out of eyesight — for a sip from a pool of standing water. The next thing Murphy heard was a muffled “bang!”

When she got to Zephyr, he was thrashing about, trying desperately to free his head from a steel-jawed trap. Before long, his body went limp.

“I was looking into his eyes,” she recalled. “I knew I had no time. I knew he was going to die.”

Some experts say such accidents will only increase as the suburbs continue to encroach on the domain of outdoorsmen, who for centuries have set traps to control predators and sell animals’ furs.

Source: MSNBC, 03/06/06


Retail sales of furs worldwide in 2005 increased for the seventh consecutive year, according to the International Fur Trade Federation. The latest statistics, covering sales of fur garments, trimmings and accessories, show a 9.1% increase to a total of $12.8 billion. The results are based on an annual survey of its member organizations in 30 countries around the world. A country-by-country breakdown was not available. According to Andreas Lenhart, IFTF chairman, “we have just witnessed an incredible month of designers showing fur in autumn/winter collections on the international catwalks and this reflects the continuing strong consumer demand for our product. Fur,” he stressed, “is not a ‘here-today-gone-tomorrow’ fashion. It is an integral part of a winter wardrobe. Innovative new design techniques mean that it is light and versatile, so it fits with today’s lifestyle, but provides the warmth and style that the consumer is looking for.”

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/06/06


As Russia has turned more capitalistic, a non-governmental upper- class has emerged, as has a much bigger middle-class, both of them boasting an unexpected new supply of disposable income. Russian manufacturers are well aware of this and are looking to expand their capabilities, but industry experts believe such a transition will take a long time, both in the actual conversion and in consumer acceptance from a quality/fashion standpoint. In the meantime, although reliance on the producers in Northern Greece is expected to continue, along with imports from Italy and elsewhere, the widespread belief is that Russia will eventually become Hong Kong’s biggest customer.

The Russian trade has already begun to show signs of a new maturity that is more in line with the country’s capitalistic tendencies. Among the most apparent changes — at least to the outside world — that have taken place in recent years is the move toward forward planning, as opposed to traditional hand-to-mouth operations. Until just a few years ago, Russian retailers waited until much closer to their selling season to take in fresh merchandise, the perceived reason being their limited capital and inability to obtain credit. But a few good seasons have changed that. While some of the smaller operators may still send “tourists” on day trips by bus to Kastoria to bring back a few coats as their personal property, an increasing number are attending the fairs and placing orders for later delivery, in addition to what they may take back for immediate sale.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/13/06


February proved to be a disappointing month for most American fur retailers, although a small percentage said they managed to equal or exceed last year’s figures. However, last year’s month was by no means a winner, either. In both cases, inconsistent weather conditions tracing a zigzag path between seasonal temperatures and abnormal highs received most of the blame. February ranks about the fourth biggest month for fur sales and is therefore a major contributor to the year’s volume. The November-to-February period typically accounts for 80% to 90% of the 12-month total. In the latest period, only December — which started out slow — turned out to be a winner.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/13/06


Shooting of dogs costs trapper

In the end, Bubba and Savannah were worth $2,400 plus court costs.

That’s the amount a Cass County judge this week ordered Belton fur trapper Michael Kartman to pay for shooting the two dogs last year after they got caught in Kartman’s steel traps.

Marcela Egea, the mastiffs’ owner, said she wasn’t after money when she filed the civil suit.

“All he had to do was come over and apologize ... tell me he didn’t mean to do it ... that it was an accident,” Egea said after the trial in Harrisonville.

On Monday, Judge Williams Collins awarded $1,400 for one dog and $1,000 for the other.

Source: Kansas City Star, 03/17/06


North American mink ranchers are in the middle of their breeding season and the reports from the farms are that the programs are going very well so far. With just another week to go, the weather in the major farm areas across the continent has remained cooperatively cold, more so than when retailers needed it to facilitate their sales. But despite the big price increases over the past two years that have brought many farmers from a break-even, or even losing position well into the black, there are no reports of major increases in production or expansion of herds. Current estimates are that U.S. farms held back only about 3% to 5% more females for breeding this year, while Canadians — mainly in Nova Scotia — are breeding about 8% to 10% more.

Much of the ranchers’ higher earnings are said to have been going into debt repayment, farm repairs and some new equipment. A few major operators have been investing in new labor-saving pelting equipment that claim to improve the finish of their skins (SPR, 01/23/06). For most of the smaller operators, however, expansion may be out of the question because of their advanced age and absence of children willing to take over. Many of the next generation, having seen the disappointing returns for the work involved, have opted for better opportunities. In addition, some view Chinese mink production as a looming threat to their livelihood, much the same as that country’s vast and inexpensive manufacturing facilities have impacted on industries elsewhere.

There are no official figures regarding Chinese mink production, now estimated at about 8 million pelts a year, second only to Denmark and triple that of the U.S. However, sources in the Chinese trade report that this is a growing industry, but on a far higher plane than it was several years ago. The mink they tried to produce initially was from unknown breeding stock and those operations reportedly succumbed because of poor feed supplies and general lack of expertise. Today’s Chinese mink ranches — in line with the country’s burgeoning economic and industrial expansion — are described as closer to Western operations, but enjoying sharply lower costs. Much of the new breeding stock reportedly has been purchased from better ranches in North America and Europe, which has led to a much improved product. Smaller sizes and not yet what Western retailers might consider top quality by their standards, but getting there.

Just as Hong Kong/China has improved its techniques in the handling, processing and manufacturing of mink and other furs, so is it expected that its production of ranched mink will improve in quality as well as quantity. At this point, the crop is mostly consumed in China, but continued growth can easily lead to less need for mink from outside sources. This is another factor being considered by aging North American and European fur farmers: The threat of competition from Chinese producers able to furnish similar mink at lower prices because of their lower costs. While this threat may be years off before it materializes — if indeed it does — it is a consideration in the planning by North American and other Western ranchers.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/20/06


Canada Seal Hunt: Sealers begin hunt on thin ice

Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada (AP) — Infuriated sealers trying to fend off animal-rights activists flung seal guts at the inflatable boat filled with protesters — in the first of what promised to be many days of angry confrontations between the two groups.

Saturday was the first day of Canada’s contentious seal hunt on the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and reporters and activists tried to get as close as permitted, but their presence angered sealers hunting for scarce animals on small, drifting ice pans.

At one point, a sealing vessel charged up to a small inflatable boat carrying protesters, and a fisherman flung seal intestines at the observers.

“They threw carcasses at our Zodiac and they came rushing at us in their boat and tried to capsize us in the wake,” Rebecca Aldworth of the Humane Society told The Associated Press. “This is standard behavior out here; the sealers feel that they’re completely above the law.”

The hunters prefer to use spiked clubs called hakapiks to crush the seals’ skulls, rather than possibly damage the pelts with a bullet to the brain. While the practice appears barbaric to some, veterinarians insist the pick is more humane and efficient.

Source: CNN, 03/26/06


This year’s Design Network display at NAFFEM will feature the work of Montreal designer Andy Thê-anh. The network was established by the Fur Council of Canada in collaboration with Fur Harvesters Auction, Musi Furs, Mudry & Modern Fur Dressers and Splendor Fur Processing to encourage innovation and closer links between Canadian designers and the fur trade. Since its inception seven years ago, it has celebrated the creativity of Canada’s leading fashion designers through collections that draw on the country’s long-standing foundations in the fur trade. Of the 30 designers who have participated in the program to date, FCC reports that most have continued to integrate furs into their collections in new, creative ways. The program is similar to that inaugurated by Saga Furs more than a decade ago, which has resulted in many international ready-to-wear designers having incorporated furs into their regular collections.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/27/06


Following the Canadian Wildlife Director’s approval of a phased-in process for Canada’s implementation of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping standards (AIHTS), the Fur Institute of Canada has reformatted its list of traps that meet the requirements of the agreement and have been certified. New additions to the list are the Bélisle Classic 330 for beaver (on land and underwater); Duke 330 for beaver underwater, and Bridger 160 and Duke 220 for raccoon. Two traps already listed and recently certified are the Woodstream Oneida Victor Conibear 330 for otter and lynx and the Victor Rat Trap for weasel.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 03/27/06


Letter: Trapping no solution to beaver problem

The Humane Society of the United States recognizes that beaver activity can cause flooding and that this is an issue of particular concern in the flat, flood-prone regions of southern Louisiana (“Dam building destroys trees, causes flooding in south La.,” March 6).

Trapping, however, is not the solution to beaver problems. Effective alternatives are available to solve ongoing flooding issues that do not necessitate beaver removal or dam destruction.

Lauren Nolfo-Clements, wildlife scientist
The Humane Society of the United States

Source: The Advocate (Louisiana), 03/29/06


Animal Friends Croatia: Croatia Bans the Import of Seal Pelts

At the height of protests on six continents and with the opposition of the whole world, while Paul McCartney and Brigitte Bardot are repeatedly appealing to the Canadian Government to stop the slaughter of seal pups and the world known musician Morrisey cancels his Canadian tour in protest against this crime, Croatian Nature Protection Division–Biodiversity and Landscape Conservation Department with the Ministry of Culture bans the import of seal pelts and other products derived from seals.

According to the Directive of the Council of Europe No. 83/129/EEC of March 28, 1983 about the import of pelts and products derived from some newborn seals in member states (SL L 091 09.04.1983 page 30), Article 20 of the Rule Book of Transboundary Transport and Trade of Protected Species which is being implemented by the Nature Protection Law (Article 101, item 6) and which came into force by being published in Official Gazette No. 34/2006 on March 27, 2006, Croatia banned the commercial import of skin and other products derived from skin and seals from Appendix X. In this case, the word is about the Cystophora cristata (hooded seals) and Phoca groenlandica (harp seals), the very species of seals that are now commercially being hunted on the east coast of Canada.

With this praiseworthy decision of the Ministry of Culture, Croatia joined Mexico, the United States, Greenland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, which already banned or are in a process of introducing a ban on import of pelts and other products derived from seals.

“By taking this extremely important step, Croatia contributed a lot to endeavours of the Coalition to Protect Seals which at the moment has 47 member organizations from all over the world, but also to more than 70% of world and Canadian public which is opposing to this pointless and shameless slaughter,” says Luka Oman, chairman of Animal Friends Croatia. “We would like that the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management of Croatia follows the bright example of the Ministry of Culture and implements the ban on breeding animals for fur in Croatia in their Animal Protection Bill Proposal. “

Source: Animal Friends Croatia, 03/29/06

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