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The Fur Trade Today - 07/01/06

Published 07/11/06

When Will NM Recognize Wildlife as More Than “Furbearers”

“Furbearers” is the word the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish (NMDG&F) uses for the 17 species of wildlife that are legal to trap, as if all of these diverse animals serve only to provide their skins for human use. There is no suggestion in the word “furbearer” of how essential small predators like bobcats, badgers, weasels, foxes, and coyotes are to the health of the biotic communities of which they are a part. ...

These lands and the wildlife they harbor belong to all of us. Your words can help stop this. Please write NMDG&F and tell them that using the word “furbearer” is as narrow and inadequate as their trapping program is for “managing” them. Ask that they respect not only wildlife but the public by disallowing traps from New Mexico’s public lands. Send your comments to Rick Winslow (frederic.winslow@state.nm.us, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, P.O. Box 25112, Santa Fe, NM 87504). For more information, visit www.riogrande.sierraclub.org and click on the trapping pages.

Source: Rio Grande Sierran, May/June 2006

Letter to the Editor: Give sympathy to animals, not fur trappers

It is not surprising that some trappers oppose limits on where they can drive their ATVs (“Foresters demand limits to ATVs on public trails,” 05/24/06).

For fur trappers trying to maximize the number of animals they kill — a common technique being to set a trap so that it holds the struggling animal underwater to drown — limits of any sort are surely not appealing.

But, with the amount of pain, fear and death that fur trapping causes to animals in order to put a little trim on jackets in New York City, how much sympathy should the public be expected to have?

Pierre Grzybowski
Washington, D.C.

The writer is deputy manager of the Fur Campaign of the Humane Society of the United States.

Source: Duluth New Tribune, 05/31/06

North American fur retailers planning to visit their New York sources in the next few weeks will be coming with reduced open-to-buy positions, but with minds open and alert to fresh fashion. Having come through a less-than-spectacular winter season and sitting with more inventory than normal, they plan to go through the motions and view the collections, but with a more critical eye. Basically, they look toward the coming fall-winter season with optimism but, between the merchandise they are carrying over and the orders many have already placed in Hong Kong and elsewhere, they believe they will have enough to allow them to get through at least the early part of the fall.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/05/06

Canada’s policies regarding seal harvesting got a major boost from the recent decision by the Greenland Home Rule Government to reject a recommendation to ban the importation of Canadian seal pelts into Denmark. The decision was taken as a reaffirmation of Canada’s sealing policies in relation to the sustainable use of natural resources. According to GHR, the decision was based on its opinion that “Canada has sensible regulations on hunting methods ... and that the hunting of seals in Canada is subject to strict and extensive control measures, which has led to the use of effective and humane killing methods. ...” The Greenland government further stated that “use of seals as a resource is widely based on economically and biologically sustainable principles, for which reason it is recommended that buying Canadian sealskins should be allowed. In this respect, it is also paramount that Greenland and Canada join forces to maintain and develop seal hunting in remote coastal communities where alternative income opportunities are limited.”

Greenland’s decision on Canada’s sealing policies notwithstanding, Canada still has a problem with animal protectionists who are simply against killing animals. Among them is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has campaigned against sealing for years and for whom sustainable use is not as issue. Last week, the organization took out full-page newspaper ads calling for a boycott of Canadian seafood by restaurants, grocers and seafood distributors until the seal hunt is ended for good. The ad claims that over 1,000 such companies and more than 256,000 individuals are already supporting the boycott.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/05/06

Principal buyer of Canadian Seal Skins Subsidized by Government to Burn Pelts

Washington — The Humane Society of the United States today reacted to news that a Norwegian company has destroyed 10,000 harp seal skins, commenting that the revelation contradicts claims of strong markets for seal products.

Norwegian media outlets reported last week that the top buyer of Canadian seal pelts, Norwegian based GC Rieber, was paid by the Norwegian government to destroy 10,000 harp seal skins. GC Rieber is considered the economic backbone of the Canadian sealing industry, each year buying 50 to 80 percent of the skins from seals killed during the annual seal hunt in Canada. Slain Canadian seals account for more than 90 percent of Rieber’s seal skin business.

“For years we’ve suspected some form of price rigging through hidden government subsidies — now we have proof,” said Rebecca Aldworth, director of Canadian wildlife issues for The Humane Society of the United States. “These revelations demonstrate that the Canadian seal hunt, in addition to being cruel and inhumane, is also economically unjustified.”

Source: HSUS Press Release, 06/07/06

Polo Ralph Lauren to stop using fur this year

New York (Associated Press) — Polo Ralph Lauren Corp. said late Thursday that it is eliminating fur from all of its apparel and home collections, starting with the holiday 2006 season.

In a press release, the New York–based fashion house said that fur had only been used “on a limited basis as an accent in some collections.”

“We are publicly announcing this decision because the use of fur has been under review internally and we feel that the time is right to take this action,” the company said in a statement.

Sources: Seattle Times, 06/08/06
The Independent, 06/10/06

Fur market time opens this week in New York, but the annual event that once attracted retailers from around the world has virtually shifted to an entirely different function: a photo op for the fashion press. No longer do fur stores and departments flock to see what New York’s producers are showing for the coming season — they are being replaced by magazine and newspaper editors and photographers with fall features in mind. The shifting pattern that finds more retailers doing their shopping overseas has caused the New York trade to move into a promotional mode aimed at stirring up consumer interest when the retail season approaches, in hopes that the stores will be driven to the market in the fall.

In general, New York suppliers are somewhat less sanguine about their prospects for this season than they were a year ago, more so at the medium and popular-price levels than at the upper end. Not only do they see retailers taking a more conservative route because of existing inventories and the still-higher price structure, but also because of general uncertainty over the U.S. economy. Further cutbacks by major corporations have led to job losses not only at the production end, but in middle and upper management as well. While such cutbacks have been most prominent in the automobile and related fields so far, they also have spread to other industries and have begun to impact on local economies. It is the ripple effects that fur retailers and their sources are apprehensive about. That, together with the impact of still-rising energy costs.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/12/06

Hundreds of black bears face slaughter after Army abandons trial of synthetic fur for Guards’ ceremonial headgear

As a show of British military finery, the Trooping of the Colour has had no equal for 258 years. Today, the Guards regiments will parade for the monarch and tourists in their spotless regalia, topped with their lustrous bearskins.

But as the Queen takes the salute to mark her 80th birthday celebrations this morning, some 4,000 miles away a group of hunters will be preparing to go into the dense woodlands of Canada and kill an Ursus americanus or Canadian black bear.

If the animal is fortunate, it will die quickly from a shot to the head before having its head and paws severed as trophies and the skin sold to a fur auctioneer. In the past five years alone, 494 of those pelts have been sold at a cost of £321,000 to a long-standing customer of the Canadian fur industry — the British Ministry of Defence.

Source: The Independent, 06/17/06

Fur market time in New York got off to a slower start last week than manufacturers would have liked, but the activity was consistent with the pattern of recent years. That the retailer traffic was light had largely been expected and the handful of manufacturers who scheduled showings of their collections did so primarily for the fashion press and they were not disappointed by that turnout. To be sure, some important buyers were in town and, while most merely took numbers, a few placed orders for nearby delivery. But, as far as opening orders for the new season are concerned, most manufacturers are expecting the process to be strung out at least through July.

Retailer hesitation at this point is traced mainly to the mild January and February weather that followed a good December and turned the past winter season into a disappointment. The resultant unsold inventory was more than they had planned for and, from a budget standpoint, put a crimp into their spending plans for the coming season. But beyond that, suppliers detect an uneasiness among their clients they believe reflects an increasing apathy among consumers — possibly due to world unrest or economic conditions — that may be affecting their attitude toward discretionary spending in general. Rising interest rates, increasing energy costs and the negative showing in the financial markets are considered contributory factors. Nor do retailers feel — as they did in the past two years — that wholesale prices are still rising and they have to protect themselves by ordering early.

In doing so, however, the organization got more than it bargained for in terms of positive press coverage. What it had not counted on was how much news today is spread on the Internet, including discussions on web logs — by so-called bloggers — that cover even fashion. Including fur fashion. A visit last week to one such website, coutorture.com, found not only views on the use of animals as renewable resources (mostly positive) but also postings by fur designers describing their new collections. It should be noted that, since there is practically no control over this new medium, anyone and any organization also can express its views.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/19/06

Imports of fur apparel into the United States declined in April, following three months of advances, but the drop was mostly in the mink category. The latest Commerce Dept. figures reflect initial shipments, including sample orders, placed at the Hong Kong and other fairs this spring and tend to bear out earlier reports that American buyers had placed more emphasis on smaller and less expensive items. According to the latest data, the month’s imports from all sources totaled $8.7 million, down 11% from the same month last year.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/19/06

A new motion picture produced by the National Film Board of Canada tells a more personal side of the controversial annual seal hunt. Written and directed by Newfoundland-based filmmaker Anne Troake, it delves behind the current headlines and media hype often served up by environmentalist organizations to offer the other side of the story — that of the sealers. Titled My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers, Troake’s film goes beyond polemics and weaves her argument into a meditation on a resilient people, their special place in the world and the forces that threaten their way of life. An interview with her grandmother at the heart of the film infuses the documentary with wry wisdom and a bright sense of life’s possibilities.

The National Film Board has produced over 11,000 films in its 67 years and has won more than 4,500 awards, including 11 Oscars. Its productions are described as culturally diverse and providing Canada and the world with a unique Canadian perspective. The film was screened as part of the annual general meeting of the Fur Institute of Canada, with filmmaker Troake in attendance. For more information on the film, visit the Film Board’s website at www.nfb.ca or call 1 800 267-7710.

At the meeting, FIC established a sealing committee to address the anti-sealing campaigns in Canada and around the world. Brian Roberts of Canada’s Bureau of Indian and Northern Affairs and an FIC director was named chairman. Also at the meeting, Jim Gibb of Fur Harvesters Auction was presented with this year’s Lloyd Cook Award for excellence in trapping and trapper education. Neal Jotham received the Jim Bourque Memorial Award for his commitment to sustainable use of wildlife, improved animal welfare and the recognition of indigenous people’s cultures.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/19/06

Funeral services were held for Milton Israel, 78, retired owner of Kandu Chemicals, who died June 5 in Boca Raton, Fla. The company, founded by Israel more than 60 years ago, was a major supplier of touching-up dyes, lusterizers, cleaning supplies and other chemicals to the fur trade. On his retirement about 15 years ago, the company was acquired by Tsoukas Bros. of Kastoria, Greece. Surviving are his ex-wife, Charlotte; two daughters, Ellen Bronheim and Susan Cohen; a sister, Shirley Wendell, and four grandchildren.

Source: Sandy Parker Reports, 06/19/06

Cat Injured in Steel Leghold Trap

Boise, ID — Idaho Humane Society officials are trying to determine who illegally set a steel leghold trap near Overland Road, injuring a cat. They are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of that person. A woman found the four-year-old neutered male caught in the trap inside the engine compartment of her car, which was parked at the Albertson’s store on Overland Road and Vista Avenue. She had driven to the store from Albright Street, behind McKinley Elementary. It’s unknown whether the cat made the trip with her or whether he crawled inside the compartment while she was at the store. She called animal control, and an officer came to rescue the injured feline.

“The trap itself crushed all of the bones in the cat’s leg and have probably done permanent nerve damage. These traps are extremely strong and on a small leg of a cat, they do immeasurable damage,” said Susan Clark with the Idaho Humane Society.

Source: Fox 12 News (Idaho), 06/21/06

Exposing the trade in cat and dog fur

Animal rights supporters and MEPs are stepping up their campaign for an import ban on cat and dog fur, which they say is finding its way onto European markets.

New videotaped evidence of Belgian furriers explaining how the trade operates has been gathered by undercover investigators working for the Humane Society International (HSI).

One of the furriers says that stray cats and dogs, including lost pets, are rounded up on the streets of Brussels and Ghent and kept at animal farms where they are slaughtered for their fur.

Some are said to be skinned alive to prevent the furs losing their condition after the animals’ death. ... Belgium became the fifth EU member state in 2004 to introduce an import ban on cat and dog fur — the others are Denmark, Italy, France and Greece. But the sale of such products remains legal in the rest of the EU.

Source: Expatica, 06/21/06

Lynx suffer nearly 50% mortality in study; Scientists concerned about larger trend

Nearly half of the radio-collared lynx in a northern Minnesota study have been killed by other animals or humans, and scientists are concerned the trend may be reflected in the cat’s larger local population.

The ongoing study by the Natural Resources Research Institute and U.S. Forest Service has captured and fitted 33 lynx with radio or Global Positioning System collars since February 2003.

Sixteen of those animals have died. After relatively few lynx deaths in 2003 and 2004, scientists lost 11 lynx in 2005, a staggering percentage of the total animals in the study.

Human-caused mortality is responsible for at least five and as many as eight of the 11 deaths, said Ron Moen, an NRRI researcher who is leading the study.

The study’s 2005 annual report will be published today.

Of the 11, two were killed by other animals, one was shot illegally, one was trapped and killed accidentally, one was trapped and killed illegally, one was hit by a train and one was hit by a car. Four died of unknown causes, although two of those found near roads were too decomposed for a cause of death to be determined.

Source: Duluth News Tribune, 06/30/06

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