FUR IS STILL DEAD: Industry numbers confirm collapse, despite claims
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1993:
Daniel A, the successor to the bankrupt Antonovich fur chain, itself declared bank-
ruptcy in early October. The high-profile collapse, on the heels of a previous collapse, under-scored the continuing crash of the fur trade. Despite the Fur Information Council of America claim that retail fur sales rose to $1.1 billion last year, ending a four-year decline, other data newly released by the fur trade itself confirms the ANIMAL PEOPLE projection based on gar-ment and pelt prices that sales actually fell to between $648 and $750 million. Evans Inc., annu-ally accounting for about 10% of U.S. fur sales, sold $107 million worth of goods––but trim items with minimal fur content accounted for $30.4 million of it. The fur trade claimed mink pelt prices were up 30%, but Wisconsin, accounting for nearly 25% of U.S. mink production, recorded a 16% drop in sales and a 13% drop in revenue, indicating only a marginal price rise. The number of U.S. fur garment wholesalers also fell, from 2,200 at the start of 1992 to just 1,500 going into this winter. Finally, a study of the fur trade done by Southwick Associates for the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies confirms the accuracy of the ANI-MAL PEOPLE model of fur trade economics, coming within 11% of the ANIMAL PEOPLE projections in 17 of 18 major categories of information. The only wider variance is in the esti-mates of retail jobs produced: Southwick found four times as many by counting all employees of retailers who sell fur, instead of counting only those who actually work in fur sales. The ANI-MAL PEOPLE model was developed in early1988 by editor Merritt Clifton, under contract with the Humane Society of the U.S., and has been used to produce yearly estimates of fur trade eco-nomic data ever since. The Southwick Associates model is based on 1990 statistics obtained directly from the fur trade and state wildlife departments.
About 14 million mink will be
skinned in 1993, worldwide, according to
Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade,
and Consumer Protection mink marketing pro-
duction specialist Jim Smith. Global mink pro-
duction in 1988 totaled 44 million, and came to
23 million in 1992. Approximately 9.6 million
animals will be trapped for fur this year, world-
wide, including about 2.5 million in the U.S.,
ANIMAL PEOPLE projections indicate.
Indigenous Alaskans killed 750 sea
otters for fur and their genitals in the first six
months of 1993, up sharply from about 200 in
recent years. The genitals are sold to Asia as
aphrodisiacs. Only indigenous Alaskans are
allowed to hunt the otters, whose body parts
may be sold only if used in “native handi-
crafts,” but “native handicraft” is often loose-
ly interpreted to include pelts only slightly
modified. The indigenous Alaskans, the fish-
ing industry, and the Alaska Department of
Fish and Game––the same one that wants to
kill wolves to make moose and caribou more
plentiful for trophy hunters––blame sea otters
for a drop of two-thirds in the southeastern
Alaska sea urchin population. Only about
2,000 sea otters survived when they first
gained protection from fur hunters in 1911.
There are now an estimated 100,000-150,000
in Alaska alone, and they again range as far
south as California.
The Society for Animal Protective
Legislation is petitioning the International
Organization for Standardization to reject
“humane” trap standards being developed by a
technical committee dominated by fur inter-
ests. The proposed standards would permit
use of so-called padded leghold traps. At sub-
zero temperatures, the difference in impact on
an animal’s leg between the hard rubber
padding and naked steel is nil. Get petitions
from POB 3650, Washington, DC 20007.
Fur Free Friday is November 26.
For details of the annual Friends of Animals
demonstration in New York City, see page 10.
The 7th annual Animal Rights Mobilization
March Against Fur will be held at noon in
Chicago, beginning from Daley Plaza.
Numerous other events are scheduled in cities