Fur

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1994:

While the fur trade for the third year in
a row touts a comeback, facts and figures again
tell a different story. “For the first time in 50
years,” the Ritz Thrift Shop advertised in October,
“the Ritz is offering new designer furs,” apparently
clearing unsold stock from other furriers.
A burst of auction fever last winter
boosted the average mink pelt price from $20.49 in
Toronto on December 14 to $29.91 at Copenhagen
the next day, sparking even faster bidding at sever-
al other auctions, but by the season-ending auction
in Finland the average had fallen back to $20.50.
Even then, a third of the pelts offered didn’t sell,
perhaps because furriers had already bought half
again more pelts than they’ve sold in garments dur-
ing any of the past five winters, at an overall aver-
age of $30.13. To break even, retailers will have to
sell more fur this winter than they have since 1989-
1990, for 35% more money than they got last win-
ter: an average mink coat price of $3,200. In
October, the average was closer to $2,500.

The Fur Council of Canada boasted
recently that pelt sales to the U.S. rose last year to
$59.5 million––but in 1987 the U.S. bought $179
million. Fur isn’t selling even in Calgary. Five of
the 10 furriers in town a few years ago are out of
business, while the two biggest survivors,
Charlebois Furs and Benzing Furs, merged in
September, “joining forces to cut costs so they can
make a profit out of selling smaller volumes,” the
owners told the Calgary Herald.
Striving to boost the image of fur,
Environment Canada has spent $6 million on
“humane” trapping research during the past decade,
according to the Animal Defense League of Canada,
and plans to spend at least $3.5 million more, while
the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern
Development is to spend $8.5 million to teach what-
ever techniques are developed to native trappers.
There are only 5,000-10,000 native trappers in
Canada, depending on the definition of “native.”
According to the World Society for the
Protection of Animals, “Most of the fur from
trapped animals and 90% of all the foxes killed on
fur farms are now used for trimmings,” rather than
complete garments.
Fur is so far out of fashion that in the
104 pages of the fall edition of The New York Times
publication Fashions of The Times, only one actual
fur coat and four fake furs appeared. A fox boa has
been dropped from plans for a bronze statue of
Eleanor Roosevelt, to be erected in Washington
D.C., lest it might hurt her image.
Fur Free Friday, November 25 this
year, will include events led by Friends of Animals
outside the offices of the Council of Fashion
Designers of America, at 1412 Broadway, between
39th and 40th Streets, in New York City, starting
at 10:30 a.m. (info: 212-247-8120); the New Jersey
Animal Rights Alliance outside Flemington Furs, in
F l e m i n g t o n (info: 908-446-6808); and Animal
Rights Mobilization, starting at noon from Daley
Plaza, in Chicago(info: 312-993-1181).
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