Fur trapping and fashion

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 1999:

The last chance in the present Congress
for a ban on leghold and neck snare trapping in
National Wildlife Refuges introduced by Senator
Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.) and Representative Sam
Farr (D-California) was to come in a October joint
House/Senate committee meeting to resolve differences
between their respective Interior
Appropriations Bill versions. The full House of
Representatives on July 14 approved the Farr bill as
an amendment to the Interior Appropriations Bill,
259-166, over strenuous opposition from House
Resources Committee chair Don Young (R-Alaska),
who reportedly snapped a leghold trap on his index
finger and gesticulated in a seemingly obscene manner
at his opponents. Trappers then intensely lobbied
the Senate, where the Torricelli companion to the
Farr bill failed, 64-32, on September 9.

In Wisconsin, trappers were rallied by a special mailing
from state Department of Natural Resources secretary
George Myer, which was deemed unethical not
only by trapping opponents but also by some mainstream
media. “Myer and the DNR kill-at-all-costs
cadre ought to be ashamed of themselves,” editorialized
the Madison-based Wisconsin Capital Times.
The Massachusetts Natural Resources
and Agriculture Committee in early October sent to
the full legislature a bill, HB 4808, which according
to Fund for Animals executive vice president Mike
M a r k a r i a n would “effectively gut” the 1996 voterapproved
state ban on use of leghold traps and other
body-gripping traps, by allowing the Massachusetts
Division of Fisheries and Wildlife to “authorize the
use of any trap when they feel public safety is threatened.
By broadly defining ‘public safety’ to include
such things as property damage and income loss,”
Markarian explained, “the amendment gives the
DFW practically unlimited power to approve cruel
traps.” Markarian urged Massachusetts residents to
contact their state representatives and senators.
Furriers and leather garment specialists
sharply increased their fall 1999 advertising, after fur
sales fell 5% in 1998 and the popularity of leather
apparently also waned. Ads and editorial content in
the 144-page fall 1998 Fashions of the Times supplement
to The New York Times showed fur on just
eight pages, leather accessories on 14 pages, and
leather primary garments on 10 pages. The 214-page
1999 edition showed fur on 12 pages, leather accessories
on 35 pages, and primary leather garments on
22 pages. The leather trade took a hit, however,
when purportedly hot “ponyskin” accessories that
buyers had believed were made of calf and cowhide
were exposed by the London Sunday Times in a syndicated
feature as often being just what they said they
were––the skins of Italian ponies. This seemed to
unnerve a class of client who has no qualms about
watching a pack of hounds tear a fox apart from on
horseback, but considers wearing the mount uncouth.

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