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The State of the Fur Industry

Years of campaigning against the bloody fur trade are making a difference! Fur industry insiders reveal that efforts to revive the dying industry are failing. Here’s the latest–from the fur industry itself.

"Imports of fur trimmings into the U.S., which have grown tremendously in recent years, also have been declining this year. April's receipts amounted to $3.2 million, which was down 25% from last year's month. For the year to date, those imports totaled $10.3 million, a decline of 15%. China is by far the leading source, supplying nearly half the total. Its April shipments came to $1.5 million, down 31%, bringing its four-month total to $5.1 million, a decline of 27% from a year ago."
Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, June 20, 2005

"Manufacturers generally tended to be less optimistic about their order prospects than in prior years, mainly because the recent fall-winter season failed to justify retailers' more aggressive preparations, resulting in larger carryover stocks and smaller open-to-buy positions."
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, June 6, 2005

"February turned out to be largely disappointing for most American fur retailers, especially in view of their lackluster results in November, December and January, normally their three biggest months of the year. Unlike the relatively unimportant months in which they registered strong increases over the previous year, the November-to-February period which typically accounts for 80% to 90% or more of the year's volume — merely ran about even with the year before. Thus, while they may record small gains for the year as a whole, what they anticipated would be another banner season in terms of both sales and profits has instead turned out to be flat."
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, February 28, 2005

"Current trends in legislation in EU member states suggest that the industry is becoming less viable. The introduction of bans on all fur farming in Britain and Austria, a ban on fox farming in the Netherlands and tight restrictions in place in Italy and Sweden paint a gloomy picture for furriers."
—"Back, but Future Looks Gloomy for Furriers," European Voice, February 24, 2005

"Activity in the North American wholesale markets continues [to be] sluggish, a direct reflection of the retail scene. Vendors report practically no new business, except for occasional special orders which they try to fill from their own stocks. And, if they have to have a garment made from scratch, they say they can get delivery in less than three weeks, indicating that Hong Kong is not that busy either. Vendors, themselves sitting with more inventory than they would like, also note that stores are not even requesting consignment merchandise to beef up their promotions because they are primarily concerned about clearing out what they own."
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, January 24, 2005

"Since the founding of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and similar splinter groups in the early 1980s, the price of fur in the United States has plummeted. Where 25 years ago a raccoon pelt brought a trapper as much as $30, today it commands just $10 to $15 in the overseas markets of Greece, Russia, China and Korea—the major players in the international fur trade."
—"Eat More Beaver," The Riverfront Times, January 5, 2005

"Fur isn't the economic force it was in our state. Fur prices have dropped so far in the last 20 years that trappers have become as rare in our state as bald eagle sightings were 20 years ago."
—"Nutria Plan Working for Louisiana," The Ledger, November 15, 2004

"Yielding to complaints from its shoppers and pressure from anti-fur activists, Spanish fashion retailer Inditex, owner of the trendy global chain Zara, announced that it will stop selling fur next year. ... A statement issued by management said that A large number of our clients from around the world had expressed concern about the presence of fur in our stores, and in response it has been decided to discontinue fur sales completely next year.'"
—Fur World, October 25, 2004

“Fur isn’t the economic force it was in our state. Fur prices have dropped so far in the last 20 years that trappers have become as rare in our state as bald eagle sightings were 20 years ago.”
—“Nutria Plan Working for Louisiana,” The Ledger, November 15, 2004

“Yielding to complaints from its shoppers and pressure from anti-fur activists, Spanish fashion retailer Inditex, owner of the trendy global chain Zara, announced that it will stop selling fur next year. … A statement issued by management said that ‘[a] large number of our clients from around the world had expressed concern about the presence of fur in our stores, and in response it has been decided to discontinue fur sales completely next year.’”
—Fur World, October 25, 2004

“Recruitment into trapping and fur hunting is at an all-time low. Seasonal unemployment is incredibly low. Many experienced trappers who could produce large catches are not taking part in the harvest because of age, well-paying full-time employment or the uncertain nature of the markets.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, June-July 2004

“The retail business in Western Europe is described as spotty, relatively good in Scandinavia, Spain and France, but disappointing in other markets. National and local economic problems, including high unemployment rates, have been impacting on luxury sales in general, but continuing campaigns by animal rights organizations also have been hurting fur sales. The once-big German industry now is only a shadow of its former self, as evidenced by each year’s shrinkage of the Frankfurt Fair.”
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, January 19, 2004

“December, normally the biggest month on the retail furrier’s calendar, has gotten off to an uncertain start despite the early onset of winter weather conditions throughout much of the United States.”
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, December 15, 2003

“The number of mink ranches in U.S. has been in steady decline for more than three decades. The most recent survey by the Agriculture Dept. counted 318 farms in operation toward the end of 2002. This compares with nearly 2,800 in 1969.”
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, October 13, 2003

“If mink prices fail to show significant improvement in the next auction season, observers close to that scene predict many ranchers will begin pelting down with the aim of getting out completely within five years.”
—Sandy Parker Reports Weekly International Fur News, July 14, 2003

“Stuck with unsold inventories from the previous season, furriers and department stores did not place many orders.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, April-May 2003

“Wisconsin is still the USA’s top mink-producing state, although the number of mink ranches has dropped almost 50% in the last eight years, the latest agricultural statistics show.”
—USA Today, October 31, 2002

“The late 1970s and the early 1980s were certainly the glory days of the modern fur trade. Since the 1987 market crash, it has often been difficult to find a willing fur buyer regardless of how low the prevailing prices.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, September 2002

“Even deep-discount clearance sales failed to lure consumers into major department stores.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, June-July, 2002

“This past season was not bountiful, for anyone anywhere.”
—Fur World, June 3, 2002

“The 1987 stock-market crash and the resultant recession hit the fur trade particularly hard—especially among Asian markets, which were major importers of American fur. The pelt market bottomed and has yet to recover fully. Today, trapping is a nearly forgotten craft and is often viewed negatively by society because of the work of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and The Humane Society of the United States.”
—The Omaha World-Herald, May 5, 2002

“Domestic retail fur sales did not come close to reaching projected levels.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, April-May 2002

“As of last year, the city had only 81 fur companies employing 450 workers, according to the State Department of Labor, down from about 450 companies and 2,254 workers in 1987.”
—The New York Times, January 30, 2002

“Decades-old fur industry directories reveal that in 1972, there were 797 established fur garment makers in the United States, most located in New York. Twenty years later, in 1992, the number of fur makers [had] dwindled to only 211. Today, numbers of garment makers are rapidly decreasing as this older generation of skilled craftsmen retire. Few young people are interested in devoting the years of apprenticeship necessary to master a craft with an obviously diminishing consumer base.”
—Trapper & Predator Caller, September 2001

“Unfortunately, many of the old-line independent retail furriers have been operating for several years with dramatically reduced inventories. After a decade of lackluster sales, it is certainly understandable why these furriers would continue to reduce inventories and pare back selections.”
—The Trapper and Predator Caller, March 2001

"The prices for fur do fluctuate somewhat, but in the last 15 years they haven’t climbed high enough to start up a serious trap line again."
—Hunting Net Message Board at www.huntingbbs.com, November 14, 2000

"The Agriculture Department’s statistics service says mink production in the U.S. fell 4 percent, to 2.81 million pelts. ‘The number of farms is going down quite rapidly,’ says Tom Kruchten, an Agriculture statistician. There are about 400 mink farms in the U.S., [fewer] than half as many as a decade ago."
—Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2000

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