In North America, about 95% of the people eat and wear products from animals. Worldwide, we use animals in many ways: for food, clothing, companionship, medical and scientific research, entertainment and transport. Animal welfare is a top priority for the people working in the fur industry because when animals provide us with a wide range of products and services, we have a responsibility to ensure the highest standards of care and prevent unnecessary suffering. The fur trade accounts for about one-quarter of one percent of the animals we use for food, clothing and other purposes each year. About twice as many unwanted pets are put down in humane shelters, ten times more animals are killed on highways.
The fur trade is a responsible industry based on the sustainable use of natural resources. Although animal rights activists have been trying to stop the use of fur bearing animals by human beings, many people and groups, including the United States Food and Agriculture Organization, promote the use of animals by human beings. These groups and people recognize that use of fur bearing animals by human beings is largely done in a responsible, ethical manner, including the proper care of fur bearing animals during farming, and the non-usage of endangered fur bearing animals in the United States. Ethical departments and people contributing to the fur trade have checks and balances to ensure responsible actions, respect, and an assurance that natural productivity is not damaged as a result of the fur trade. The fur trade is aware that specific farming regulations need to be in place in order for the fur trade to function ethically. It is because of this awareness that the fur trade on the whole has invested enumerable dollars toward researching these specific regulations. The fur trade contributes more than $2 billion annually to the North American economy, including more than $400 million in exports. The fur trade has ensured that fur today still is a lasting example of a source for fashion that is naturally attainable, biodegradable, and is able to economically sustain faltering communities. The fur trade lends itself to years of human craftsmanship that few other mainstream marketing products have. Real fur coats have traditionally been worn and used for warmth, luxury, and durability. Although many of our environmental decisions have global implications, real fur is actually an ecologically friendly product. In addition, real fur sold in the United States is never from an endangered species. Most of the world’s beautiful furs are produced in Canada, the United States, and Russia, not China and other third-world countries that use cruel animal practices.
Animal rights activists oppose fur use for real fur coats and use of meat and dairy products. Animal rights advocates who want to stop humans from using fur bearing animals are of the opinion that an ant is no different from a human being. They view humans and fur bearing animals as equal creatures, and attempt to impose their own value system on humans for exercising their freedom to use animal fur in a responsible manner. Furriers recognize that the use of fur animals and other animals has long been practiced by humans to satisfy human needs. These needs could range from warmth, to food, to companionship. The responsible use of fur bearing animals ensures the proper care of fur bearing animals, and the usage of only species that are not endangered. Animal rights activists and others look down on people for wearing real fur coats, but yet many of the same people still eat meat. People who wear real fur coats have a right to choose to purchase fur, and to wear it without being harassed by people against the production of real fur coats.
The fur trade today has an important role in environmental conservation. Not only does the fur trade contribute to international businesses, but the fur trade also lends itself to an amazing range of skills, jobs, and cultural styles of living. The fur trade has a history of over thousands of years. Newer developments in the history of the fur trade were illustrated by the growing demand for fur. Originally, furs were traded by ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean; the early history of the fur trade of North America satisfied the European demand for fur. Eventually, the fur trade led to competition between France and England fur producers. Fur trading was one of the sectors of the economy where aboriginals could continue leading their traditional lifestyles and supporting their cultural values. Fur trading was important for preserving the livelihoods of many Canadians, Alaskans, and Siberians. Areas and organizations that are pro-active in fur trading are generally not areas slated for agricultural development. Approximately one half of Canada's 80,000 trappers are aboriginals, so the crucial aspect of preserving their lifestyles is also crucial to preserving fur trading. Many Canadian families rely on beaver, muskrat, and other fur animals for food as well as income. When you buy fur, you support thousands of aboriginal and other people living on the land. After 400 years of commercial trading, there are as many beavers in Canada now as when Europeans first arrived so, thanks to excellent conservation policies, furs are abundant. The fur trade only uses a small part of the surplus produced by nature each year. This is what biologists call “sustainable use of renewable resources” and is a principle that is now endorsed by all major conservation organizations including the World Conservation Union and the World Wildlife Fund. Fur production supports the livelihood and culture of more than 1,000 farm families across North America.
Most mink and foxes are now produced on farms. Chinchillas are also farm-raised, as are the special breeds of sheep that are used for fur.The production of real fur involves no waste. Production involving no waste is crucial to conservation. Real fur and the production of it is also part of conservation. Real fur bearing animals raised on farms also take care of the disposal of unfit farm products for humans to consume. For example, meat, poultry, and other grains that humans could not consume would require disposal, usually costly, if it weren't for animals with real fur disposing of that waste. Farmed mink and foxes are fed by-products from our own food production system. In addition to fur, these animals provide organic fertilizers, fine oils for leather protection, and other prtoducts. NOTHING IS WASTED!
The North American fur trade is committed to responsible treatment of animals. Farmed fur animals receive excellent nutrition, housing, and care. This is the only way to produce the high quality of fur required by the market. Farmers who didn’t provide excellent care for their animals would not be in business for long. Farmed minks and foixes are produced in accordance with Recommended Codes of Practice developed by Agriculture Canada in consultation with producers and humane societies. Trapping methods are strictly regulated by provincial, state, and territorial wildlife departments. An international agreement signed by Canada, the United States, Russia, and the European Union establishes scientific protocols for humane trapping standards.
A fine natural product, fur is a biodegradable, renewable resource and can even be restyled as fashions change. Synthetics, by contrast, are generally made from petroleum (a non-renewable resource), which is NOT consistent with the sustainable use of our environment. The production, transportation and disposal of petrochemicals can also cause environmental problems.
Lastly, do not buy into the myths about how fur bearing animals are killed. PETA and other organizations promote videos and media that falsely lead people to believe that the fur trade is inhumane. These examples are often staged or taped in third-world countries that have absolutely no bearing on the fur industry.