Animals have been hunted by humans for various things namely claws, poison, meat and fur since many years and the specific use for fur increased because of a fashion trends in Russian and North Americans and is still considered as a fashion statement. Macmillan Dictionary describes Fur as “An animal skin cover with soft hair used for making clothes”. (Macmillan Dictionary, 2012) The Trade of fur has been going on since centuries and still going on till date.
Animal Fur Trade
The trend of “Fur” originated from France where the “Beaver Felt Hat” came in vogue around sixteenth century and showed high social stature in people. This trend went onto North America and peltries came into existence. These Beaver-Felt Hats were famous for their shape, durability and feel. After people became familiar with this, even more kinds of animals were hunted for their fur, felts, claws and many other things. The other animals primary hunted for their fur include mink, otter, muskrat, bobcat, panther, fox, squirrel, ermine and buffalo and hides were sourced from moose, deer, elk and caribou. (Juen & Nassaney, 2008)
Fur Trades that came into existence in countries like America, France, Russia and Britain ran on usually like this, the tribes around the area brings furs to trade in the cities to sell them. Peta Mentions that sourcing fur out of animals is very dangerous for the animal and in most cases, kill the animal before sourcing it and the animals aren’t kept in a good condition before killing them for fur. but still the demands never decrease and fur trade going on successfully through Fashion Industry. Companies like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci etc still using animal fur as a style statement. (Juen & Nassaney, 2008) (The Fur Industry)
Trade goods that used fur were Fire-arms, Metal goods, alcohol and common trade goods which include clothing, beads and ornaments. But the important thing is that many innocent animals are killed, cats and dogs bludgeoned to death, spending their entire lives in cages, and killed by the most affordable and cruelest killing methods available. Unfortunately, fur is still not out of fashion so this will go on, but some designers are coming up with synthetic material for clothing which should prove an equal substitute. Profitable as it is, trading of fur is still an inhuman thing to commit to and it also cause environmental disturbance and also eradication of species. Many animals like minks and musk deers have been driven near to existence because of fur-trades. (The Fur Industry) (Juen & Nassaney, 2008)
Several different types of fur would be beaver: comes with a wide range of colors and thicker skins, badger: gray with white underfur and durable for years, Chinese leopard cat: similar to leopard with variety of spots, ermine: called fur of royalty and comes in a brownish gray tint, fisher: range from brown to black with soft and silky fur, lamb: has many subtypes of lamb types and furs, fox: found all over the world and is found to be durable, marmot, mink: very expensive and desirable, otter, possum, rabbit: cheap but useful, and seal :used for jackets velvety duvets. There is also a faux fur (synthetic fur) that is becoming popular. There was a worldwide sale of about 56 million pelts in 2008, with US being a major importer of furs. Many different kinds of acts also came into existence for animal protection. Many animals that have been marked endangered or rare species just due to their hunting for fur or skins which include tigers, leopards , polar bears, bobcats, etc and selling their fir has been declared illegal. (Peterson, 2010) (Fur Types in Brief, n.d.)
Gradually, fur traders had to move on to new areas to find more animals for fur as fur-bearing population was decreasing rapidly. It brought North Americans and natives close due to their trades. But after strict laws, petitions by Peta, decline in fur-bearing population, illegalization of hunting and fur-selling of some animals has brought down fur trade in many ways but still goes own somehow unfortunately. Hopefully synthetic fur will catch on, and people will start considering about animal safety and population which might show a brighter picture in the future. (Juen & Nassaney, 2008) (The Fur Industry)
Fur Types in Brief. (n.d.). Retrieved May 17, 2014, from www.furcommision.com: http://www.furcommission.com/farming/mink-biology/furtypes/
Juen, R., & Nassaney, M. (2008). The Fur Trade.
Macmillan Dictionary. (2012).
Peterson, L. A. (2010). Detailed Discussion of Fur Animals and Fur Production. Retrieved May 14, 2014, from www.animallaw.info: http://www.animallaw.info/articles/ddusfur.htm
The Fur Industry. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.peta.org: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/fur/