Sunday, December 22, 2019

Fur Is Simply Inferior to Synthetics

This picture is from a trapper who used to live about 12 miles north of where I live.

In a 53-day trapping period this fellow brought in 1,220 fox, and I assure you he did not reduce the fox population in the slightest.

This trapper is dead now, but so too is the trapping industry, and for a very simple reason: fur is deeply inferior to synthetics.

Not only is fur more expensive, but seam-matching pelts makes for a lot of places to come apart on a coat. Who do you go to repair that?
Add in the difficulty in cleaning fur, the expense in professional storage in summer months (required to prevent insect damage), the weight, and the inferior heat holding qualities of fur, and it's not hard to see why the fur market is in deep trouble.

What's the latest? Just this from the Canadian Broadcasting corporation:

The North West Company, which owns Northern stores across the country, said the prices it's been getting for fur have been dropping from 50 to 70 per cent in some cases, making it impossible to continue in the fur trade.

"Due to unprecedented market conditions at this time — including historical lows for prices at auction and the high inventories that we have still available, we made the difficult decision to suspend purchases," said Derek Reimer, director of business development for the North West Company.

The move could be devastating for trappers in remote locations. In many communities, Northern stores are the only places to sell pelts and sometimes the only location to buy supplies.

"Northern stores are really important, especially if it's a community without a road," said Mark Studer, a longtime trapper in La Ronge, Sask.

"They have no way of driving to sell their furs or no accessibility to leave their town or community and travel south."

To be clear, it isn't pressure from "animal rights" folks that is killing the fur industry so much as a glut on the market of an inferior product.

 Not only is fur inferior to syntehics, but wild fur is inferior to farmed fur where the coat colors are easier to match, the fox are all large and harvested at peak, and pelts are never damaged from burrs, scars, or shoddy field skinning.

How quick and complete is the fur industry collapse? 

Consider this: North American Fur Auctions (NAFA), the largest buyer of fur in this hemisphere, is under creditor protection and is not expected to have any fur auctions next year, which means there is (literally) going to be a lot few markets for pelts.

Bottom line:  the trapping debate is pretty much over and synthetics (and consumers) won.  


Garnet said...

I think you are right for the most part, with the exception of coyote trapping in the north. There are folks who trap coyotes in Canada, and the pelts are used for parka ruffs. I live in northern Alberta, and a lot of people wear Canada Goose coats with coyote ruffs. Brands like Nobis use them too.

Furry "Manitobah Mukluks" are very popular here too, but those use rabbit fur from domestic rabbits. Rabbit fur is soft, but isn't strong. Beaver fur would make more sense, but that would make the boots far more expensive.

Karen Carroll said...

My cousin (Upik) still has her seal fur and rabbit fur outfit hand made for her by her mother 20 years ago. It is still fully functional and still fits fine. Fur when properly care for will last for decades.

musher said...

Wild fur is a great choice for those that think green. Trapping does not destroy the environment like oil extraction does. Fur coats last a LONG time. We have some that are over 50 years old and are still in great shape even though they were never cold stored.

tuffy said...

i don't like farming and killing for fur only. if you're going to eat it, then please, use the skin, fur, wool, horns, bones, hooves, whatever.
fur lasts A LONG TIME. i bought a seal coat for 15$ at a thrift store when i was 15, that needed only a hole repair... half a decade later it's still great. moths are the main enemy. keep it covered.

fur and wool is far warmer than anything synthetic, to me anyway. i can't stay warm in synthetics. eskimos will back me up on that one...

i also don't like filling the world with more plastic products.
natural products all the way!!