Every year, the international fur trade kills upwards of 50 MILLION fur-bearing animals, mainly mink and fox but including domestic cats and dogs, killed without mercy so that their fur can be made into “products” for the fashion industry. This annual count does not include rabbits, which the United Nations reports to be at least 1 BILLION killed each year solely for their fur, which is used in clothing, as lures for fly-fishing, and for trim on craft items and other incidentals.
Many different animals are used in the fur trade. Around 80% of fur is farmed. For the luxury market, some of the most important types include;
Sable (Marten family)
For cheaper clothing and accessories, the most popular are
Sheep – known as sheepskin, lambskin or shearling.
China is the largest exporter of fur products. They also import the most pelts, mainly from the USA, Canada and Europe. China mass produces fur trims and trinkets used by the fashion and accessory industries. Fur is now so plentiful and cheap that is often mislabelled and sold as faux fur, to countries such as the UK that have banned the sale of real fur.
More than 80% of pelts used today in the global fur trade comes from farms. North American farms produce mink, fox and chinchilla, while Europe farms mink and fox mainly in Finland, Spain and Eastern Europe. China farms Asiatic raccoon, Rex rabbit, Raccoon, dogs and Cats.
Furs taken from the wild still account for almost 20% of all furs sold. The world’s largest producers of wild furs are Canada and the US, almost half of all pelts produced are still from the wild. These include a wide variety of species, such as coyote, marten, fisher, bobcat, and lynx. Less commercially valuable but still widely taken are beaver, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, and red fox. Smaller quantities of wild furs also come from Russia (sable), Europe (fox), and South America (fox, nutria).