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  1. Factory Farming
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Fur Animal Statistics


Confiscated fox pelts  
Confiscated Red Fox Pelts (with ears and tails). Photographer David E Sharp. US Fish and Wildlife Service.

The fur trade kills huge numbers of animals and has brought several species to the edge of extinction. The fur trade is deeply entrenched in many countries and is a big challenge for animal rightists (for example see Fur Morality).

Countries are not always forthcoming with statistics about farmed and trapped fur-bearers. The United States and Canada publish limited information and you can pick up more information from the fur trade itself. The tables in this entry show:

Table 1. Number of farmed mink worldwide.

Table 2. Number of farmed mink pelts in the United States.

Table 3. Number of farmed fox pelts on the world market.

Table 4. Number of farmed fox pelts sold in Canada.

Table 5. Numbers of top ten fur-bearers trapped in Canada.

Table 6. Number of wild fur-bearers trapped in the United States.

Table 7. Value of worldwide fur retail sales.



Table 1

Fur farms worldwide raise around thirty million mink a year. Denmark produces a third of these and with the other countries in the table produce nearly 90 percent of the world total. China's fur industry is growing and in 2005 reached 8 million farmed mink (Dying For Fur), second only to Denmark and may become the biggest mink producer. In addition, the fur farms keep several million more mink as breeders for the following year's crop of mink.

Table 1. Number (in millions) of farmed mink
worldwide 1998 - 2002
  1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Denmark 11.9 10.5 10.9 12.2 12.2
Netherlands 2.7 2.7 2.8 3.0 3.0
United States 2.9 2.8 2.7 2.6 2.6
Russia 3.3 2.7 2.2 2.5 2.7
Finland 2.1 1.9 2.0 2.0 2.0
China 1.2 1.5 1.7 2.0 1.7
Sweden 1.3 1.3 1.2 1.3 1.4
Canada 1.0 0.9 1.0 1.2 1.2
All Others* 3.7 3.5 3.7 3.8 4.1
World Total 30.1 27.8 28.2 30.6 30.9

*Other mink farming countries include Baltic States, Spain, Norway, Italy, Germany, Ireland, France, Iceland, Belgium, Argentina. The figures for this table derive from: Industry & Trade Summary. US International Trade Commission, publication 3666, 2004.



Table 2

In addition to the figures in this table, over 600,000 female mink in 2003 and 2004 (that is an extra 25 percent) were kept as breeders for the following year's crop. The number of mink farms decreased from 1,042 (1985) to 307 (2003). The average marketing price per pelt ranged from US$28 to US$53.

The US International Trade Commission reports that the United States is the world's largest "volume" producer of pelts trapped in the wild, the world's fourth largest producer of farmed mink 1998 to 2002 and that farmed mink account for over half the total US pelt production.

Table 2. Number of farmed mink pelts
in the United States 1985 - 2003
Year Number of Pelts
1985 4,171,000
1986 4,096,000
1987 4,122,000
1988 4,453,000
1989 4,604,000
1990 3,366,000
1991 3,268,000
1992 2,900,000
1993 2,620,000
1994 2,623,000
1995 2,803,000
1996 2,783,000
1997 2,993,000
1998 2,938,000
1999 2,813,000
2000 2,666,000
2001 2,565,000
2002 2,607,000
2003 2,549,000

The figures for this table derive from Mink. National Agricultural Statistics Service, US Department of Agriculture, 2004.



Table 3

Four to five million fox pelts reach the world market annually. Finland is the world's biggest producer of farmed foxes, about half the world's supply. China and Russia are also leading producers. The number of China's farmed foxes is growing annually and estimated at 3.5 million for 2005 (Dying For Fur), overtaking Finland. These figures are underestimates because some pelts will be sub-standard and discarded before reaching the market and therefore not included in world market statistics.

Table 3. Number (in millions) of farmed fox pelts
on the world market 1998 - 2002
  1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Finland 2.7 2.1 1.9 2.1 2.1
Other Scandinavian* 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4
China 0.4 0.8 0.9 1.0 1.2
Russia 0.7 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
All Others 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4
World Total 4.8 4.2 4.0 4.3 4.5

*ie Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
The figures for this table derive from Industry & Trade Summary. US International Trade Commission, publication 3666, 2004.




Table 4

Canada farms more foxes than this table suggests. The table shows pelts that are 'sold' but producers discard sub-standard pelts before sale. Also a lot of data were not available in the source document. Furthermore, breeding stock, possibly adding an extra 25 percent, are excluded. The species of fox was not stated but are presumably mainly Arctic fox (Alopex lagopus) with some red fox (Vulpes vulpes).

Canadian farms raising foxes increased from 180 in 1999 to 230 in 2003.

Table 4. Number of farmed fox pelts
sold in Canada 1999 - 2003.
Year Number of Pelts
1999 24,090
2000 15,880
2001 13,160
2002 10,850
2003 9,530

The figures for this table derive from Fur Statistics 2004, vol 2, no 1. Statistics Canada, Agriculture Division.



Table 5

Canada traps well over a million wild fur-bearers annually when you include other trapped fur-bearing species (eg rabbit) not shown in this table.

Table 5. Numbers of top ten fur-bearers trapped
in Canada 1999/00 - 2001/02
  1999/00 2000/01 2001/02 Rounded Average
Muskrat 400,097 207,316 291,323 300,000
Beaver 215,246 221,118 260,421 223,000
Marten 141,129 149,686 119,071 137,000
Squirrel 83,534 63,626 77,053 75,000
Coyote 44,427 54,663 55,427 52,000
Racoon 26,511 30,033 71,749 43,000
Fox 33,733 43,972 48,507 42,000
Mink 40,569 27,754 34,913 34,000
Weasel 38,915 25,803 30,135 32,000
Fisher 16,638 16,109 23,456 19,000
Rounded Total 1,000,000 800,000 1,000,000 1,000,000

The figures for this table derive from Fur Statistics 2004, vol 2, no 1. Statistics Canada, Agriculture Division.



Table 6

The United States traps over seven million fur-bearers a year (remember to add fur-bearing species not included in this table). This is far more than in Canada (compare previous table), possibly because the United States has a much larger human population and therefore more trappers.

Table 6. Number of wild fur-bearers trapped
in the United States 1997/98 Season.
Racoon 2,896,000
Muskrat 2,183,000
Beaver 429,000
Coypu 398,000
Mink 190,000
Red Fox 164,000
Coyote 159,000
Otter 29,000
Other 613,000
Total 7,062,000

The figures for this table derive from Industry & Trade Summary. US International Trade Commission. Publication 3666. 2004.



Table 7

Retail sales include fur garments, trim and accessories. The worldwide value of the fur trade has not diminished in recent years despite public opposition to the trade.

Table 7. Value of worldwide fur retail sales 1999 - 2005
Year US$
1999 8.2 billion
2000 9.1 billion
2001 9.8 billion
2002 10.9 billion
2003 11.3 billion
2004 11.7 billion
2005 12.8 billion

The statistics for this table derive from the International Fur Trade Federation press release, 27 February 2006.



Main & Useful Sources for this Entry


The figures for the tables in this entry derive from these sources:

Industry & Trade Summary. US International Trade Commission, publication 3666, 2004.

Mink. National Agricultural Statistics Service, US Department of Agriculture, 2004.

Fur Statistics 2004, vol 2, no 1. Statistics Canada, Agriculture Division.

International Fur Trade Federation press release, 27 February 2006.

You can find these and other useful sources on the Web.

The Socio-Economic Impact of European Fur Farming. European Fur Breeders Association / International Fur Trade Federation. Undated but latest figurers are for 2004.

International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) web site.








     
 

     

Page revised Nov 2010.
Web site established Nov 2009.