Listening to animal rights extremists, one would imagine anyone wearing a fur or fur-trimmed coat has contributed to the extinction of many species and continuing to do so will deprive the Earth of even more. In fact, the fur trade is one of the oldest global businesses and one of the few which concentrates on renewable natural resources.
The Hudson Bay Company is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company was founded in the earliest days of US history.
The same species of fur bearers are being harvested (in much larger numbers) today than when employees of these businesses were pushing ever westward across the continent. First Europe, then the United States became hubs of the fur industry. Now, that’s shifted farther east. China and Korea are the large consumers of fur from around the world and Russia is a major player, as well.
In many parts of the world, fur garments are worn as much for their utilitarian value as for fashion. A fur coat is as warm or warmer than winter wear made from Thinsulate, polyester and other products made from the non-renewable resources worn my Americans. Fur coats are often more durable, as well, providing an additional measure of value.
MY LOAD OF DEER HIDES AND PELTS MAY BE HEADED TO CHINA
Most of the pelts I’ve harvested so far this season went into the fur trade over the weekend. About half were loaded onto a truck from North American Fur Auctions (an offspring of the Hudson Bay Company).
NAFA holds several auctions each year in Toronto attended by buyers from around the globe. My furs will be matched with other pelts of similar size and quality and be sold in lots to the highest bidder. NAFA collects a 9% commission and sends me a check.
The remaining furs were sold to Groenwald Fur and Wool Company, the largest fur-buyer in the United States. GFWC has signed contracts from purveyors of furs from around the world and offers fur harvesters a price based on these contracts. Offer them one pelt or a truck-load and they’ll cut you a check instantly.
And the fur trade continues as it has for centuries.