The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently released its annual report on mink pelt production in the United States.
In 2004, total mink production increased by 1 percent over 2003, while the cash value of all mink pelts produced in 2004 increased by 21 percent to $124 million, up from $102 million in 2003. Average pelt price increased from $40.10 in 2003 to $48.40 in 2004. That was the highest average pelt price sinced 1995 when mink pelts averaged $53.10.
In all, 2,563,100 mink pelts were produced in the United States in 2004, and 642,100 females were bred to produce kits.
The total number of mink farms in the United States declined by 3 percent in 2004, down to 296 compared to 305 in 2003.
The USDA’s complete report on mink pelt production can be read here.
In March, the Republic of Ireland rejected a ban on fur farming proposed by that country’s Green Party.
The Republic of Ireland is home to six mink farms that export about $2.5 million worth of fur annually. Fur farming was banned in Northern Ireland effective January 1, 2003, as part of the United Kingdom’s ban on fur farming. A the time the ban went into effect, there were no operating fur farms in the country.
Republic of Ireland Junior Agriculture Minister John Browne told Ireland On-Line that the government felt that existing regulation of fur farms was sufficient, though it was willing to continue to examine welfare-related issues presented by fur farms,
I am prepared to keep the position under ongoing review in the light of developments.
I would consider introducing a provision in the forthcoming legislation into animal health and welfare which would require the extending of a licensing requirement to all enterprises engaged in farming animals for their fur.
Of course the Greens want complete abolition of the practice, as Green Party leader Trevor Sargent told Ireland On-Line,
Our intention is to end this needless and cruel practice via the Fur Farming (Prohibition) Bill 2004.
When the bill finally came up for a vote in the Dail, Government parties carried the day defeating the proposed ban by a vote of 67 to 50.
A transcript of the debate between pro- and anti-fur farm forces in the Dail can be read here.
Former NBA star/freak Dennis Rodman is now appearing in a new People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals anti-fur ad.
The ad features Rodman showing off his many tattoos with the tagline, “Think Ink, Not Mink: Be Comfortable in Your Own Skin and Let Animals Keep Theirs.” Rodman told The Associated Press, “I’m very against people mistreating animals in any fashion.”
Despite his apparent fondness for animal, Rodman has never had a problem with abusing human beings. In November 1999 he was arrested for assaulting his wife, Carmen Electra (who was also charged with assault). According to the police report of the incident,
Co-Def. (Rodman) became agitated when Def.’s (Electra) ex-boyfriend appeared in a video. Co-Def. (Rodman) stated “You fucking whore; get the fuck out, go with ‘Fred’.” Co-Def. (Rodman) then grabbed Def. (Electra) and threw her on the bedroom floor. Co-Def. (Rodman) continually yelled and screamed, grabbing Def. (Electra) again and throwing her (Def.) outside the room on the concrete walkway.
If Rodman had treated a cat that way, PETA would have complained that he was on his way to becoming a serial killer. Since he only treated a woman like that, however, he’s good to go for their anti-fur campaign.
PETA unveiled the ad featuring Rodman in time for New York Fashion Week, and, in cooperation with the Fashion Week’s organizers, was displayed near tents that house the runway shows. According to PETA spokesman Michael McGraw, PETA and the New York Fashion Week have “an indefinite true,” which presumably means the Fashion Week allowed PETA to erect its billboard, and PETA agreed not to send its activists to crash the runways.
Dennis Rodman debuts PETA ad at New York Fashion Week. Bruno J. Navarro, Associated Press, February 7, 2005.
Compassion in World Farming, the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and UK-based Respect for Animals have continue their two-year old effort at convincing Ireland to ban fur farming.
CWF and the IPSCA recently released a poster intended for secondary schools and colleges to highlight the alleged evils of fur farming.
Compassion in World Farming is campaigning jointly with the UK-based group, Respect for Animals, for all fur farming to be banned in the Republic of Ireland. As part of our campaign, we have put into place a programme of street events around the country. We have an eye-catching human sized silver fox in a cage and we are collecting signatures on a petition calling on the Agriculture Minister to ban fur farming. We also have pre-printed Shame on Ireland – Ban Fur Farming postcards addressed to the Minister.
According to CIWF, there are currently 6 mink farm and at least 2 fox farms with about 140,000 mink and 1,700 foxes total.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals vented its displeasure at news that Sen. Hillary Clinton recently had a new mink coat made for her by Manhattan furrier Peter Duffy. PETA released a press release saying,
After several twists and turns, denials, and a cover-up, Senator ClintonÂ’s staff has now admitted that she has a new fur coat. Perhaps she has forgotten that every year, millions of animals, including rabbits, minks, foxes, and raccoons, are trapped in the wild in barbaric steel-jaw leghold traps. Those who donÂ’t freeze or starve are usually beaten to death, jumped on to crush their ribs and lungs, or suffocated. Animals, particularly mother animals anxious to reach their helpless young, have even been known to endure the pain of chewing off their own limbs in order to free themselves from traps. And of course, fur farms are just as hideous. After months of fear and being confined to crowded, filthy cages, suffering extreme weather conditions and unbearable stress, the animals are forcibly removed from the cages and killed by suffocation, neck-breaking, or genital electrocution. Sometimes, these methods only stunÂ—not killÂ—the animals, who end up being skinned alive.
Apparently when originally contacted by PETA, Clinton’s staffers decided to claim that the coat was actually velvet — a story that was quickly contradicted in a number of New York-area newspapers.
In fact, Clinton staffers ultimately confessed in January that,
The senator has owned a mink coat for 25 years, and because it was worn, she traded it in.