fur farming

Truth About Fur Launches Redesigned Fur Website

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

If you haven’t visited www.truthaboutfur.com for some time, you’re in for a pleasant surprise: North America’s premiere fur website has been completely rebuilt to better answer the key questions that people are asking about the modern fur trade.

truth about fur, fur farming, animal rights, fur website

Truth About Fur was created to inform and reassure consumers, retailers, designers, teachers, journalists, political leaders, and anyone else interested in getting the facts about this remarkable heritage industry. Through expert interviews, media coverage, and in-depth articles, the Truth About Fur website is a fact-driven resource about the trade, hence the tagline All Facts, No Fiction.

In addition to a redesign, the website has new features and content aimed at dispelling myths about the trade and giving a human face to the people who work in it.

• A video, entitled “The North American Fur Trade in 2-Minutes Flat”, explains the processes from raw materials to finished products, as well as facts and figures about the trade.

• The new Ethics of Fur section shows clearly that the modern fur trade satisfies the ethical criteria generally accepted by society as the basis for when and how we use animals.

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Calling PETA: U.S. Fur Farming Is Strictly Regulated

Truth About Fur By Truth About Fur

fur farming, mink farming

Fur farming in the US is subject to a host of government regulations which it then interprets in developing strict industry standards. Photo: Fur Commission USA.

“Fur farms in the U.S. are the only sector of animal agriculture unregulated by the federal government,” charges People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And it’s no throwaway statement either, making it onto PETA’s list of Nine Shocking Fur Facts. When presented with no context, the casual reader will conclude that US fur farming is unregulated, period. But this could not be further from the truth.

The trick employed by PETA here relies on the fact that most readers will only see “unregulated by the government”, and not even register the word “federal”.

In common with all livestock in the US, almost every aspect of furbearers’ lives comes under the jurisdiction of state departments of agriculture, not the federal government. State departments of agriculture are, of course, still government bodies, and love regulating just as much as the federal government. So are fur farms regulated by government? You bet they are, but – like most of animal agriculture – mostly by state and municipal governments.

Where the federal government does get involved in livestock production is in regulating the slaughter of animals raised for food, because there are human health concerns. Since farmed mink and fox are not produced or sold for human consumption, their production (including euthanasia) is mostly the responsibility of state governments.

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“Fur Futures” Has Changed My Life’s Direction

Jacob Shanbrom, design student, School of the Art Institute of Chicago By Jacob Shanbrom, design student, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Fur Futures, Jacob Shanbrom, mink farm, mink, fur

The author (left) with fellow Fur Futures participants, resplendent in bio hazard suits at a mink farm outside Toronto.

Fur Futures is an initiative of the International Fur Federation to provide financial and professional support for the fur trade’s next generation. The inaugural program was held by IFF-Americas in Toronto April 6-7 to coincide with a sale at North American Fur Auctions. Seven young professionals and one student, Jacob Shanbrom, attended educational activities covering multiple aspects of the trade, including a visit to a mink farm, and seminars on mink-grading and wild fur.


One of my earliest memories is falling asleep in the back of my mother’s SUV covered by her fur-trimmed parka. Since then I have always had an affinity for fur because, to me, fur represents not only luxury and elegance as perpetuated by both of my late grandmothers, but above all, comfort and safety, as a direct reference to my mom.

I bought my first piece of fur when I was 14, a black Mongolian lamb fur collar. I was absolutely hooked and spent my high school years hoarding vintage furs and going on the occasional modern fur splurge. To me, there is really no feeling like wearing a piece of fur. No other material makes me feel so safe and warm, but expensive and luxurious at the same time. I also love that items of fur clothing are often the ones that last the longest and are handed down through generations.

As a student at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, I’ve had experiences I never dreamed I’d have, particularly all of the specialized classes I’ve had the privilege of taking, such as corsetry, shoemaking, and fur design. In my senior year, I have been extremely interested in material discovery, such as python, crocodile, leather, and my favorite, fur.

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Fur in the News: January 2016 Roundup

Alexandra Suhner Isenberg By Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

the revenant, fur trade, fur trade history, cinema, fur in the news, leonardo dicaprio

The Revenant has struck a chord not just with mountain men, but the whole of the fur trade.

It’s time to look back at last month’s media, so here is our Fur in the News roundup for January 2016! Let’s start with some cinema. The Revenant has been one of the most talked-about Hollywood films in the fur and trapping communities. Here’s a Vanity Fair piece about the costumes for the film, the secret concoction they used in lieu of bear grease, and the grizzly pelt Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass wore throughout the film.

St. Louis Public Radio has found quite a few connections between the city and the fur trade of the film’s era. And what’s not to love about Leonardo DiCaprio’s acceptance speech when he won Best Actor at the Golden Globes?

Fashion News

Since we are on the subject of costumes, quite a few publications identified fur as being one of the trends on the recent menswear fashion shows. While we wouldn’t exactly consider ourselves fans of Kim Kardashian, we love that she dresses herself and her daughter in beautiful fur coats.

If you don’t have $10,000 for a new jacket, then why not try making one yourself? This is a brand that sells fur accessories, but what is stopping you making some of your own? Or how about a cushion? StyleCaster has some great ideas on how to decorate your home with fur.

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A Year on a Mink Farm. Part 4: Fur Time

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

mink farm

With the weather growing cooler, these fully grown mink are putting on their winter fur. Photo: Truth About Fur.

Have you ever visited a mink farm? Would you like to know more about how farmed mink are raised and cared for? Senior Truth About Fur writer Alan Herscovici asked “Les”, a third-generation Nova Scotia mink farmer, to give us a personal tour and explain the work he does during a typical year.

In Part 1: Breeding, Les explained how the mink production cycle begins early each spring. In Part 2: Whelping and Weaning, we got an insider’s view of life on the farm through one of the busiest periods, from April to June. In Part 3: Growing Up, we saw how the mink kits are vaccinated and separated into smaller groups as they grow. This time, we learn about some of the final steps in producing the high-quality mink for which Canada is known around the world.

Truth About Fur (TaF): When we last spoke, the intense work of vaccinating and separating the young kits into pairs had been completed and life on the farm was somewhat quieter as the mink grew through the summer months. What happens next?

“Les” (Nova Scotia mink farmer): As the days become shorter and the weather gets cooler in the Fall, the mink are about full grown and start putting on their winter fur. By early November we are deciding which females to keep for breeding the following Spring.

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Fur in the News: December 2015 Roundup

Alexandra Suhner Isenberg By Alexandra Suhner Isenberg

Hello 2016! Here’s our roundup of the fur in the news from the month of December. While many of us were busy shopping and eating turkey, there were still a lot of news stories featuring the subjects that are dear to our hearts: trapping, farming, fur fashion, and cute animals. Let’s start with farming!

fur farming, mink farm, canada, is mink farming ethical, fur in the news

This article, entitled You call it sustainability; I call it farming and ranching, explores how a “nation’s understanding of farming and ranching is shaped by polarized headlines, stereotypes and lack of information.” We agree!

And speaking of not understanding, it always comes as a surprise to us when farmers have to explain that “smells” are part of life near farms. This Canadian mink farmer is proud of what he is doing, despite the smell (see photo above.)

An important story from the other side of the pond is this one from Denmark, where mink farmers are dealing with a scary outbreak of Aleutian Disease.

fur coat, michelle lambert, vintage fur, celebrities in fur, fur in the news

Cold weather brings lots of fur-clad celebrities, and we love the way singer Miranda Lambert showed off the fur coat her grandmother gave her (photographed above), despite upset from some of her activist fans.

Hockey player PK Subban looked amazing in the fur coat made for him by the sisters behind Montreal-based brand Eläma.

Boy band member Brian McFadden also looked great in a fox fur collar by Charlotte Simone, but he probably should have thought twice about posing for an anti-fur campaign for PETA. Hypocrite!!

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A Year on a Mink Farm. Part 3: Growing Up

Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur By Alan Herscovici, Senior Researcher, Truth About Fur

mink farm, mink kits

Two young male mink kits are curious to explore their new pen. Photo: Truth About Fur.

Have you ever visited a mink farm? Would you like to know more about how farmed mink are raised and cared for? Senior Truth About Fur writer Alan Herscovici asked “Les”, a third-generation Nova Scotia mink farmer, to give us a personal tour and explain the work he does during a typical year.

In Part 1: Breeding, Les explained how the mink production cycle begins early each spring. In Part 2: Whelping and Weaning, we got an insider’s view of life on the farm through one of the busiest periods, from April to June. This time, we find out how young mink are cared for through the summer.

Truth About Fur (TaF): When we last spoke, you explained all the work involved in preparing and caring for the newly born mink kits. What happens next?

“Les” (Nova Scotia mink farmer): Most of our kits were born towards the end of April or beginning of May. At about one month old they start licking at the fresh feed we put onto the wire mesh of their pen, and a few weeks after that they are usually fully weaned. On our farm we install the nipples of the drinking water distribution system quite close to the nest box opening, to encourage the kits to explore the larger pen and become more independent.

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