Wild fur bearing animals have been hunted or trapped in most countries of the world for thousands of years. Today, it is for a variety of reasons, including population management, pest control and the protection of natural habitats as well as for food and fur. All wild fur used by the trade comes from populations that are abundant and healthy
The majority of wild fur entering the fur trade is mostly from Canada, Russia and the United States, the sale of which provides an important source of income for communities in remote or rural areas. China also has an ancient tradition of producing wild fur, of which a small quantity now enters the fur trade.
Wild Fur: Sustainable Ecosystems And Cultures
In many parts of the northern hemisphere hunting, trapping, sealing and trading fur are essential part of life and for the survival of remote communities and First Nation cultures. These hunters and trappers follow the age old practice of only taking what they need from the land to support themselves and to manage populations. In modern terms this practice has come to be known as ‘sustainable use’, which is a fundamental principle of conservation for organisations such as: The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Conservation Union (IUCN) and The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The International Fur Trade Federation – IFTF which brings together national fur associations from all parts of the world. IFTF has been a full voting member of the IUCN since 1985 and has supported the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) since this agreement was signed in 1973.
In North America and Russia (the main producers), wild fur bearers are trapped or hunted according to strict quotas set by government or state conservationists to maintain populations at healthy levels, and to conserve ecosystems. The sale of the fur not only provides vital income for very remote communities but also goes some way to fund necessary population management programs. Peoples living in these wild environments are aware of their impact on nature and respect the animals they take.
Over the years, the fur trade has supported research to ensure that hunting and trapping methods meet the highest welfare standards.
This research formed the foundation of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS).
Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards- AIHTS
This unique animal welfare Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards (AIHTS) is the world’s first international animal welfare agreement related to trapping. The Agreement dates from 1997 when it was formally signed by Canada and the European Union, followed by Russia in 1998. A separate, but similar agreement exists between the EU and the USA.
Virtually every country in the world allows for the trapping of animals for various reasons. These reasons include: pest control, wildlife management, habitat protection, fur and food, disease prevention, research, relocation, etc. The aim of the AIHTS is to improve the welfare whatever the reason for trapping.
Implementation of the Agreement requires that only traps that meet the rigorous requirements of the AIHTS and are certified accordingly can be used. If no certified trap exists for a particular species, traps in legal use can continue to be used until a certified trap becomes available. Canada, USA and Russia have moved forward with implementation; the EU is equally committed but has yet to introduce the necessary legislative measures.
International Fur Trade Federation, IFTF
Fur Institute of Canada, FIC
Fur Industry News & Facts – World Wide
By RB Media Group / EFURMEDIA