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April 6, 2009

HSUS Predicts 10 Million Animals a Year Saved by Downturn in Fur Sales and Public Support

The Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that changing public opinion, the increased use of faux fur and other alternatives and the current economic slump are preventing the suffering and deaths of approximately 10 million raccoon dogs, bobcats, mink, foxes and other animals annually for fur and fur-trimmed garments. Fur industry data released last week reveals a reduction in annual global fur sales of roughly $2 billion between 2006/2007 and 2007/2008. 

"The fur industry thrives on limited public knowledge of the fur trade's practices and high levels of disposable income — both of which have been eroding recently," said Pierre Grzybowski, manager of the Fur-Free Campaign. "Recent high-profile investigations of animal cruelty and consumer deception in the fur trade, coupled with the economic downturn, has replaced animal fur with faux fur and other alternatives for many shoppers."

Gallup, Inc. conducts an annual poll of Americans assessing the public's stance on a number of "moral" issues, including "buying and wearing clothing made of animal fur." Data show an erosion in the percentage of Americans who find the practice "morally acceptable." The number who find it "morally wrong" has been increasing at the same rate, showing public opinion turning against the trade.

Facts:

  • The International Fur Trade Federation, a global trade organization, reported March 27, 2009 that [global retail fur sales] "figures are back to the level of 2005/2006." A graph published online by Fur Commission USA, a U.S.-based fur organization, shows the sales drop amounts to approximately $2 billion. The Fur Information Council of America, another U.S.-based fur organization, as reported on the Web site of Fur Commission USA, reported a 12 percent drop in U.S. retail fur sales in 2006 from the previous year based on a survey of fur sellers in the United States.
  • The numbers of animals killed every year for fur varies according to market fluctuations, and while some data is readily available, China's dominance of fur-bearing animal production for the past several years — raising raccoon dogs, mink, foxes, domestic dogs and cats and other animals — has been hard to quantify. The prediction of 10 million animals a year saved is based on a 13 percent reduction in global fur sales ($15.02 billion to $13.03 billion) multiplied by the estimated 75 million animals a year killed for the fur trade globally in 2007. 
  • The Humane Society of the United States' list of fur-free retailers and designers — primarily U.S.-based, but many with international footprints — has been growing rapidly and now includes more than 140 names, including additions in the last several years of Polo Ralph Lauren, JC Penney, Overstock.com, Benetton Group, BCBGMAXAZARIA, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger and Foot Locker.
  • In 2005, investigations revealed that raccoon dogs were being skinned alive in China and that the fur was being marketed internationally. Since then, The Humane Society of the United States has revealed raccoon dog fur on unlabeled, mislabeled or falsely advertised jackets for sale by many of the top names in fashion.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the Web at humanesociety.org.

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