Posted on 17 December 2008 by Jim Walrod
There is always a ray of sunshine even in the darkest of days. While we humans are living in a state of anxiety over the economic crisis brought to us by the Shrub and Leaflets, there are other life forms we share the planet with that are rejoicing at our economic woes.
I speak of those amongst us who wear fashionable fur as their natural apparel. Yes the minks are leaping with joy. The chinchillas would be hopping in delight. The foxes frolic across the fields. The beavers go about their building and the rabbits, well they are rabbits what do you thing they are doing.
The reason for all this glee in the animal kingdom is the collapse of the luxury clothing/fur market.
As an economic recession grips the United States and other major economies around the world, luxury goods like fur coats are among the first items to be shunned by shoppers.
“We expect fur sales in the United States to be their lowest in several years, perhaps in a decade,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society of the United States, which opposes the use of fur on cruelty grounds.
There was a similar drop after the stock market crash of 1987, the Humane Society said.
Sales of fur and fur-trimmed apparel and accessories were $1.61 billion in the United States in 2006, the latest year for which the Fur Information Council of America (FICA) has data.
And the outlook for this year is not good, said Keith Kaplan, FICA’s executive director. “It’s the same impact that general retailers and the apparel industry across the board are having.”
Imports of fur for apparel were down 18 percent in the first nine months of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.
As early as May this year, Fur Commission USA identified fear of an economic recession as the major factor behind the slowing of imports. Since then, the economic situation has only worsened.
In Russia, one of the industry’s biggest markets, total fur sales will halve to around $2.5 billion this year and will remain tough in 2009, according to the Russian Fur Union.
While much of the North American economy was built on fur — trappers set up trading posts that are now big cities like Detroit and explored the West — wild animal skins account for only about 15 percent of global fur trade, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
The majority are farmed animals like mink and chinchilla