In the 1990s Russia was the largest producer of fur in the world. But in Russia,the production costs to raise farmed fur animals have risen since the end of theSoviet Union, prior to which fur farmers had ready access to domesticfish and meatprocessingby-products.Asaresultofgovernmentreforms,theRussianGovernment no longer subsidises feed or offers easy credit terms. Feed costs, whichrepresent the greatest cost of producing a pelt, rose as the infrastructure of industrieswhich provided domesticfish and meat by-products were destroyed. Russian furfarmers thus incur greater production cost compared with other major farmedfur-producing countries (USITC2004).In Asia, Hong Kong and the mainland China are the largest producers andconsumers of fur (HKTDC). According to Hong Kong Trade DevelopmentCouncil, under CEPA III (Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement), the main-land China agreed to give all products of Hong Kong origin, including fur items,tariff-free treatment from January 2006. The majority of Hong Kong’s furriers haveFig. 3Production, use and disposal stages of fake fur (DSS Management Consultants Inc.2012)To Fur or not to Fur: Sustainable Production and Consumption…53
set up production facilities on the Chinese mainland amid higher production costs inHong Kong. Still, many major sub-sectors of the fur industry, particularly sales anddistribution, remain in Hong Kong.9Licenses and RegulationsDifferent countries have different regulations on fur farming. Fur farming andtrapping follow the international agreements such as CITES (Convention onInternational Trade in Endangered Species), the Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) and the IUCN (World Conservation Union). Provincial and territorialwildlife biologists establish regional biodiversity plans to ensure healthy wildfurbearerpopulations(Fur Institute of Canada).Also, InternationalHumaneTrapping Standards (AIHTS) ensures that the animals trapped follow humanetrapping standards.In European Union laws exist on fur farming and animal welfare. 32.1 millionanimals are killed each year in EU for fur farming (ESDAW2016). In EU the mostcommonly farmed animal species is the mink followed by the blue fox. Followingare some of the rules outlined by the European Commission for fur farming:(1)Housing conditions for animals caged must be of certain specifications. Forexample, 70 cm long by 40 cm wide and 45 cm high for minks.(2)The quality and the composition of the feed must be controlled. Feed is mainlycomposed offish andfish offal, poultry offal, slaughter house offal and cerealwith mineral and vitamin ingredients.(3)For fox and mink both open and closed buildings are used. Coypus are alwayshoused outdoors and chinchillas indoors.
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