Most fur farms are small farms by general farming standards and often a fur farm is passed on in the same family for generations. Fur farms can be situated in very northerly and remote regions where other livestock and crops are hard to farm, which is why Scandinavian countries have so many. Fur farming is not usually subsidised by government grants. Fur farming and the industries dependent on fur farms provide a livelihood for many thousands of people in Europe and North America.
In Europe, there are some 6,000 fur farms, while the fur sector as a whole provides around 150,000 full and part-time jobs in the European Union, in remote and rural communities. In North America (Canada and USA) there are approximately 1,000 fur farms and the fur sector as a whole employs over 210,000 people. Because fur sales continue to rise year on year, fur farming is a growing agricultural sector in several areas, for example in Poland and Italy. The majority of fur from European and North American farms is sold at auctions that are part owned by the farmers themselves. In the 2011/2012 auction season record prices were obtained for mink and fox pelts.
The trade in fur caught from wild animals is equally important to very remote communities in the arboreal forests, tundra and arctic regions of North America and Russia. In Canada, Greenland and Russia the hunting of seals for meat and fur provides much needed cash, particularly for indigenous peoples such as the Inuit community.
Like any other industry, the fur trade is politically active. IFTF represents the interests of member organisations across the world and helps them to make the case for the industry. The IFTF accepts that fur is not for everyone. But consumers should have the freedom to make personal choices on what they wear.
WORKING WITH MEMBERS
Engagement with regulators, political representatives and officials is vital in every industry. IFTF and its members are in continual discussion with governments and other public bodies to ensure the highest standards of welfare. IFTF is committed to providing stakeholders with the most accurate information about the fur trade.
WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP
IFTF and EFBA work in close partnership in Brussels, representing the European fur sector to MEPs and officials at the EU.
In the United States, Fur wRaps the Hill serves as a focal point for fur trade engagement by bringing together a consortium of fur industry representatives to the United States Congress several times each year to bring attention to trade issues and raise the profile of fur.
In Asia, IFTF is increasing its engagement with governments, in particular working with officials on welfare standards.
The fur trade must demonstrate that it can self-regulate, leaving politicians to focus on the big economic and social problems of the day.