Nova Scotia’s fur farm industry in free fall

Like the man said, “you gotta know when to fold ‘em.”

Reports are piling up that indicate Nova Scotia’s fur farm industry – the largest in the country – is taking a nose dive into the sea. The CBC has stated that the industry, which in 2014 was lauded and estimated at a value of $140M annually, is dwindling due to a lack of demand for fur overseas – a commodity that has been on a downward trend for decades.

At the industry’s modern height, mink pelts were selling for as much as $140 each. The industry states that $40 to $50 is the “cost of production” per pelt, and at auctions so far this year, pelts – those that have actually sold – are selling for less than $40 each.

The CBC also published unsourced estimates that as many as 350 jobs have been cut by the industry since the downturn. This comes less than two years after a $20,000,000 government bailout of the industry in Nova Scotia.

Other reports have noted that three of the largest mink farms have already closed down their operations.

We are empathetic to those who have lost jobs – particularly the low paying, seasonal jobs that are the majority of employment in the fur industry. But it is irresponsible government planning, and an industry that has made a handful of property owners rich that are to blame for these losses.

It should also be noted that it isn’t just the ever decreasing demand for fur that’s affecting the industry, but slightly higher environmental standards that are costing Nova Scotia farmers hard cash, and the ongoing outbreaks of Aleutian Disease (including the unknown contamination of wildlife) have driven the gap between profit and costs further apart – a trend that’s reflected right around the world.

It is time for the landowners and policymakers in Nova Scotia to take a long, hard look at their futures and find a new way to invest and support their economy – and walk away from the losing hand of the economically, environmentally, and ethically devoid fur industry.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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