As a resident of Northeast China where women hold a particular fashion interest in fur clothing to withstand the region’s brutal winters, Su Yun has made her own rules: she works at a mink factory, yes, but refuses to wear fur. She knows that some animal rights activists have long protested against the use of fur as fashion for the industry’s cruelty. This resistance now permeates the fashion industry itself. Several Italian luxury fashion brands announced this year that they would stop using animal furs…Full Article: Dec 2017

Key Points

  • In China, according to fur industry guidelines, minks should be killed either by drugs or by a “smothering method” (i.e.  carbon monoxide poisoning), while raccoons and foxes should be killed by electric shock.
  • As of December 2017, a mink fur coat cost approximately CNY 3,000 [~USD 427]. In the past, such coats were sold for CNY 10,000 (USD 1,513).
  • In 2016, according to the director of the China Leather Association, China’s mink fur sales declined by 41%. The Chinese fur industry employs roughly 5 million people.
  • In the 1960s, China’s fur industry began to import and slaughter (at state farms) live minks from the Soviet Union and later from the U.S. During the 1980s, mink furs became more popular in China due to cultural influence from Russians living in Harbin, Heilongjiang Province. During the 2000s, “Danish mink” [see Kopenhagen Fur] became the fashion among the Chinese upper class due to its high quality.

ChinaAg Comments

  • In 2016, for the first time ever, China’s import value of finished (retail) leather products was larger than the import value of its raw materials (raw leather).
  • From 2015 to 2016, China’s leather imports declined 7% in value to USD 8.9 billion.
  • In mid-June 2016, representatives of Kopenhagen Fur (Danish fur breeders and auction house) and Chinese fur businesses met with the Swakara Board of Namibia in Windhoek to acquaint themselves with Namibia’s Swakara fur operations. Swakara pelts are obtained from Karakul sheep.
  • From 2011 to 2015, Chinese (incl. Hong Kong and Macau) imports of sheep and lamb skins increased from ~279,700 MTs to ~308,600 MTs. Nearly all imports entered via mainland China. In general, Australia accounted for 50% of Chinese sheep and lamb imports by volume for that period, followed by the UK (~18% of imports) and New Zealand (~12% of imports). In 2015, South Africa was the fifth largest supplier to the Chinese market (top African supplier).
  • In December 2015, Chinese fur production, export and consumption slowed for that year.
  • In February 2015, it was reported that Chinese fur production was expected to decline owing to weak demand in 2014.
  • From 2012 to 2014, Chinese production of dressed, dyed, and processed fur increased from CNY 64 billion (~USD 10.15 billion) to CNY 76.6 billion (~USD 12.29 billion).
  • In October 2012, China’s leather industry was facing tough competition from India’s leather industry within the international market owing to China’s increasing production costs and India’s comparable leather quality.
  • In 2011, China’s State Forestry Administration authorized The China Leather Industry Association to collect production data on mink, fox and raccoon pelts. The association’s first publication was released in 2013.

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