New research highlights the growing influence of China’s fur trade on theworld’s fur industry, according to not-for-profit organisation ACTAsia. Thereport, China’s fur trade and its position in the global fur industry revealsthe emergence of a persistent, steady level of supply and demand for real furin China. International partnerships between China, Europe and North Americaare helping to consolidate China’s fur-farming industry, as it establishesstrong foundations that would enable expansion to meet growing demand infuture. Live export of stud animals to China, knowledge-sharing, join studentdesign and business programmes, and a growing reliance upon China by the westfor healthy profits signal close international partnerships.

In 2014, China’s factory farm produced a staggering 60 million mink – morethan half the global output – and the surplus from that year, still in coldstorage, continues to supplement annual production for the global market.Foreign investment in China has strengthened the industry with mutual benefit,modernising China’s fur farms and supporting the trade in Europe and NorthAmerica.

ACTAsia points out that although production numbers have slowed down since2014, this is largely due to shifts in the market. There has been a move awayfrom coats made entirely from traditional mink towards a preference for furtrim, often derived from other species including fox and raccoon dog.Production of fox pelts has recently grown in China. While the majority ofChina’s fur is consumed domestically, a significant quantity is exported tosupply high street brands and market stalls across the world.

John Lau is Associate Dean at the London College of Fashion. “Many luxurybrands have joined the Fur-Free movement and banned fur from their collectionsin recent years,” he said. “But fashion colleges, students and consumers alsohave a responsibility to consider the impact of fur on the environment, and onanimal suffering, and use their creativity to source alternative materials.It’s equally important that fashion colleges consider their policies, theirpartnerships with China, and work more closely with retailers to promotesustainable fashion and a Fur-Free policy.”

The change in global output away from established commercial leaders in Europeand North America towards factory farming in China, takes advantage of limitedlegislation around animal welfare and disposal of toxic industrial waste.Foreign industry is moving its resources towards China, reaching for biggerprofits where there are no demands to meet regulations. ACTAsia claims that asa result, welfare and pollution problems have increased.

Last year Finland’s ‘monster fox’ shocked an international audience when itwas revealed how blue fox have been bred through genetic selection to createan animal bearing an oversized, more profitable surface area of fur pelt,which seriously compromises its wellbeing. New partnerships between Finland’s‘monster fox’ breeders and China were recently exposed when a farm in Jinzhoucity, Liaoning Province, was found to be importing ‘monster fox’ from Finlandlate in 2018.

Other welfare concerns include the common use of melatonin in China tostimulate animal growth, reducing the time it takes for animals to reachmaturity from eight down to five months. Its use is prohibited in Denmark andFinland on welfare grounds.

ACTAsia is asking consumers across the globe to make Fur-Free fashion choices.It is also calling for the international Fur-Free movement to continue to seta precedent by banning fur farming in the west, but to address the enormity ofChina as a driving force.

ACTAsia’s Founder and CEO, Pei Su, said, “China’s appetite for fur isinsatiable and education is the key to changing consumer behaviour. We musthelp consumers understand that real fur is cruel, environmentally destructiveand contributes to climate change. Success in banning fur in Europe isencouraging, but China is a driving force for sustaining the industry, andshould not be ignored.”

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