Fur-Bearing Animals and Rabbits

SIC 0271

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in the production of fur and fur-bearing animals and rabbits. These include chinchilla farms, fox farms, fur farms, mink farms, and rabbit farms.

In 2010, mink farms accounted for nearly one-half of total revenues in this industry. Rabbit farms accounted for another 20 percent, followed by fox farms (9 percent) and chinchilla farms (3 percent).

Mink pelt production totaled 2.79 million pelts in 2008, down just 1 percent from 2007. Wisconsin accounted for approximately one-third of the nation's production of mink pelts. In 2008, the state produced 910,100 pelts, down slightly from 2007. Utah was the nation's second leading provider of mink pelts with 549,700 pelts in 2008.

The majority of fur-bearing animal farms are small-scale operations that earn less than $250,000. In fact, no operation reports revenues of over $5 million. Most of the establishments in this industry employ fewer than five people.

Toward the end of the twentieth century, the fur-bearing animal raising industry suffered the ill effects of fur's increasingly negative image. Many stores closed down their fur departments under pressure from animal rights activists and in response to decreasing sales. As a result, sales of fur-bearing animals to the retail fur industry steadily declined at the end of the twentieth and into the twenty-first century. Although sales increased during the boom years of the 1980s, they plunged again as resistance became more pronounced. High-profile protest groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) proved adept at casting the industry in an unflattering light. PETA has launched many rescue missions where members target fur farms and release the animals. In the 1990s, the industry made a comeback as fur came to be regarded as a versatile fabric and as the American economy improved. However, when the economy weakened in the early years of the first decade of the 2000s, fur sales once again dipped.

Female mink bred to produce kits totaled 691,170 in 2008, a decrease of 1 percent from 2007. Females bred to produce kits declined again in 2009, by 5 percent, to 659,400. These females represented mostly the black color class (54 percent), followed by mahogany (20 percent), blue iris (9 percent), sapphire (4 percent), demi/wild (4 percent), white (3 percent), and other colors (6 percent).

Mink pelts produced in 2008 and sold in 2009 were valued at $116 million, representing a 38 percent decline from the 2007 crop, sold in 2008 for $186 million. Along with the slight decline in production, the price dropped drastically in 2009, from $65.70 for the 2007 crop (sold in 2008) to $41.50 for the 2008 crop (sold in 2009). However, the price for the 2007 crop was a record high. Overall, the price of pelts rose rapidly in the late years of the first decade of the 2000s. Between 1999 and 2002, the price remained between $30 and $34. In 2003, the price jumped above $40. In 2004, it reached $47.10, and in 2005, the average price reached an average $60.90, before dropping off to $48.40 in 2006.

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News and information about Fur-Bearing Animals and Rabbits

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