Saturday, November 3, 2007

Canada's Position on Cat and Dog Fur Imports

A reader who visited our Fur Trapping page a few weeks ago wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressing his concerns about cats and dogs being slaughtered in China for their fur, and then exported to Canada.

The following is the response from the International Trade Minister:

October 29, 2007

Dear Mr. _______:

The Office of the Prime Minister has forwarded to me your correspondence of October 23, 2007, in which you raise concerns regarding the import of cat and dog fur. I appreciate the concerns expressed by fellow Canadians regarding the treatment of cats and dogs and the alleged use of their fur in clothing and other consumer items.

I am, however, concerned that adopting a Canadian import ban on dog and cat fur could undermine Canada's position against the implementation of foreign import bans on Canadian seal products.

The fur trade is a significant contributor to the Canadian economy and provides income for over 65,000 Canadians. In 2005, Canada exported approximately $361 million of fur products, including seal fur. The income derived from the export of seal fur, which is harvested through ecologically sustainable and responsible practices, is important to many aboriginal communities and others in remote and rural regions.

In fact, for sealing communities in Atlantic Canada, the hunt can contribute to up to 35% of their annual income. Furthermore, Inuit communities were hardest hit by the 1983 seal import ban imposed by the European Economic Community and the resulting global collapse in seal prices, despite the exceptions made for aboriginal hunters. Losing one of their few earned income options has serious economic and social effects on these communities.

I wish there were a more straightforward solution to the problem at hand but, unfortunately, imposing a trade ban on cat and dog fur, while responding to the concerns of one group, would have unintended, but serious economic and social consequences for another segment of Canadian society. Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns.


The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., M.P.

Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics

c.c.: The Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.

Please send your own letters to our government officials letting them know how you feel about this issue. See Fur Trapping and Ranching for more information. Thank you.

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