Fur farming has environmental benefits, such as providing a use for thousands of tonnes of animal by-products from human food production. Fur farmed animals are fed waste food purchased from fish and poultry processors and other farming sectors. Feeding these by-products, which are not intended for human use, creates a market that helps keep down the actual cost of human food production and that reduces the waste stream.
Since fur farming is not land-based, fur farms can be located in areas unsuitable for other types of farming: this makes productive use of marginal lands.
Raising fur animals is well suited to mixed farming since it demands the most from a farmer during the winter months when field crops need less attention. Straw from crops is used for bedding and to insulate cages, while the manure from ranched animals returns to the soil as fertilizer.
Fur farmers are also beginning to explore the use of farm wastes as a source of bio-energy that can power their own farms and beyond.
As a renewable natural resource and recycler, farmed fur is a sustainable product.
Sale by public auction is the main way fur is sold. There are two auction houses in Canada, including the world’s third largest fur auction. Buyers from around the world attend these auctions held through the year.
Canada is also a centre for processing and manufacturing furs. Canadian manufacturers are renowned for wild fur garments.
Pelts for sale are prepared by the trapper, on the farm or at custom pelting facilities.
Properly prepared pelts are graded for fur quality characteristics which include clarity of colour, texture, density, size and length of fur fibres
Fur farmers have to adopt new technologies to improve their domestic and international competitiveness.
New manure handling equipment is used for better environmental protection. Computer controlled pelt processing equipment and computerized breeding records are starting to be used.
New technology in housing means a change to more traditional barn-style buildings. Cage sizes are changing as well. And increased biosecurity measures, to control the movement of animals and people onto the farm, protect animals from the risk of disease.