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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA

 

 

I. Introduction

 

FUR-FARMING is a new industry in Canada, but its development has been rapid. An investigation con-ducted in the latter half of 1912 revealed numerous instances where animals of various species were being bred in captivity for their fur. Foxes of two species and of all colour varieties, skunk, mink, raccoon, fisher, beaver and muskrat were found upon fur-farms. The marten and otter are likewise being

domesticated for their fur. In one instance even the wild cat was retained in captivity for breeding purposes, and it is authentically reported that the common black house-cat is being bred for its fur on pioneer Ontario farms. Up to the present time the domestication of wild fur-bearing animals has been practised most extensively, and also most successfully, in the Maritime Provinces; but the industry is developing rapidly in Ontario and Quebec, while isolated fur-farms are also to be found throughout the Western Provinces.

The great interest manifested in fur-farming is to be ascribed to the remarkable success attained in breeding silver and other colour phases of the fox common to Eastern Canada. The black and dark silver skins from foxes produced on Prince Edward Island ranches have rarely brought less than five hundred dollars each, and frequently bring over two thousand dollars at London auction sales. The pioneer fox breeders have acquired wealth in the business and their success has inspired their neighbours to engage in a similar line of work. Naturally the price of breeding stock, responding to the increased demand, has risen to many times the fur value, so that the ownership of even a pair of silver foxes is impossible to the average farmer.

Corporations and partnerships with a total capitalization of several millions have been established for farming the silver fox. A large pro-portion of the inhabitants of Prince Edward Island and a smaller pro-portion of those of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have invested their money, sometimes even mortgaging their property, to buy stock in these enterprises. Others have attempted to breed fur-bearing animals which require less capital for foundation stock. Thus, in 1912, more than a thousand red and blue foxes were imported into the Maritime Provinces. Mink, skunk and raccoon are being experimented with. The faith exhib-

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