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2   COMMISSION OF CONSERVATION

ited in the breeding of fur-bearers, particularly in Prince Edward Island, has advanced prices there above those obtained in any other part of the world. Canada and the United States are being searched for fur-bearers for shipment to Prince Edward Island ranches. Fox companies incorporated elsewhere establish their ranches there where the farmers have a thorough knowledge of the rather difficult art of breeding, and the consequence is that fully 85 per cent. of all foxes in captivity are to be found in the island province.

The high prices for furs prevailing during recent years explain why fur-farming has made such rapid progress in such a short time. This is particularly true of the black fox industry. The fur-value of a high-grade black fox ranges from about $500 to about $2,500; but the demand for breeders has been so great that the price has risen to $25,000 a pair for the best quality of breeding stock. Moreover, the promoter has entered the field and companies are being floated whose capitalizations are based on these high prices and rosy expectations of profits. Although there is ample basis for a sound industry in fox-farming, it is necessary that the general public should realize that the industry is becoming a highly speculative one, and that the individual who puts his money in companies loaded with a heavy burden of capitalization assumes a great risk.

Since the fur-farming industry is so intimately connected with the present high prices of furs, it will be worth while to enquire into the causes of these high prices and endeavour to forecast to what extent they will continue to operate.

DEMAND AND SUPPLY

Stated in general terms, fur has become scarce because less

Scarcity   is produced and more is used than ever before. The remark-of Furs

able increase in the demand for costly furs in the past twenty years is due to a combination of causes. The population is growing. The relative number of people in the wealthy classes is increasing. The habits of travelling extensively and of living in metropolitan centres are rapidly increasing. Commerce and more efficient salesmanship have introduced furs all over the world, so that their admirers and users are multiplied. Dame Fashion, whose influence is predominant everywhere, is responsible for a very heavy demand for certain kinds, and only the best and scarcest are in high favour with her. Then, too, our growing cities, which multiply the opportunities for gatherings and concourses, especially of the well-to-do classes, engender competitive habits in choosing personal adornments.


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