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FUR-FARMING IN CANADA   51

getting back to the pelt basis, the industry will injure many of its followers."

It is maintained by some that the present craze is similar to

Pro and   the Belgian hare craze in America and the tulip craze in

Con Europe, both of which collapsed with a heavy slump. It is contended that fox fur is only a poor quality; that silver fox has never been bought in large quantities and that, if production is increased, it will become as cheap as rabbit; that wild foxes do not decrease in numbers when a country is settled; that investments usually yield from 2 to 10 per cent per annum and that, therefore, the large profits made by fox ranchers during the season of 1912 were abnormal. A smaller proportion state that the fox boom was promoted by exaggerated statements respecting the prices received for pelts and by other misrepresentations. They assert that many of the skins marketed have not brought over $50 or $100 each and that a large proportion of the foxes now in captivity is of little more value than red foxes. They also state that the demand for silver fox has been supplied and that the Russian nobility and some other Europeans are the only ones who will pay a high figure. It is also maintained that skins of ranch-bred foxes have not the gloss and quality of the product of the wilds.

On the other hand, it is stated that the supply of valuable wild silver fox captured is decreasing, that the demand for costly natural furs is rapidly increasing; that only a few hundred silver foxes are in captivity and that there is ample time for readjustment of values before enough are reared to warrant marketing for fur. The fact is also pointed to that the domestication of fur-beare-s has been predicted and attempted for centuries and that those who achieved the work are entitled to reward. Furthermore, it is claimed that when fur is so valuable no animals will be sold unless enormous prices are paid; that it is proved that the fur is better in all respects than the wild product and that the best foxes have not been yet sold and will bring higher prices than the present high record, viz. £580. In addition, the best customers are millionaires and not the nobility.

A general comment is all that can be made on the arguments advanced. Some of the points are discussed elsewhere in this report, notably those respecting the prices obtained for ranch-produced furs as compared with the wild, the decline in numbers of the natural wild supply, and the general excellent quality of ranch-bred stock as compared with the wild stock.

The increased demand and its causes have already been discussed and little remains to be said on that subject. It is possible that silver


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