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Pattaya Daily News

20 February 2010 :: 12:02:49 pm 13647

Pattaya Expat Gives Talk on Life as a Fur Expert

The international fur trade was centered in Germany, and the Hudson Fur Company in London was also major dealers back in the 1970’s. Pattaya expat Mr. Tony Heron was in the fur trade business for over 30-years, so he was well qualified to speak at the Pattaya City Expats Club.
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Pattaya, – Wednesday 17th February 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: – Living in Thailand one would not normally think about furs, but at a recent Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) Mr. Tony Heron gave an interesting talk from on his working life in the fur trade.

Tony started work as a volunteer at a mink farm in for two years in 1964 at the tender age of 18-years.  Using that knowledge he went on to secure a job with the Hudson Fur Company in London undergoing intense training for two years, then staying on for a further two years. He applied for a job in Germany, (which was the center of the fur trade in those days), and planned on staying for only six months, but he ending up making a career out of the fur trade, staying on for 26-years.

Furs are dried, stretched and graded by colour and size before being sent to auction in their still raw state. Buyers then send them to be dressed in a particular way by a company that is chosen by them. There has been a demand for real fur for generations, thus making the fur trade a viable business to this day, but the 90’s saw the bottom fall out of the fur trade, due to the radical actions of some of the conservationist groups. After a drop in global sales of 20-million minks, a rise in 2007 back to 57-million, saw this supply and demand put the fur trade firmly back on track.


Wild mink is not gathered as they need to be hunted, and then there is the problem of matching colours and quality, so farmed mink is bred solely for its fur, as it can be mutated to match requirements such as colour. Mink is the most popular of the furs, with Sable and Chinchilla being at the top, but the least affordable. Quality of the mink comes from being well fed with good quality foods, as poorly fed animals produce poor quality pelts.

There are many fake furs on the market these days, but none can compete with natures own naturally created products. Fake furs cannot be made as soft as real furs, especially sable and chinchilla, which have 80-hairs to each follicle. Animal rights groups have succeeded in stopping the production of mink in Britain, but as long as there is a demand, the organized commercial farming of animals for their pelts cannot be stopped.

People may come and go from the fur trade business, but the sales of furs continues with sales of minks being up since the 90’s resulting in 50-60 million minks sold yearly at auctions. The tiny country of Denmark has now become a major producer of mink, with China also entering the market as opportunistic entrepreneurs, so those affected by the animal rights groups have been the real losers.

Reporter : Harry Green   Photo : Harry Green   Category : Community News

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