Accurate statistics showing the number of animals killed by the fur trade each year are notoriously difficult to get hold of and published figures from the fur trade may not be accurate.

The other reason that the statistics can never be accurate is the constantly changing nature of the fur trade. Economics volatility as well as the vagaries of fashion mean that the overall demand for fur and for the fur of different species shifts all the time. You only have to look at the situation in Greece (a significant fur dealing and retail country) to see how significant this factor can be.

However, recent reports from around the world do reveal the true horror of the scale of the international fur trade.


Most of the fur skins used by the trade come from fur factory farms and are purchased at the many fur auctions that take place around the world each year. One of the largest of these is the Kopenhagen Fur sale and at its last event of the season this year (September 2015), 6.9 million mink skins will be put up for sale.

The auction houses to provide a source for estimates of the numbers of animals killed each year. As an insight into the way those involved with the fur trade think, they refer to these dead animals as a ‘crop’. Accordingly, Kopenhagen Fur estimates this year’s (2014-2015) crop figures will be:

Mink      –           approximately 70 million (down from the 2013-2014 figure of 81.2 million)


Country No. Of mink, 2014-15
China 20,000,000
Denmark 18,000,000
Poland 9,000,000
USA 4,500,000
Canada 3,000,000
Eastern Europe (excluding Poland) 6,000,000
Greece 2,000,000


According to these figures, almost half of all mink bred and killed for their fur come from countries that are members of the European Union.

These extremely large numbers translate to something more manageable. The fact is that, in effect, 2 mink are killed for every second of every minute of every day of the year – just for the skins off their backs.

Fox Breeding.


Again, using fur trade sources the following table can be produced which shows that a half of all fox bred for their fur come from EU countries with Finland accounting for nearly all of them.


Country No. Of fox, 2010
Finland 1,800,000
China 1,400,000
Norway 200,000
Poland 100,000
Russia 100,000
Rest of world 100,000
TOTAL 3,700,000



Most fur from animals trapped in the wild comes from USA, Canada and Russia. Statistics are even more difficult to obtain and/or unreliable than for factory farmed skins. Any published figures do not include the significant numbers of animals trapped and discarded either because their fur has no value to the trapper or the animals are from endangered species and their deaths could lead to prosecution so the evidence is concealed.

Canada used to produce annual statistics recording how many animals pelts are produced and sold each year but stopped publishing this data in 2012 due to government cut backs. The latest (and last) figures available are for 2009 when 730, 915 wild animal pelts were sold for a total of CAN$14,847,952.

This total included:

265,071  muskrat

139,220  beaver

47,340    coyote

92,959    marten

32,072    raccoon

2,055     black or brown bear

9,405     otter

2,867     wolf


In the US, no federal statistics are produced and the last time a thorough analysis of the number of animals trapped in all 50 states was carried out was for the 1998-99 trapping season.


Species Number trapped in US in 1998-99
Badger 6,750
Beaver 333,132
Black bear 59
Bobcat 24,070
Coyote 154,660
Fisher 8,441
Fox, Arctic 208
Fox, Gray 77,334
Fox, Red 130,082
Fox, Kit/Swift 444
Lynx 2,785
Marten 9,013
Mink 147,598
Muskrat 1,426,857
Nutria 131,271
Opossum 227,365
Otter 17,614
Racoon 1,846,649
Ringtail 4,174
Skunk 77,624
Weasel 7,941
Wolf 1,495
Wolverine 505
TOTAL 4,636,081


The best current estimate is that 3-5 million animals are trapped each year in the US.




Canadian harp seal hunt Total Allowable Catch (TAC) figures set by the Canadian government and total number of seals killed:


2015 400,000 35,304 *
2014 400,000 54,600
2013 400,000 90,318
2012 400,000 69,175
2011 400,000 37,609
2010 330,000 61,000
2009 280,000 91,000
2008 275,000 217,636
2007 270,000 224,745
2006 375,000 354,867
2005 319,500 329,829
2004 350,000 365,971
2003 289,512 289,512
2002 275,000 312,367
2001 275,000 226,493
2000 275,000 92,068
1999 275,000 244,603
1998 275,000 282,624
1997 275,000 264,210
1996 250,000 242,906
1995 186,000 65,767
1994 186,000 61,379
1993 186,000 27,003
1992 186,000 68,668
1991 186,000 52,588
1990 186,000 60,162
1989 186,000 65,304


*  In 2015, 910 grey seal pups were also killed.