More than 85% of fur comes from animals that are raised in farms (often small-scale and family-run). The most popular type is the American mink (Neovison vison) but also fox (Vulpes vulpes and Alopex lagopus), chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera), Finn raccoon and Asiatic raccoon (Nyctereutes procyonoides), and Rex rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus).
Fur farming is strictly regulated according to regional and national, welfare, agricultural, and environmental standards. National codes of practice and operating guidelines provide further assurance that farmed animals are well cared for. For example, in the EU, European fur farmers abide by a European code of practice which incorporates the revised Council of Europe Recommendation on the keeping of fur animals. Fur farming plays a valuable role in the recycling chain by making efficient use of the animal by-products of the fish and poultry industries. Each year over one million tonnes of these by-products are used in the EU alone.
Wild fur accounts for 15% to 20% of the global fur trade. North America is the largest producer of quality wild furs (muskrat, beaver, raccoon, marten, fox, coyote, bobcat and lynx) with smaller quantities also coming from Russia (sable), Switzerland (red fox), South America (fox, nutria), and other regions.
The majority of wild species used by the fur trade are taken as part of wild life management programmes, necessary for the maintenance of biodiversity, healthy eco-systems, population, and disease control. In this way, wild fur production helps maintain natural ecosystems and the economies of hundreds of remote communities around the world.
Trapping is highly regulated and an important conservation tool. It is used to:
- Manage the sizes of wildlife populations
- Limit the spread of diseases
- Protect property and natural habitat, for example from flooding caused by muskrat tunnels
- Control predation on livestock or endangered ground-nesting birds and their eggs