After some 30-odd years of tracking animal activists and speaking out for the fur trade (and some of those years were quite “odd” indeed!), I have learned two important things. First: we members of the fur family are very proud of who we are and what we do. Second: most of the public knows almost nothing about us; in fact, they have rarely heard from us at all!
Truth About Fur was created to address this serious shortcoming. When North American auction houses, trade and breeder associations met to plan this project, the first goal we identified was “to take back control of our own story”. We pledged to give a voice to the fur trade … and to put a human face on our industry!
Fur Family Profiles
Why is it important to put “a human face” on the fur trade? Because it is easy for Joe Public to believe activist claims that trappers or farmers are cruel or irresponsible if they’ve never met one. It is much harder to believe such lies when they can see and hear real trappers and farmers speaking for themselves. That’s why the farmer and trapper video “profiles” are such an important part of our Truth About Fur website.
We can be proud that, in little more than a year, TruthAboutFur.com is making its mark. More than 12,000 people visited over the past few months, with 42% of traffic coming from the USA, 38% from Canada, and 20% international. Most important: journalists, consumers, political authorities, students and other researchers are now using our site.
Now it’s time to take Truth About Fur to another level, and for this we need your help! We are creating an on-line Fur Family Photo Album and we want your old and new pictures: Grandad’s first mink farm, a beautiful day on the trap-line, Aunt Eve sewing the lining into a new fur coat.
Our photo album will serve two main purposes. For members of the trade, the album will be a place where we can share the pride we all feel for what we do – and for the family members who, more often than not, blazed the trail for us. For the public, the album can help show who we really are – to break the caricature of “the evil trapper/farmer/furrier” that activists would like the public to believe.
Four Generations of Herscovicis
To start the ball rolling, I am happy to contribute two photos.
The first, above, shows my grandfather, Armand Herscovici, examining Persian Lamb skins in his manufacturing atelier, in the early 1950s. Armand came to Canada as a young man, in 1913. He had learned the art of the furrier from his own father, my great grandfather, in Paris, where the family settled after fleeing anti-Semitic violence (pogroms) in Romania. After the Second World War his son and my father, Jack, joined him in “A-J Herscovici Furs Ltd” – the company Jack proudly maintained until his retirement in 1992.
The second, below, shows my father visiting with me at the 2002 NAFFEM, the wonderful high-end North American fur show run for the benefit of the whole trade by the Canadian Fur Trade Development Institute (CFTDI) in Montreal for 30 years, until 2013. In 2014, it morphed into StyleLab-Montreal.
Now it’s your turn! We want your photos, and also the stories behind them. To learn how to send your photos and stories to be posted in our new on-line album, please go to Fur Family Album Submission Requirements.
Let’s show the world the true face of the North American fur trade!