The trade of the skin thrives thanks to the success of parkas of the Canada Goose brand.
Until recently, coyote skin did not have much value and was used for upholstery.
Animal rights activists call for boycotts of products.
Colton Morris (28) knelt on the concrete floor of a warehouse in rural Ohio to carefully comb a pile of coyote skins with a metal brush before auctioning them. The morning was sunny but cool, and about 150 buyers and sellers approached the event in the small town of Kidron, located almost 100 kilometers southwest of Cleveland. For sale, there was mink, raccoon, fox, and beaver. But the biggest attraction was the coyotes.
Coyote skin trade is booming, mostly driven in the United States by Canada Goose parkas, and shows no sign of languishing. The brand became famous when model and actress Kate Upton posed with a white jacket for the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in 2013. The company also gave out jackets to the Sundance Festival celebrities and continues to grow; Last year he entered the market in China. The navy emblem parka, with a hood with coyote skin and a patch of the Arctic Circle on the sleeve, has become a controversial fashion item that sells for 1,056 euros. “That product is probably the one that is promoting the coyote market at the moment,” said Dave Linkhart, of the National Trapper Association.
While still combing his coyote skins, Colton Morris smiled at a question about the cruelty to wild animals for stylistic purposes. “People do not understand that this is an animal like sheep, cows or chickens, and we use them as a renewable resource,” he says.
He uses spring traps that trap the legs of the coyotes. Every day he checks the traps and the trapped coyotes kill them with one shot. “In general, the coyotes we caught are in poor health, because the population has grown a lot, and the way we put an end to their suffering is actually very compassionate,” he argues.
Morris works as a nurse in the emergency room of a hospital in southern Ohio. The hunting of coyotes, which takes place in the forests of the region, is a hobby that gives an extra income.
The auction was carried out quickly and Morris left with a net profit of 880 euros for his 60 skins, after paying a commission and buying the traps. “I’ve been doing this since I was 12. I love the challenge, I treat the animals with respect and that effort gives me extra money,” he says.
Trappers like Morris are also hired by homeowners’, farmers’ and ranchers’ associations to kill coyotes, in an attempt to protect pets from the family or livestock of this common predator. Until recently, coyote skin did not have much value. But the popularity of Canada Goose has changed things.
The skin of a coyote from the eastern United States is usually auctioned for between $ 5 and $ 40. The prices vary according to the quality of the skin, the offer and the number of trappers that have been hunting, which has increased since this material became fashionable. In the west of the country, especially in states such as Montana, the silkier and lighter skins can easily be auctioned for double or triple the value of the coyotes of the east. It is estimated that the prices of this year’s auctions have been 25% higher than last year and 40% higher than four years ago.
“Coyotes are in style,” says John Hughes, the buyer of J & M Skins in Roundup, Montana. “And it’s thanks to the upholstery market.” Linkhart adds: “Now that these skins have some value, they are reaping.”
Animal rights activists fervently criticize this trade and disagree with the argument that trappers are helping to control the wild coyote population.
“That’s a lie,” says Brooks Fahy of Defensa del Predator, a group that fights for a “peaceful coexistence” between humans and wild animals in the United States. On his website, he reminds his followers that the Navajos considered coyotes “God’s dogs.”
“Skin is used exclusively for fashion items, it’s not necessary,” Brooks continues. “If Canada Goose were an honest brand, I would put a label on the jackets with a picture of a coyote with its leg or neck trapped in a trap.”
Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has long called for a boycott of Canada Goose products, in defense of the geese from which they retrieve the feathers and coyotes they use for their skins. The organization condemns the commercial chain composed of trappers, intermediaries, and manufacturers until reaching the public that consumes these products.
But the arguments fall on deaf ears. Canada Goose has just informed that its benefits for the third quarter of the period 2018-19 have been 50% higher than those of the same quarter of the previous period and amount to 264 million euros. The company’s executive director, Dani Reiss, said in a statement that this would be another year of “impressive results” for the company, according to a business report last month.
During the polar wave that chilled New York before spring, modern and affluent youth wore jackets throughout the city. Canada Goose sells jackets without the fur hood, but coyote hoods are very popular.
Garrison Gibbons, a young man in his 20s who travels in the New York subway with his new parka, explains that he bought it impulsively with money that he won betting and that he considers it a “luxury pledge”. Gibbons, who works in Human Resources, said that when he moved to New York from his native Mississippi he needed clothes for the cold, although he admitted that the jacket “definitely is a status symbol.”
“Having grown up in the south, I was opposed to hunting, I grew up as an animal defender and I was against cruelty to animals, but when I moved to the city and had to face the cold … in the end I had to overcome it. “, He said.
Meanwhile, in a restaurant Chick-fil-A in downtown Manhattan, the twenty-year-old Andrea Parker is wearing her jacket while asking for the letter and compares wearing a garment with eating chicken or meat.
He shrugs. “I guess I feel it’s the same as eating animal meat or wearing leather clothes, it’s the same,” he says.