Wisconsin State Horticultural Society / The Wisconsin horticulturist
Vol. V, No. 7 (September 1900)
Palmer, T. S.
Belgian hares--a note of warning, pp. 6-9 PDF (981.2 KB)
THE WISCONSIN HORTICULTURIST. captivity will probably do no harm," said Dr. Palmer, in discussing the matter. "We are not prepared to say it will do any harm any way, but we are apprehensive of what may happen in case proper safeguards are not taken. While in the West recently, Secretary Wilson heard that there were no fewer than 50,000 Belgian hares in Los Angeles alone. As they were introduced only a year ago last winter, this is a large increase. We have been informed that several thousand have broken bounds and are at liberty. It is al- most inevitable that sooner or later the animals should break or burrow out, and if a proper check were not applied, they might gain a foothold in this country and rival the pest of Australia." COMMERCIAL VALUE.-Tbe industry was first exploited for its profits, on the ground that there was a market for the meat at 15 to 20 cents a pound, and for the fur for the manufacture of electric seal. But the rapid spread of the industry, and the demand for good breeding animals, soon resulted in making the hares too valuable to kill. The val- ues have increased to the point where they are believed to be largely speculative, as in the case of the Dutch tulip ma- nia, and fine animals are now held to be worth from $500 to $1000 apiece. That the rabbit has a commercial value and utility is not denied by the Department of Agriculture. On the con- trary, Secretary Wilson calls attention to the fact that our felt hats are made from rabbit fur, and that the greater part of this fur is imported from Australia. Some of it comes from Europe, and the smallest part from the wild rabbits of this country. In one year, from July, 1894, to July, 1895, London imported from Australia 52,560,000 skins at a total value of $1,000,000. A third of the London im- portation comes later to New York. It is estimated by one of the leading hatmakers of the East that his industry con- sumes 48,000,000 skins a year, yielding 3,000,000 lbs. of fur, 8
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