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14 $1,200 a Pair for Alaskan Foxes Seward, Alaska, November (By Mail). AMONG the secondary industries in Alaska none has been more successful than the breeding of i foxes; and none offers more attractions to the man who prefers a secluded and rather solitary life. Fox fanning. M it is more generally called, is a pleasing subject to write about for an Alaskan correspondent in that it may be considered without inviting accusations of disloyal disparagement of the Territory's resources and opportunities; unless, indeed, a candidly accurate statement of facts, reported with that degree of friendly enthusiasm its pronounced success fully warrants and no more, may be deemed disparaging by those of our Alaska boosters given to the "garden spot of the world'' kind of bunk. And while it's an errant thought, and foreign to the matter in hand, it may do no harm to say that, aside from the ethics involved, unfounded pretenses of resources and opportunities that happen to obtain wide publicity have a "come back." when their untruthfulness is discovered, much more hurtful than no publicity at all. But harking back to the beginning of Alaska fox farming which il about a hf teen year hark, by the way, according to the best available information Jim Carruthers. a hunter and trapper in the Copper River delta country, chanced to come upon a nest of black foxes and. after the expenditure of much tune and ingenuity, caught the mother fox without injuring her seriously and then dug out the baby foxes. While en gaged in this undertaking the idea of domesticating and breeding them for commercial purposes had become fixed in his mind. With an ingenuity which subsequent developments have not greatly improved. Carruthers made a new home for his captives, and despite a num ber of losses, due chiefly to ignorance of dietary re quirements, or rather to over-feeding, he was soon the possessor of a number of foxes fairly well contented with their domestic environment. His entire stock at the end of the second year con sisted of young foxes taken in a wild state; the first born in captivity being a litter of four the third year after the capture of the parents. To secure his original stock he roamed the higher ground equipped with held glasses, and when a fox was discovered, patiently watched, tracked and outwitted his quarry until he had located its den. Then making a camp at a distance far enough removed not to alarm or disturb the fox but close enough to enable him to watch its movements through his glasses, he simply waited until its actions convinced him the stork had come to the fox home. Then more patience and further watching until the time was ripe for removing the young foxes ; this being: indicated by both parents ab senting themselves from the den at tin- same time. This custom of one or the other remaining constantly with the pups until they have acquired sufficient dis cretion to be constantly on the alert against danger is said by experienced breeders to obtain until the second or even third generation under domestication. The dens thus discovered contained from four to six little foxes as a rule, and in time Carruthers had the nucleus of what has later developed into a large breeding establishment. In an incredibly short time, it seemed, fox farming became an established industry in Alaska and. although it is still considered in its infancy, has grown until today it represents an investment, according to fox experts, far above $4,000,000, not counting the establishments operated by the Bureau of Fisheries. There has been considerable criticism bv fox farm- By THOMAS B. DRA YTON irs ot competition by the government; the claim being made that with unlimited credit, no bank loans to make nor interest to pav. with every conceivable facility, ami RO particular incentive to profit by its operations, the Bureau of Fisheries has the private fox producer at a great disadvantage, and. should it wish to do so. could Unload upon tin market at pricei that Would break am private citizen interested in the fox fur business. A disinterested hut entirely friendly observer can sw no merit in these complaints, for the reason that the Bureau sells its furs in the Open market like any other dealer, and every selfish interest of its officers would be furthered by good prices and the incidental proi perity of its private competitors in the fur business, while their oppression or misfortune through its agency would spell disaster to the Bureau inevitably. It is untrue in fact and misleading in effect to allege that fox breeders have been injured in any way by the gov ernment'! Competition, or ever can be so long as the fur supply continues its present shortage in comparison with the demand; a demand immensely increased since the cutting off of the Russian and Siberian supply, and due to be very greatly increased further when the Ger mans get into the buying; our late enemies being proverbially among the world's heaviest buyers and users of tine furs. The increasing cost of woolen goodl will also add still further to the demand for furs. The domestication of the black fox by Carruthers and his successors was quickly followed by other pioneers in the new Alaskan industry, some of whom took up the propagation of blue foxes exclusively, some cross foxes, and still others are successfully breeding all of the more valuable species. While there have been a few failures, the fox breeding industry has scored a smaller percentage of failures than any other business conducted by white men in this Territory. The application of patience, industry and common sense seems to be a pretty certain road t .success in Alaska fox farming. That both the general topography and climate of the country are in his favor would not of themselves account for the Alaska fox farmer's almost invariable success, nor yet that this is the home of fish, porcupines, and other incidents of the fox's regular and natural food, but those circumstances contribute largely to its explanation. The Kenai black fox, whose natural habitat em braces the territory within approximately one hundred miles north and west of where this is written, is the largest and finest fox in the world, but a comparatively rare species. This fox is the patrician of fox society; r at all events his pelt is the supreme expression of fox merit as measured both in beauty and commercial value. The Copper River variety averages a trifle smaller than the Kenai, whose larger size is probably due to the same unknown cause which develops a larger moose, porcupine, and some other animals on Kenai peninsula than are found elsewhere in the world. That refers, of course, to the black fox in his wild state ; the claim, which is probably well founded, be ing made by responsible fox farmers that domestica tion gradually producing both a larger fox and a finer pelt. This is said to be so not only of the true blacks but also of the much more plentiful blue and cros foxes, and likewise of the fox known to fashion as the silver-grey. The last, by the way, is a black fox whose fur is largely tipped with grey. The development of the fox propagating indus auickly witnessed i division of the producers into wh.it may he roughlv termed the fur-breeding class and the Stock breeding class; the latter of whom devote th. effort! exclusively to lupplying breeding stock to farmers not onlj m Alaska, but in the United States Canada, and other countries. 1 he latest authentic prices available at the moment tor Mack breeding animals are based on recent sal. twent) five pain to Japanese parties at $1,200 a p., and another sale oi fifteen pairs for export to NoTWSj at an average price I I $1,000 a pan. A recent authentic report ot sales ot Alaska fox fuf shows an aggreKatr of five thousand pelts of all kinds to have been closed out at a sum just above $1,000,000. Blue and crosi foxes are, of course, proportionately lesi expensive as tiny are proportionately more plenti ful than blacks and silver-greys, and this applies both to pelts and live stock. Experimenti in the domestication of the Arctic, white fox. and the red fox are just beginning, but seemingly promise no difficulties other than those pi taming to all other species. Both red and white foxes are very numerous, fetch comparatively small prices, and are in no way t.. I compared with any of the others mentioned. Thos tor sale in the world's markets, from Alaska at lea were taken in the wild state bv trappers. People in the fox business claim that vast numbers of these inferior pelts are dyed and otherwise manipulated by manu facturers and palmed off on ignorant buyers at mai: times their actual value . In the early stages of the fox breeding industry the advantages of small islands soon appeared, and in tin course of time most oi the larger plants became estah lished on islands leased for the purpose from the 1 ) partment f Commerce, which lets them on com petitive bidding at a minimum annual rental of 200 each. The chief advantages of islands are that if a fox escapes from his corral or pen he can be mop easily tracked and recaptured than on the mainland, and the greater consideration that the foxes can be shielded from the fear of dogs, alarming noises and even more alarming odors. Foxes in captivity must be guarded from all excitement especially during the voting babyhood of the pups. An excited mother fox is apt t destroy in her panic a lari:e potential value in furs. Islands are especially desired as homes for black and cross fox farms in sections where the wild blue fox is common for tin reason that the latter is extremel. hostile to the former and pretty certain to dcStrO) them if opportunity occurs, and he is a great op1 il tunity maker. Now that fox farming in Alaska is on a firm found. t tion ; that the experimental stage is in the past: that most of the problems of breeding, culture and prepare tion for the market have been solved; that the Alaska fox fur is larger and better than that produced els where, and is more in demand and brings higher price that with the increase- of wealth and culture throughout the world there will be a corresponding increase in On demand for furs, making it practically impossible f the production of good fur to ever reach the point diminishing returns; these things point to fox farming as the source of assured fortune for those engaged in it in Alaska, and of our secondary industries possibl) the most promising to the man of a little means and adequate COttrage who is dreaming of a new home and a new occupation in a new land. Alaska will warmly welcome the prospective fox farmer. The Business Exits Which Industrial Trouble Closed HERE is a part of one of the commercial exits of the United States the docks in New York harbor. The foreground shows only ten of these great covered piers, but across the river a wider view is permitted and there the piers jut out along the shore for miles, like deep notches and cogs. They seem re motely related to the ob server, but in reality they are important in the life of every industrial work er in tin United States, for it is across these piers that the products of our factories arc loaded for delivery abroad. They are the outlets of our ex port trade. They are the gates of egress. Close them or clog them and the stream of production flows back upon itself and industry stagnates. These docks have been challenging public atten tion of late because the longshoremen have been on strike. The effect has not been felt so keenly on our industry, because our domestic demand for all that we can produce is so great that the stoppage of ocean commerce does not embarrass us just now. Our business can keep moving without foreign trade. But it has proved a serious embarrassment to those abroad who are depending on our goods. The tirst to be heard from were Cuba and Porto Rico who depend upon us for daily deliveries of various kinds of BPS l M Wm M K psHBjpmj gflj Lml n r.afl PHL taBflgfll IbjH Url H U Li iTratiK JiPPW blb vR"mj kM feim goods. Countries farther away were also affected, and the fact that they were depending on us for assistant in repairing the ravages of war made the situatioi doubly regrettable. And all this dislocati was the result of the n fusal of a comparative few men few. that is. comparison with the bulk of the working pofHllati to unload goods from railroad i .it s ai d 1' a them aboard ships. It meant also that a numb of ships were unable t" sail because they could not get bunker coal, much oi which is also handled 1 longshoremen. This ami other labor difficulties have taught us that we are all so closely interknit th.it ;ne group's refusal to bear its part results in another group's distress and loss That is the soviet idea governnn nt by groups. Hut a wider, higher ideal than that w ill be nei isai to keep American nasalities in American life, and that is an ideal of the good of th whole - all working for the good of each, and each for the good of all. The day will probably come when it will be re garded as inhumane and criminal to use any form of human distress as a lever by which to force i I.tss aaitic (C) Prm III. s.rvic.