Information on how badger hair is obtained

Discussion in 'The Brush' started by Must Dash, Aug 29, 2008.

  1. Must Dash

    Must Dash New Member

    Some of you may have seen a thread on Badger & Blade that started with the posting of a video of an animal (which turned out to be a raccoon dog) being skinned alive in China. As a result, several of us were prompted to try to obtain information from shaving brush manufacturers and retailers on how hair from badgers is obtained.

    A few people, such as Bernd Bloss of Shavemac, expressed genuine concern about the way badger hair is obtained. However, in general, the responses - and in particular from the British companies - showed considerable ignorance, indifference or both. Of all the responses, the one stand out was Mr Christian Mueller, Managing Director of Muhle Pinsel in Germany. From what I understand, his company also supplies Edwin Jagger which, in turn, supplies Crabtree & Evelyn.

    Mr Mueller entered into lengthy correspondence with me and showed considerable compassion and professionalism. He travelled to China for business recently and promised to send me details of the information that he obtained. His email is reproduced below.



    Content of email received from Mr Mueller 27 August 2008

    I was promising to get back to you with details about my trip. I apologize that this took longer than I initially planned.

    As mentioned, before I travelled China to source raw materials for our products and also visited some fur trader as well as hair dressing companies throughout the country. In prior I prepared a list of question that I sent out before my departure. Here is what I have been informed as well as found out myself. I have faced them with the video and stated that we cannot tolerate such practices at all. It is understandable that I cannot trace the line all the way back to the individual hunters but I did make clear that the responsibility is also on the traders who should pass on the information to the individuals. I stated that our main concern is the way they are being killed and that that this needs to be carried out as humanely as possible.

    1. Are the animals taking from the wild or are they farm raised?

    The animals are generally taking from the wild. Hunters can apply for a license to hunt a certain number of badgers. I have been told that there is a close season to guarantee the survival of the population. Badgers can not be farm raised due to their wild nature.

    2. From which regions do the animals come from?

    Northern regions of China such as Shaanxi, Gansu, Tsinghai, Sinkiang, Inner Mongolia. Badgers dwell in hilly, densely wooded regions.

    3. Which species are hunted or raised?

    Arctonyx collaris (hog badger) - and Meles Meles (Eurasian badger)

    4. Nature of the hunt, traps, dogs, lamping, gassing?

    Mostly gassing which is most efficient method of the hunt. They are gassed in the sett, mostly with the aid of a tube connecting to the animal sett. This practice is performed in Europe too to control the population and supposed to be the most effective and least painful to the animals.

    5. time of the hunt (are there close seasons and will they maintained)?

    The hunting season starts in September all the way though January. The close season starts in February through to the fall

    6. is a overpopulation classified as pest in China and considered a threat to crop and livestock?

    It is considered as vermin. The population has always been controlled as it can spread rabies and bovine tuberculosis

    7. is the population monitored by the government?

    The population is monitored by the chinese federal nature agency as well as by the IUCN.

    8. is the meat / fat of the animal commercially used as well?

    This is one fact that I was always hesitating to believe. The meat, especially in the northern regions of the country, is a source of food. The consumption of the meat is more widespread than thought. It cannot be said that the badgers are mainly hunted for the meat, as the hair is more valuably, however meat and fat is a important by product of the trade. The fat is used in the Chinese medicine as a rheumatism treatment.

    I will travel to China again in October and hope to find out more information on the subject. I am glad we were able to make the suppliers aware of the fact that people in Europe and elsewhere are concerned about the way the hair is gained.

    Best regards,

    Christian Mueller
  2. Michael

    Michael Duke of Kent

    Thank you very much, Jeremy, for that enlightening post. Very interesting and informative. Please let us know if you hear any follow-ups.

    And of course, welcome to TSD.
  3. Padron

    Padron Active Member

    Welcome to The Shave Den Jeremy! :D

    Glad to hear they eat them and use them for medicinal purposes. Kind of surprised that they are not farmed, especially with the other uses noted.
  4. sparky5693

    sparky5693 Administrator Staff Member

    Excellent information. Thanks for sharing, if you hear any more, please let us know.
  5. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member

    Thank you for taking the time to contact the companies and for giving us the response from Mr. Mueller. It's valueable information.
  6. Gillette_Man

    Gillette_Man New Member

    Great bit of info here, except this part makes me feel like I'm shaving with rat hair. :sick007

  7. soapbuddy

    soapbuddy Mistress of Lather

    Thank you. Interesting information!
  8. mastermute

    mastermute FatBoy

    Interesting. Thank you for sharing!
  9. moviemaniac

    moviemaniac Tool Time

    A brilliant introduction of yourself1 Thanks very much and welcome to The Shave Den!
  10. ChargerFan

    ChargerFan New Member

    Yeah, I turned on that video,and could not even finish it. It did make me sick to my stomach. There can't really be a reason other than entertainment or torture to do that. I mean badgers are mean, and I'm sure the hair or skin is alot easier to remover if they're not trying to take a bite out of you.

    Thanks for the info.
  11. rodd

    rodd Knotty Boy

    I am so glad to see you here. Thank you for sharing the information, and for your persistence.
  12. Must Dash

    Must Dash New Member

    Just a quick thanks for all the kind words and the warm welcome. (Good to see you over here too Rodd.)

    I'm going to be fairly quiet for the next few weeks - work is piling up on a scary scale - but I hope to join the forums more regularly once I get these projects out of the way.


  13. Bronco

    Bronco Mac Daddy

    Welcome to The Shave Den Jeremy and thank you for sharing the information.
  14. Must Dash

    Must Dash New Member

    I spent over an hour on the telephone yesterday evening with Neil Jagger of Edwin Jagger. Firstly, I need to make a correction to my earlier post - and a small apology. Although I was aware that the two companies, Muhle and Edwin Jagger, work together, I was not aware of how close the relationship is between them. Nor was I aware of the extent to which Neil Jagger has been involved with Christian Mueller in seeking information about the way in which badger hair is sourced and in selecting their joint suppliers.

    I would like to make a couple of observations. A five minute conversation is sufficient time for any company to provide a quick spin on the facts, tell me what they think I would like to hear and add a layer of gloss. An hour long, far-ranging, discussion is a very different matter. Neil Jagger very clearly has considerable knowledge about the way that his industry operates. It is equally clear that he cares deeply not just about the standard of products that his company manufactures but also about the way in which his company participates in the industry. He is willing to be open and transparent about what he knows about the manner in which badgers are caught and killed and what questions are still unanswered. By the end of the conversation we had both learned more about the value of communication and dialogue and I put down the phone impressed with his integrity. Again, I feel compelled to contrast this with other shaving brush manufacturers who were repeatedly asked to provide meaningful information and repeatedly failed to do so.

    Neil Jagger also informed me that he and Christian Mueller have undertaken to provide a much more detailed statement around the end of October. Having received answers to their questions, they are now seeking to verify those answers through other parties and through corroborating information. With this comes the caveat that not everything can be ascertained and, as Christian Mueller noted in his earlier response, it is not possible to trace the line back to individual hunters.

    Again, for those of you who may have doubts, I want to make it clear that my involvement with the shaving industry is only as a consumer. However, as a consumer, I care a lot about who I buy from. The fact that Mr Mueller and Mr Jagger are doing so much to lead the charge, to me at least, says a great deal about them and the nature of the companies that they run.

    I also believe that this reinforces the increased role that technology enables us to have as consumers. Forums such as this one, and the open discussions that take place on sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter etc. make it much harder for companies to keep secrets, and problems, from their customers. The smarter ones understand this and have learned the value of being open and honest in their communication. Other companies have yet to catch on. (Steps down from soapbox.)


  15. iron maiden

    iron maiden New Member

    Welcome to TSD Jeremy.

    I remember the video very well...don't care to watch it again. I'm glad you were able to find the answers to your questions.
    I know that the video bothered you, and I want to thank you personally for finding out this information.
  16. Single Wedge

    Single Wedge New Member

    Thanks for the information. I am glad that they are being used for more than hair.
  17. soapbuddy

    soapbuddy Mistress of Lather

    Thank you Jeremy.
  18. -PO-

    -PO- New Member

    Thanks for the information J, I really appreciate the time and effort you put into finding out the info to pass it on
  19. Reformation Student

    Reformation Student New Member


    You're doing a great service to the shaving community!

    I'm very impressed with the honesty and openness you've received from Mr. Mueller and Mr. Jagger. I'll keep both companies on the short list when getting ready to make my next brush purchase.
  20. JayKay

    JayKay 3000 posts and all I got was this lousy title

    I was banned from B&B over my feels on the badger situation. The entire post was started out of ignorance. It eventually lead to a full out brawl. To be 11111100000000% honest, I dont give a rats behind how my badger hair is contained. I'll trap one and chop its head off my self if need be. I enjoy my badger brushes and how the hair was obtained truely isnt of importance to me. I could think of better things to worry about (global warming? nah, save badgers). People are making a huge stink about where their badger brushes are coming from but seem to be missing the major point of everything. You wont stop eating meat but you'll stop using a badger brush? How about your leather couch? leather car seats? steak your eating for dinner? cologne? or any other animal derived product in your life. I say go vegan, or go home.

    I'll just go home. I was looking forward to grilling some burgers anyway.

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