04-05-2020, 09:13 AM
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One thing I’ve always found strange about shaving brushes is the lack of transparency in how the knots are sourced. I get not wanting to draw attention to your suppliers or anything proprietary, but in comparison to other supply chains, like food, there is little information.

Most knots are sourced from China. I’ve seen vague posts about how the hair is harvested (or manufactured for synthetics), but nothing specific from a vendor about how their suppliers do it. After reading about how the wildlife trade in wet markets likely led to the transmission of SARS-COV-2 (coronavirus), it made me wonder if badgers or boars pass through these markets.

I suppose it’s not really fair to speculate. My point in raising this is that I would personally pay more for a product if I knew that it was sourced safely and ethically. I think the same point applies to synthetic brushes. It would be good to know I’m not supporting poor factory conditions. For those people who don’t care about this, no worries. I’m just suggesting another option in the market. Let me know if this appeals to any of you.

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 04-05-2020, 09:58 AM
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This may interest you... An email from one of the Mueller (Muehle) brothers...

Quote:Content of email received from Mr Mueller.

"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 traveled 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 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?

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 I thought. It cannot be said that the badgers are mainly hunted for the meat, as the hair is more valuable, 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"

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 04-05-2020, 10:04 AM
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@Rohleder — thank you for sharing. That is very informative. Kudos to Muhle for this.

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 04-05-2020, 10:11 AM
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Nice of Mr. Mueller.  But we know China lies and I subscribed to a youtube channel of a south african who moved to China around 5-10 years ago.  His experience is that Chinese business people will tell you whatever you need to hear to sell you their product today.  Even if it means selling you poor quality material that will prevent future sales.

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 04-05-2020, 12:33 PM
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I've always been perplexed about the mystery and conflicting accounts of how badger hair is harvested in China.  I don't who or what to believe.  For many users of badger brushes, it's not important.  To those to whom it is important, getting reliable information seems impossible.

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 04-05-2020, 12:41 PM
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Let’s not go there— I’d rather focus on the constructive aspect of this.

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 04-05-2020, 12:43 PM
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Sorry, quoting is not working on my mobile device. I agree with you, Ricardo. It’s not a dealbreaker for me. It would just be nice to know— more of a preference.

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