Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

PARAGRAPH 438-FEATHER MILLINERY.

ordained; nevertheless, importations of fancy feathers classified as manufactured feathers, during the third quarter of 1910, totaled $822,294, at a duty of 60 per cent, as compared with the total importations of this class of goods for the entire year 1905 of $138,621, at a duty of 50 per cent. In spite of the fact, that the demand for artificial flowers for some years past has not been of much consequence, we find that during 1911 the imports reached nearly $3,000,000 worth, at 60 per cent duty, while under a duty of 50 per cent the importations of flowers did not reach the $2,500,000 mark during 1903, 1904, or 1905.

Therefore, it is absolutely beyond dispute that the amount of duty does not regulate the amount of importations. The importers admitted this at a previous hearing before the Ways and Means Committee through their representative, who stated on their oath at that time “You can put 10 per cent more duty on, 20 per cent duty, 40 per cent, and even 100 per cent, and I do not believe you will prevent the importation of a single flower." If, therefore, the amount of duty does not prevent importations why not fix that duty in the manner that will enable the domestic manufacturer to compete with the imported article and, at the same time, largely increase the revenues of the Government?

The foreign manufacturers of flowers and feathers are mostly located in Saxony, Bohemia, Berlin, and Paris. Most all the foreign goods are homemade, that is, the principal work is done by the wives and children of the farmers of the mountain districts of Saxony at an extraordinarily low price; in Paris and Berlin also most of the work is given outside and this labor is secured very cheaply and the rental and other expenses are reduced to a minimum on that account. In addition to this, the American importer places large orders abroad at very low prices at a time when the European makers have but little or nothing to do and thus the foreign maker is able to maintain a large organization during his dull season, which organization is at his command, when the demand of the Continent and his home market begins, on which he makes a good profit. The flower and feather workers in Europe have been trained for many generations and unquestionably possess the highest degree of perfection in the art.

The American manufacturer largely depends for his support on the profit that he might make by supplying the immediate demands of certain periods when certain articles are wanted, which can not be imported quickly enough for the domestic

The American manufacturer also has created a class of merchandise in both flowers and feathers, which to a certain extent compete with imported goods and were it not for the fact that most importers, large retailers, and fashionable shops have to cater exclusively to the ultra fashionable, who will buy nothing but the imported article, regardless of price or beauty, simply to satisfy the silly craze to wear only “The imported," domestic products would have a fairer chance of competing.

There are about 175 domestic manufacturers, producing about $2,500,000 worth of flowers and fancy feathers (this is exclusive of ostrich, paradise, and aigrette manufacturers). The salaries paid here are about four times as much as for the same class of work in Europe. The hours of labor much shorter and, with the new laws now being passed regulating factories and prohibiting home work, the domestic manufacturer can not compete with the foreign makers on an equal basis under the present duty. We must also consider that the raw materials used, particularly by the domestic dower manufacturers, pay an average duty of 50 per cent and that labor constitutes more than 50 per cent of the cost of production, while rents and other fixed charges are much higher here than abroad.

The importations of crude feathers consists mainly of ostrich, paradise, and aigrettes. We recommend that these be placed under a higher duty so as to produce a larger revenue to the Government and that all other crude feathers, which the domestic manufacturer needs as his raw materials for the making of popular-priced fancy feathers, be either free or at a duty of not more than 10 per cent.

Manufactured feathers and flowers are imported to the extent of about four to five million dollars foreign cost each year. The domestic manufacturers, therefore, produce at the present time about 25 per cent of the flowers and fancy feathers sold in this country. An increased duty on imported manufactured flowers and fancy feathers would undoubtedly produce a larger revenue and at the same time enable the domestic manufacturer to compete with the foreign products.

Competition among the domestic manufacturers is so keen that the domestic product is sold at extremely low prices, regardless of what the tariff is. This class of goods can never be controlled by trusts or combinations, as anyone with very small capital and some knowledge of the business can become a competitor. It is also a fact that no domestic manufacturer has been able, no matter how competent and how long in

consumer.

PARAGRAPH 438_FEATHER MILLINERY.

business, to accumulate what may be considered a fair compensation for his enterprise and labor.

Bearing in mind the differentiation between cost of materials, labor, rents, etc., a duty of 60 per cent only partly equalizes the cost of manufacture here with 'abroad. Were we to endeavor to fix a perfect equalization, it appears that a duty of not less than 80 per cent would be necessary.

We also beg to call your attention to the fact that the tariff on this class of goods in most European countries in some instances is higher than here.

In conclusion it may be stated:

First. Whether the tariff is high or low, importations, being subject to the demands of fashion, are not regulated by the amount of the tariff.

Second. An increase of duty on the imported article will not increase the cost of the domestic product to the consumer.

Third. Higher duty on the imported product will enable the domestic manufacturers to better compete and develop the domestic industry and at the same time produce a larger revenue for the Government. Respectfully submitted.

ASSOCIATED FLOWER & FANCY FEATHER

MANUFACTURERS OF AMERICA.

BRIEF OF GEORGE W. FIELD, CHAIRMAN COMMISSION OF

FISHERIES AND GAME, BOSTON, MASS.

In view of the difficulty experienced by the board of inland fisheries and game during the past eight years in enforcing the Massachusetts plumage laws, I urgently recommend the amendment of paragraph 438 of the tariff act relating to feathers and down, so as to prohibit the importation of plumage of wild birds, by the insertion of a provision, so that the paragraph will read as follows:

Amend Schedule N, section 438, to read as follows:

"Feathers and downs of all kinds, including bird skins, or parts thereof, with the feathers on, crude or not dressed, colored, or otherwise advanced or manufactured in any manner, not specially provided for in this section, 20 per centum ad valorem. When dressed, colored, or otherwise advanced or manufactured in any manner, including quilts of down and other manufactures of down, and also dressed and finished birds suitable for millinery ornaments, and artificial or ornamental feathers, fruits, grains, leaves, flowers, and stems, or parts thereof, of whatever material composed, not specially provided for in this section, 60 per centum ad valorem: Provided, That the importation of plumage of wild birds, crude or manufactured, is hereby prohibited except for scientific purposes.

I urge this particularly in view of the fact that during the past six years we have been obliged to prosecute upward of 75 prominent milliners for the sale of plumage of native birds. Their chief argument in justification was the fact that it was difficult for them to distinguish between the native plumage and the imported, and, further, that inasmuch as the National Government had taken duties on these feathers they were therefore justified in offering them for sale. The traffic in birds' feathers has reached enormous proportions and threatens the extermination of species of exceedingly great economic importance.

We can point to many instances where wild birds hatched in Massachusetts have been killed in enormous quantities, their feathers shipped to London and Paris, there manufactured, and returned to the United States and sold.

In our searches of the millinery establishments in Massachusetts in the enforcement of the plumage law during the past eight years we have found thousands of gulls, terns, swallows, bluebirds, and other useful birds which have been killed in the United States and returned from London and Paris and duty paid at the ports of New York and Boston. I have personally seen the bird hunters at work killing, "scalping,” removing the wings or entire plumage of these birds along the whole coast from Massachusetts to the Everglades of Florida, and can personally testify to the barbarity, the economic destruction, and the extent of this practice, and to the enormous economic damage which results to the country at large from this practice. The loss of revenue to the Government is inconsequential when compared to the economic loss to the country at large in the destruction of useful birds.

GEORGE W. FIELD, 78959°– VOL 5--13- 43

PARAGRAPH 438_FEATHER MILLINERY.

GEORGE BIRD GRINNELL, NEW YORK, N. Y., WRITES REGARD

ING FEATHERS, DOWNS, ETC.

238 East FIFTEENTH STREET,

New York, February 6, 1913. Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD, Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. SIR: I venture to call the attention of your committee to a point in section 438, Schedule N, of the tariff revision, which is of great importance to the country at large, though its whole bearing is not clearly understood by all our people. This section, which has to do with the rate of duty on feathers, downs, and dressed and finished birds' skins, ought so to be amended as to prohibit the importation of the plumage of American birds, or of plumage which can not be distinguished from that of American birds, including aigrettes-the breeding plumes of certain herons and egrets.

It is now coming to be generally understood that practically all birds are of the greatest economic value, because they feed on various forms of animal life, which forms, in turn, feed on and destroy the products raised by the farmer. Without the help of the birds, which keep down these harmful insects and mammals, agriculture would be impossible. Birds constitute a tremendous force, working all through the year, to destroy noxious insects, their young, and eggs; and noxious mammals—the field mice, moles, and squirrels of different sorts. The smaller birds live to a very great extent on injurious insects, and some of them besides devour vast quantities of the seeds of the noxious weeds that the farmer has to fight against all through the growing season. Most of the hawks, owls, and herons destroy great numbers of field mice, meadow mice, and other small rodents which injure growing plants and consume grain and other vegetation. In certain portions of the South some of the herons destroy great numbers of crayfish, often a serious pest to the farmer, while all the emaller herons feed very largely on grasshoppers, cutworms, and other insects.

For the assistance of these feathered helpers the farmer of course renders no equivalent, yet were it not for the destruction which these birds cause among harmful creatures he could not raise his crops.

The Bureau of Biological Survey, which has given much time and effort to the study of the food of birds and mammals, has published much useful information on this subject.

Within the past generation or two a number of species of North American birds have become extinct, and still others are today apparently on the verge of extinction. When any wild creature yields a product which is commercially valuable, it is not possible for it long to survive without protection from man's attacks.

Years ago it became a fashion for women to wear feathers on their hats, and so a profit was found in killing wild birds in order that their skins and feathers might be sold for this use. A result of this was that in the Southern States, where from time immemorial many wading birds of beautiful plumage had bred in great colonies, the plume hunters resorted to these colonies in the breeding season and killed by wholesale the birds, then in their most splendid nuptial plumage, thus destroying by starvation the newly hatched young and leaving the unhatched eggs without a parent to warm them. In this way certain species, as the flamingo, the scarlet ibis, and the roseate spoon-bill, have been totally exterminated, while some of the herons, which bear the long plumes known commercially as aigrettes, have been almost wiped out of existence. Egrets and white herons once were scattered all over the South, as far north as New Jersey and the Ohio River, but to-day there are known only a few small colonies in the Southern States, and these exist only because they are guarded by wardens paid by certain bird protective societies.

That the total destruction of a colony of such birds is extremely cruel is perhaps not a matter of special concern. That these birds are approaching extinction, as some other species, notably the passenger pigeon, have become extinct, is more interesting; but it is the plain duty of Congress to take congizance of the fact that birds which constitute an important factor in the agriculture of the South are threatened with absolute extermination.

Certain of the States of the Union, which have come to recognize the great economic value of the birds to agriculture, have prohibited the trade in the plumage of native birds. Such States are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Ohio, Louisiana, Missouri, California, Oregon, and some others. By their legislation these States are endeavoring to further the interests of the farmers within their borders, and so of their

PARAGRAPH 438_FEATHER MILLINERY.

whole population, which in the last analysis depends on the farmer. The United States has also prohibited interstate commerce in plumage forwarded in violation of local laws. It would seem, therefore, that the Federal Government should not permit the importation of articles, the use of which is forbidden in certain of the States.

Small herons, similar in general appearance to the North American species which have been almost exterminated, exist in many parts of the world. Such species are not to be distinguished from those of North America, except by the eye of the skilled ofnithologist. If such species are permitted by Federal law to be imported, this will give encouragement to the further destruction of our own most useful herons, and will be an encouragement to persons trading in bird plumage to deal in native species, the buying and selling of which is in many places prohibited by local laws.

for these reasons I urge that the section above referred to be so amended as to probibit the importation of the plumage of American birds or of birds whose plumage is indistinguishable from that of American birds. Yours, respectfully,

GEO. BIRD GRINNELL.

AIGRETTES AND FEATHERS OF WILD BIRDS.

[ocr errors]

HUNTINGTON, N. Y., February 19, 1913. Hon. OSCAR W. UNDERWOOD,

Chairman Ways and Means Committee. DEAR SIR: I herewith inclose petition which if brought before your committee will be appreciated. Yours, truly,

DOUGLASS CONKLIN.

Hon. Oscar W. UNDERWOOD,
Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. We, the undersigned, desire to appeal to your committee that you recommend to Congress the removal of aigrettes and the feathers of other wild birds from the list of materials the importation of which is at the present time legalized. As we understand it, aigrettes are now contraband in the States of New York, New Jersey, Louisiana, Missouri, Oregon, and California. We beleieve that the Government should prohibit the importation of those birds' feathers which are contraband, as it now prohibits the importation of opium. We hope that the committee of which you are the chairman will use your influence in this direction.

CORNELIA PRIME,
Life Member Audubon Society

(And 13 others).

PONTIAC, MICH., January 22, 1913. Hon. OSCAR UNDERWOOD,

Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee of the House of Representatives. DBAR SIR: We, the undersigned, earnestly urge and request that you and the members of your committee will favor the "McLean bill for Federal protection of migratory birds,” and also the appeal of the National Audubon Association of Societies, as advocated in “Schedule N of the tariff law."

HERBERT H. H. Fox

(And 133 others).

[ocr errors]

UTICA, N. Y., January 21, 1913. Hon. SERENO E. PAYNE,

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR SIR: We understand that the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives will very soon give a hearing on Schedule N of the tariff baw, which deals with the importation of plumage of wild birds, including airgrettes.

Wild birds are of the greatest value in every country because of the vast number of insects and seeds of weeds destroyed by them. As you probably know, the aigrettes are obtained from the white heron during the nesting season, and are torn from the parent bird while tho young are left to starve in the nest.

PARAGRAPH 438_FEATHER MILLINERY.

As long as the importation of airgrettes and feathers of wild birds is legalized, just 80 long the birds of our own land will be killed and their plumage sold as "foreign.' We therefore urge you as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, to recommend to Congress that the plumage of wild birds, including airgrettes, be removed from the list of materials which at the present time may legally be imported. Yours, respectfully,

ELIZABETH CHRISTIAN

(And 70 others).

BRIEF OF HENRY OLDYS, SILVER SPRING, MD., ON THE IMPOR

TATION OF BIRD PLUMAGE, ETC.

SILVER SPRING, MD., January 28, 1913. Hon. O. W. UNDERWOOD, Chairman of Committee on Ways and Means,

United States House of Representatives. DEAR SIR: Kindly permit me the privilege of filing the accompanying brief on the desirability of amending Schedule N, paragraph 438, of the present tariff law, so as to prohibit importation of bird plumage for millinery purposes, excepting ostrich plumes and the feathers of domesticated fowls.

Lack of time and facilities must be my excuse for not presenting this brief in more suitable shape. Very truly, yours,

HENRY OLDYS.

REASONS WHY SCHEDULE N SHOULD BE AMENDED SO AS TO PROHIBIT IMPORTATION

OF WILD BIRDS' PLUMAGE.

(NOTE.—See similar prohibition in the case of eggs of game birds in the present tariff act.) (1) In 10 years, at the present rate of slaughter, a dozen of the world's most beautiful species of birds will be extinct. Many more will be rapidly approaching extinction.

(2) This slaughter can be stopped only by closing the markets. (3) London, Paris, Berlin, and New York are the world's great markets for bird plumage.

(4) England and Germany are trying to close their ports to bird plumage.

(5) Equally attractive hat trimming will be substituted and will satisfy women and milliners. (This will have to be done soon, in any event; the bill anticipates the change and saves the birds.)

Manufacture of artificial feathers in the United States will be stimulated.

Every nation is interested in preserving beautiful and interesting things to the world. (See amplification appended hereto.)

HENRY OLDYS,

Silver Spring, Md. (1) In 10 years, if slaughter be unchecked, a dozen of the world's most beautiful birds will be extinct. Many more will be approaching extinction.

Remarks.- Naturally, the most beautiful birds are the ones sought for millinery purposes.

Egret: The bird which furnishes the fashionable aigrette has been practically exterminated in the United States and China, in both of which countries it was once very abundant. In Venezuela the export has been reduced from 1,500,000 in 1898 to 250,000 in 1908-a reduction of more than 83 per cent in 10 years.

Birds of Paradise: A number of different species of these beautiful birds are nearly extinct.

The long-plumaged birds of paradise, found only on the island of Jobi, were once numerous; but in 1906, despite active search by natives, only 70 skins were shipped from the island.

The red bird of paradise of the island of Waigion has become rare and will probably soon be extinct.

Each year every full-plumaged male of the great bird of paradise, found only in the Ayru Islands, is killed and the species is rapidly nearing extinction.

« AnteriorContinuar »