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Sapient Fur Trade

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"You'll make a nice fur coat."

People can find hundreds of reasons to kill other people. Most of them are emotional, like hatred and anger, while some, like money, are more pragmatic.

This practice, though, takes pragmatism to a whole new level: people are killed, usually on a race-wide scale, because their dead bodies provide useful raw materials.

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This will be most common and obvious in a fur trade, where the skins of another race of people are bought and sold for material or trophies, but as people tend to be creative beings potential uses are limited only by their imagination.

This will usually not be perpetrated within a race, or people who believe themselves to be the same race. Normally the hunter race will believe for some reason that the hunted race aren't actually people, either from misunderstanding or because it suits them to make artificial distinctions.

On the other hand, if they do know precisely what they're doing, expect either for the two races to be mortal enemies or for the hunter race to be portrayed as morally irredeemable.

A Sub-Trope of Fur and Loathing.

A Super-Trope to Genuine Human Hide.

Compare I'm a Humanitarian (particularly if the raw material people are being killed for is food), Cruella to Animals (being cruel whether or not the animals are sapient), Desecrating the Dead, Organ Theft, Human Resources.

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Contrast Live Mink Coat (an animal is worn, but not harmed).


Examples

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     Anime  
  • The eyes of the Kurta Clan from Hunter × Hunter are highly prized due to their unique scarlet coloring, a fact that has almost lead to the Clan's total genocide.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the bodies of Ghouls can be used to produce numerous valuable products. The Quinque, the primary weapons used by Ghoul Investigators to hunt ghouls, are made from the predatory organ of a slain ghoul. Rendered down bodies can also be used to produce Quinque Steel or an RC solution of unknown purpose. As such, ghouls are hunted not simply because they are considered dangerous beings without any rights, but because their bodies are extremely useful. A prime example of this is in the backstory of the Kirishima siblings — their father was a peaceful scavenger that lived in harmony with his human neighbors. Though known to be harmless, he was targeted and hunted down because he was considered valuable "material". His kagune was used to produce the experimental Arata Armors for the CCG.

     Comic Books  
  • In Spider-Man, Hydro-Man once bought his girlfriend a fur coat that was supposedly made from Tigra's pelt (it was actually fake), implying that the Marvel universe might have a black market for goods made from furry heroes or villains.

     Film  
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe Trandoshans, such as Bossk hunt Wookiees and take their pelts as trophies for a religious ritual. Ironically there's one story where Bossk is taken prisoner and an Imperial governor wants to make him into a lizard-skin jacket for his wife.
  • The Predator franchise has the titular aliens taking human skulls and weapons as trophies. They have rules, a code of conduct (no children, noone unarmed) and in one movie capture humans and place them on a "hunting preserve". A hunting preserve that's an entire planet.
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     Literature  
  • In M.C.A. Hogarth's Earthrise there's one scene where Irene, a Harat-Shariinnote , suggests that maybe surrendering to the pirates chasing them and being sold into slavery isn't such a bad thing. So Reese suggests that maybe they want to make her into a rug instead. That's enough to scare her into changing her mind. Later in Only the Open a liner is attacked by pirates who start killing human passengers and stunning Pelted ones, telepath Jahir confirms that they're furriers before fighting them off.
  • Played With in many ways in Robert Sheckley's short story Hunting Problem. Aliens from a distant world consider it a rite of passage to hunt down and skin a dangerous creature named "Mirash", whom they believe to be naturally cunning but not sentient. It turns out, however, that "Mirash" are actually the occasional human visitors of their planet, and "skinning" them actually only involves taking the fancy space suits they usually arrive in.
  • The Venber of Animorphs can be melted down into an extremely efficient coolant if they're at a temperature above freezing.
  • In The Helmsman Saga, the Leaguers are hunting the Sodeskayan Bears (Soviet expies) for their pelts.
  • Lampshaded in Little Fuzzy.
    • Victor Grego considers a plan to put a high bounty on fuzzies, in order to wipe them out before they can be legally recognized as sapient.
    • At first Jack Holloway thinks that wanting to sell fuzzy furs is Leonard Kellogg's motivation for wanting to find them non-sapient. Only later is Jack reminded that fuzzies being sapient would invalidate the Chartered Zarathustra Company's charter.

     Live Action TV  
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "Phases", Kane is a werewolf hunter who hunts werewolves to sell their pelts on the black market. The fact that his targets are humans for all but three nights a month does not bother him in the slightest.
  • One episode of Grimm has a Wesen who hunts other Wesen for their hides. His latest target is a couple from a rare species who are about to have their first child. He also mentions that a Fuchsbau hide is more valuable than a Blutbad hide.

     Tabletop Games  
  • Myriad Song: In case you didn't think the Myriad worlds exploited Towsers enough, their silicate fur can be made into armor. It has the best soak dice of any armor in the rulebook too, fortunately every major government bans the stuff.
  • Classic Traveller, FASA supplement Action Aboard: Adventures on the King Richard. Commander Garr-Grek Vaerr is a Vargr: a sapient alien genetically engineered from Earth canines. He hates the hunter Hugo Grovet because of rumors that Grovet hunts and kills Vargr for their pelts.

     Video Games  
  • Leather gained from the Skinning skill in World of Warcraft can be obtained from humanoids such as naga and yetis. Dragon scales can only be obtained from dragons and dragonkin, most of which are sentient. Interestingly, many worgen (werewolves) in the game were once skinnable, but this ability was removed once worgen were added as a playable race.
  • In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, the Taymurians are basically wolf-people, and are sometimes hunted by humans for their pelts. This doesn't make them very inclined to end their war against the human kingdoms, but if players do a side-quest to take out some hunters, one of the Taymurian tribes is willing to respond by making peace.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • There exists a black market for Khajiit furs. One of In-Universe Books is titled Confessions of a Khajiit Fur Trader, written by a Khajiit who trades in the fur of his own kind, as well as Argonian hides. The book ends with a declaration that he even intends to one day sell his own pelt for a ridiculous amount of money.
    • Background lore indicates that the Dreugh, an aquatic race of humanoid octopi, were once highly intelligent, able to speak, and capable of using magic. It is said that they even ruled the world (or a previous world that was destroyed and made into the current world) during the earliest era following creation. While their intelligence is said to have devolved over time, they are still considered a sapient species. That doesn't stop hunters (primarily the Dunmer) from killing them for their leathery hides (which can be forged into quality weapons and armor) and wax (a valuable ingredient in alchemy).
    • Likewise, Minotaurs possess enough intelligence to craft rudimentary weapons and armor, and are known to live in social "clan" societies. They may even be Half Human Hybrids (by way of a non-malicious Monster Progenitor) and the second Emperor of the Alessian Empire was Belharza, said to be the first Minotaur and son of St. Alessia (from her Divine Date coupling with Morihaus, the Aedric demi-god "winged man-bull".) However, Minotaurs are still valued by hunters for their horns (which are prestigious hunting prizes and have valuable alchemical properties) as well as Oxblood Fungal Spores (which are used by blacksmiths and are only known to grow on Minotaurs). They are also often captured alive and used as a common opponent in gladiatorial arenas throughout Tamriel.
    • In Skyrim, you can slay fully sentient dragons, rip out their souls to learn the Thu'um, and then turn their bones and scales into armor or weapons. (Or sell them for a hefty profit.)
  • Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal: When Ratchet is fighting the sadist Evil Diva Courtney Gears, one of her battle taunts is saying she'll make a fur coat out of him.

     Webcomics  
  • In Charby the Vampirate the lemuros have almost been wiped out due to the demand for their pelts, many of those buying the pelts are not even aware they come from a sapient human-like species since they are relatively new to Kellwood and those hunting them are through in disposing of the remains they’re not selling so it just looks like a striped magical tail or boa.
  • The author of Last Res0rt has stated that the reason leather is banned on Arael is because back when the native Talmi were a Slave Race they were often, well... Let's just say that one of the exceptions to the ban is recovering ancestral remains.

     Western Animation  
  • In Ōban Star-Racers, Muir's people are crab-like creatures that communicate using telepathic tentacles that are very sought after by other sentient species. Muir's mate was left for dead after someone harvested her tentacles and he hopes to bring her back to life.
  • In one episode of The Itchy & Scratchy Show Itchy (a mouse} skins Scratchy (a cat) and sells his fur to a furrier, who then sells it to a rich woman. Scratchy accosts her, with his bones and muscles on display, and takes his fur back, wrapping it around himself. Then he gets assaulted by anti-fur protesters.
  • A King Features Popeye cartoon "Valley of the Goons" has Popeye saving the inhabitants of Goon Island from poachers out to harvest "goon skins".
  • In Totally Spies! Clover was transformed into a humanoid animal, as well as many hostages, in a villain's plans to dominate the fashion industry by bringing fur scales and feathers back in prominence, purportedly because materials from humanoid bodies would make for a better fit.

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