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Old 02 October 2013, 09:45 PM
A Turtle Named Mack's Avatar
A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Beaver Beaver Butts Emit Goo Used for Vanilla Flavoring

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/castoreum.asp
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Old 05 February 2015, 12:59 AM
sparrowgrass sparrowgrass is offline
 
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This is an old thread, I know, but it is hilarious.

Just to ruin everyone's pictures of squeezing beaver butts, that isn't the way castoreum is harvested. The glands are cut out of beavers that have been trapped for skins. The same guy who buys the skins buys the castoreum.

It is mostly used in perfumes--the same way that spermaceti is used in perfumes. Spermaceti is waxy stuff out of a whale's belly, and apparently makes perfumes smell better, the same way castoreum does.

It is same way fish sauce works, I guess.
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Old 05 February 2015, 01:31 AM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Sparrowgrass, the way you describe would have made a lot of sense when there was substantial beaver trapping or hunting. But in many areas they are protected and in general i do not think the market for beaver pelts is big enough to also provide sufficient castoreum. I really don't know what the market is for either of them, but from the discussions, it sounds like there is still a substantial market for the castoreum, but I am not aware of much market for the pelts.
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Old 05 February 2015, 02:09 AM
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Errata Errata is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by A Turtle Named Mack View Post
Sparrowgrass, the way you describe would have made a lot of sense when there was substantial beaver trapping or hunting.
There still is a quite substantial North American beaver trapping industry. Thousands of professional trappers catching hundreds of thousands of beavers per year. As long as it doesn't exceed a certain threshold percentage of the population then the overall populations number can remain steady.

They don't need huge vats of this stuff. It may be used in various products, but it's not the most common vanilla flavoring by a long shot.

No idea who is still buying all that fur these days, now that so many people are against it. I think it's a pretty big export industry, so perhaps they're buying it in countries that don't have the same dislike of real fur.
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Old 05 February 2015, 06:05 PM
sparrowgrass sparrowgrass is offline
 
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Beavers are fur bearers and are protected under those game laws, but in most places beavers are doing quite well and are not threatened or endangered. They can be so populous that they are pests--ask suburban home owners who lose valuable landscaping trees to beavers, or farmers who end up with flooded fields. They dam up culverts and cause damage to roads.

I knew lots of trappers when I was in exile on the tundra (Ely, Minnesota) and know some here in Missouri.

Trappers came close to wiping out beavers during the beaver hat craze, but they have recovered quite nicely in the hundred plus years since then.

The 'milking' of beavers is a pretty ludicrous thought--they have wicked big teeth, and they don't hesitate to bite.
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