It began back in 1975, the brainchild of then President of Empress, Bud Bowen. He was appalled by the in-fighting and dirty deeds of the pelt brokers and animal promoters of that era. His idea was to bring them together with other sectors of the industry: dressers, magazine editors, representatives of the different breeder organizations, etc., once or twice a year to iron out their differences and work together towards a common goal the betterment of the industry.
At the first historic meeting, held in New York, the attendees were: Bud Bowen (Empress), Bill Poley (Canchilla), Edgar Hykes, (Princeton), M.E. Caraway (M.C.B.A.), Ralph Kohr (UCA), Jay Thompson (Empress Action Committee), Fawnetta Pike (CFCA), Bill Capobianco (Catskill Chinchillas), Bill & Maria Parker (CSS), Tom Black (CSS), Bob Harrowe (Fur Age Weekly), Helen Oliver (Chinchatter), Stan Lipson (M. Lipson & Co.), Steve Frye (Diamond Alaska), Warner Katz (Katz Pelts), Victor Brucker (prominent chinchilla breeder).
Bill Poley was elected Chairman. All members agreed to finance themselves and meet every six months. The original name was: North American Chinchilla Advisory Council. As membership increased globally, from Canada, Tom Riedstra (NCBC), Mexico: Patricia Perrin Sullivan (AMCCH), Argentina: Angel Orsi (CACACHI), Hector Aleandri (AACCH), Brazil: Carlos Luis Perez (ABCCH), Chile: Guillermo Holzer (ICH) the name was changed to its present one. It is interesting to note that membership is not automatic but is by invitation from the existing members. There are currently eleven members on the C.I.C.
The Chairmanship has been
1. William Poley 1975 -1984.
2. Lloyd Sullivan 1984 - 1990.
3. Tom Riestra 1991 - 1993.
4. Patricia Perrin Sullivan 1993 - 1999.
5. Guillermo Holzer 1999 - 2008.
6- Carlos Perez 2008
During the eighties much was accomplished, especially the promotion of chinchilla at international fur fairs; sales of pelts, which had been in the doldrums for so many years, started taking off. The bad reputation chinchilla dressing had acquired was combated and reversed. Chinchilla became a prestigious item, sought after by the leading manufacturers and top designers worldwide. Prices soared.
During the same decade, the C.I.C. was instrumental in getting the North American bred chinchilla removed from its very restrictive labeling as an endangered species on the CITES Appendices. It also fomented the Ranch Certification programme which is in effect in all the member nations.
The C.I.C. has gone on record as unanimously condemning the practice of selling chinchilla as pets. It was felt that this has drawn unfavorable attention to the pelting industry by the animal rightists and could possible in the future cause the outlawing of chinchilla pelting, as has already occurred in the U.K.
The C.I.C. in effect, financed the landmark investigation back in 1983-1984 on the use of Ralgro which has revolutionized our pelting industry and without which, the author of this history could not operate.
For funding its many projects, the C.I.C. depends entirely on donations and from the retains that pelt brokers collect from the ranchers. We are hoping to instigate this method of retains also from ranchers who sell animals.
Members have changed over the years, some have retired, others have passed on, but the aims of the Council remain the same: to promote our product worldwide, and better our industry for the benefit of all: ranchers, organizations, dressers, pelt brokers and manufacturers.