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In the late 1800s, European and American fashion trends included ladies hats adorned with bird feathers and the demand was so great that it spawned a huge ostrich feather industry in South Africa. The ostrich bird thrives in semi-arid areas and farms mushroomed in the Oudtshoorn area. Farmers made fortunes on exporting of the feathers, however, the industry collapsed in 1900 after the Lacey Act was passed in America, prohibiting entry of foreign animal products into the country. The Europeans quickly followed and but for a few farmers who held on, the Oudtshoorn ostrich feather industry bubble had burst.
Fortunately those farmers survived because the ostrich is now in demand for vastly different reasons; aside from the bird’s magnificent feathers used for fashion accessories and feather dusters, the meat is lean, low in fats and high in iron, while its skin is used to manufacture high quality bags, jackets and shoes. The full-quill bags are popular... Show more