Eighty-five per cent of fur worldwide comes from fur farms. Life on fur farms is a living hell for animals such as rabbits, foxes, mink, and chinchillas. As on other factory-style farms on which animals endure intensive confinement, fur farms are designed to maximise profits, at the expense of animals' wellbeing.
Animals are kept in long rows of barren wire cages in open-sided sheds. Most are fed with a dollop of paste placed on top of the cage which then falls through. The cages are also wire-bottomed so the animals’ waste falls through and ammonia and faeces build up. It is all about ease for the furriers. Even the cage size is based more on the length of a person’s arm than the biological needs of the species, with a typical mink cage measuring 70cm by 40cm.
Unlike the cats and dogs that share our homes, animals kept for the fur trade have been selected and bred specifically for the quality of their fur and not for temperament. This means that the animals are essentially still wild and undomesticated so they are especially fearful of humans. The tiny, barren cages prevent them expressing their most basic natural behaviours, such as running and hunting for food. Semi-aquatic animals such as mink are even denied water to swim in. Animals are often driven mad by isolation and frustration.
Because fur farmers’ primary concern is preserving fur quality, they use slaughter methods that do not damage the fur but can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Slaughter methods include gassing, neck breaking, lethal injection and electrocution (using electrodes clamped in the mouth and inserted in the rectum). Footage shot in Asia shows racoon dogs being skinned alive.
Visit the Fur Free Alliance for more information about fur farming
Overseas legal bans
Fur farming is banned in the United Kingdom, Austria and Croatia. The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland are considering a ban.
The city of West Hollywood banned the selling of fur in 2011.
More than 80 countries have banned the use of cruel leghold traps, which are still legal in the United States. Leghold traps are still being used for possums in New Zealand.