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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From the 14 January 2001 Issue


The Humane Society of the United States believes that exploiting animals for fashion cheapens life, even our own lives. The advent of synthetic fabrics that are warmer and lighter than fur has eliminated any justification for killing animals for their fur. Yet every year more than 40 million animals are killed for their fur: mink, fox, bobcat, beaver, raccoon, sable, lynx, chinchilla, and the list goes on. Each small piece of fur trim equals an animal who suffered and died, a full coat equals many more animals, all of whom suffered and died. There is no reason to kill animals for fashion, and there are a lot of reasons not to. Here are a few basic facts about caged and trapped fur:

Animals Suffer in Cages

-HSUS/Franz Dantzler

Confined in small, barren, wire cages where natural activities are denied them, animals who are raised for fur often fall prey to the from rapid spread of disease and exhibit obsessive-compulsive behavior such as self-mutilation, cannibalism, and incessant pacing-behavior induced by the combination of boredom, frustration, and deprivation.

Furriers inbreed animals to produce designer colors such as sapphire and pastel, and this creates severe abnormalities in the order of deafness, crippled limbs, deformed sex organs, screw-necks, anemia, sterility, and disturbances of the nervous system.

The most common methods for killing mink and fox include asphyxiation with carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide gas (often obtained from such crude sources as automobile exhaust), neck breaking, anal electrocution, and injection of cheap chemicals or pesticides.

There are no laws regulating the care of cage-raised fur-bearing animals in the United States. As a result, the industry's treatment of these animals tends to be informed by issues of cost and not by concerns for animal welfare.

Animals Suffer in Traps

The steel-jaw leghold trap can tear the flesh, cut tendons and ligaments, and break bones. -HSUS/Dick Randall Once caught in a trap, an animal can suffer for hours or days before he or she chews or twists a leg off to escape or is finally clubbed to death or suffocated by the trapper.

Traps are implicitly indiscriminate; they kill and maim whatever animal steps into them. Thousands of dogs, cats, hawks, eagles, owls, ducks, squirrels, and other non-target animals fall victim to traps every year.

The United States is one of the top producers of wild caught fur in the world. However, this country's most commonly used trap, the archaic steel-jaw leghold trap, is banned by over 80 nations, as well as by several states.

Although trapping is not an effective way to control diseases such as rabies, nor is it necessary for resolving conflicts between humans and wildlife, state wildlife agencies persist in clinging to this outdated practice on behalf of the pro-trapping minority.

For more information on the inherent cruelties of the fur industry, check out The HSUS's Fur-Free 2000 campaign.

Copyright 1999 The Humane Society of the United States.All rights reserved


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Please send comments and submittals to the Editor: Linda Beane [email protected]

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