We advocate on all animal protection and exploitation issues, including experimentation, factory farming, rodeos, breeders and traveling animal acts.
The Portuguese animal protectionists group ANIMAL went undercover to expose the secretive international fur trade as it operates in Portugal. They infiltrated several Portuguese rabbit fur farms and slaughterhouses. Below are some of the photos they were able to obtain and a link to a video filmed covertly. The French group Fourrure Torture, the Anti-Fur Society and RabbitWise, both of the USA, agreed to help alert the international animal protectionists community and consuming public about this barbarous industry.
WARNING: Disturbing images follow.
Culled Dead Rabbits
Handling of Rabbits
Rabbits in Wire-bottomed Cages
Filthy Conditions of Caged Rabbits
Hanging Before Slaughtering
This winter, thousands of us will buy coats, scarves and other clothing made from it.
As the party season approaches, many of us will reach for handbags, shoes and other accessories containing it.
It’s on the catwalk and in the high street, and those involved in producing and selling it say it’s natural and sexy, fashionable and smart.
But this investigation has revealed the shocking and bloody truth behind fur on sale in many of Portugal’s boutiques and fashion houses.
Working undercover, investigators from ANIMAL have uncovered a secret yet thriving trade in Portuguese rabbit fur.
For the first time, secret filming has revealed the entire rabbit fur production process and exposed key individuals behind the trade.
Thousands of animals are being reared in highly intensive battery-style conditions, subjected to relentless artificial breeding programmes and brutally slaughtered.
Perhaps this winter it’s time to ask : who are the real fashion victims?
Across Portugal, dozens of specialist farms are breeding thousands of rabbits for their meat and for their fur.
Some are little more than cottage industries, housing as few as two hundred animals; others breed rabbits on an industrial scale and churn out thousands each week for slaughter and processing.
The fur produced by these rabbits supplies both the Portuguese and international markets.
ANIMAL has learnt that much is exported to China, via Spain, for cheap processing.
It is then shipped back into Portugal and other EU states for use in clothing, accessories and other goods.
At the farms visited by investigators, rabbits were held in appalling conditions in tiny, filthy wire cages, surrounded by their own waste.
They spend their entire miserable lives in these intensive units, unable to freely move or exhibit natural behaviour.
Rabbits by nature like to dig and to nest – but these battery crates allow for neither.
IInjuries, deformities and mortality rates are high.
At this farm, investigators accompanied staff as they undertook their feeding duties – a disturbing number of animals had died overnight.
The breeding process for rabbits reared for their meat and their fur is brutal and unrelenting.
At many farms, artificial insemination techniques are used to ensure maximum productivity.
Females can give birth to as many as ten babies every forty five days; some farms hold as many as 2000 female breeding rabbits. The number of reared animals is immense.
Animals kept for breeding are housed in even smaller battery units – in some cases they are virtually unable to turn around.
After being transferred to holding – or fattening – cages, rabbits are typically sent for slaughter when they are as little as six weeks old.
Some animals bred purely for their fur are matured until four or five months old, to ensure the quality of the fur.
The fur from these animals can command a higher price on the international market.
ANIMAL investigators witnessed the loading of this typical consignment of over a thousand rabbits for slaughter.
Rabbits were crammed into specially designed plastic crates – in some cases literally thrown in – before being trucked to a nearby slaughter facility.
The owner of this slaughterhouse near Bombarral is a major supplier of Portuguese rabbit fur.
He claimed to produce as many as a hundred thousand furs a month.
This dealer revealed to investigators his plans to further increase fur production by a hundred thousand units a month, doubling its current production.
During a tour of the facility, he explained how furs are salted at the facility to help preserve them.
The furs are then stored in special buildings before being sold onto a third party for export and processing.
After arriving from the breeding farms, rabbits are crudely placed onto a conveyer belt for stunning.
Hanging from hooks, the animals have their throats slit.
Many appear to remain alive after this brutal and harrowing process – rabbits were seen writhing around after being cut.
In the production cycle that follows, the fur is mechanically separated from the carcasses which will be used for meat.
This unprecedented ANIMAL investigation offers – for the first time – a rare glimpse into Portugal’s role in the secretive international fur trade.
The majority of the rabbits seen in this film are reared for their fur and for their meat.
By refusing to wear rabbit fur or any other fur, in any form, you will be making a central decision to help end the cruelty of which these animals are victims. At the same time, by not consuming rabbit meat, or any other meat, that will also be a key decision that will vitally help to reduce the number of animal suffering and killing that these bloody industries cause.
This winter, ask yourself: who are the real fashion victims? /p>
Visit ANIMAL at hhttp://Animal.org.pt
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