Another great American shame. Even in the U.S. the wild animals are raised under appalling, unregulated, unhealthy conditions, only to be anally electrocuted or have their heads bashed in for skinning, some even skinned while still alive (esp. in Asia).
These beautiful wild animals are kept in tiny, cold cages with wire mesh bottoms for drainage. They are not allowed any of their natural behavior, which may include nesting, socializing, playing, etc. They often go psychotic and spin endlessly in circles. Many get their little paws caught in the wire mesh and may break a limb off. Many cages are outdoors, and the animals are kept winter and summer, left to survive in freezing cold weather with nowhere to nest. Veterinary care is nonexistent as it would cut into profits.
These fur farms are uninspected and operate entirely as the owners see fit. It’s an “anything goes” environment, rife with the most appalling abuses imaginable.
Who’s fighting it: ALF (in the U.S.), Peta, HSUS, IDA, WSPA, the McCartneys, Born Free USA, Life Force Foundation, Animal Alliance, Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (U.K.), ALV, Fur-Bearer Defenders (Canada), animalconcerns.org, furfreenyc.org, wiserearth.org, antifurcoalition.org, all-creatures.org, ecodefense.com, antifursociety.org, furisdead.com
“Life on the “Ranch”
To cut costs, fur farmers pack animals into small cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps back and forth. This crowding and confinement is especially distressing to minks——solitary animals who may occupy up to 2,500 acres of wetland habitat in the wild. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads minks to self-mutilate——biting at their skin, tails, and feet——and frantically pace and circle endlessly. Zoologists at Oxford University who studied captive minks found that despite generations of being bred for fur, minks have not been domesticated and suffer greatly in captivity, especially if they are not given the opportunity to swim. Foxes, raccoons, and other animals suffer just as much and have been found to cannibalize their cagemates in response to their crowded confinement
Animals in fur factory farms are fed meat byproducts considered unfit for human consumption. Water is provided by a nipple system, which often freezes in the winter or might fail because of human error.
Poison and Pain
No federal humane slaughter law protects animals in fur factory farms, and killing methods are gruesome. Because fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but that can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Animals may have clamps attached to or rods forced into their mouths and rods are forced into their anuses, and they are painfully electrocuted. Others are poisoned with strychnine, which suffocates them by paralyzing their muscles with painful, rigid cramps. Gassing and neck-breaking are other common slaughter methods in fur factory farms.
The fur industry refuses to condemn even blatantly cruel killing methods. Genital electrocution——deemed “unacceptable” by the American Veterinary Medical Association in its “2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia”——causes animals to suffer from cardiac arrest while they are still conscious. In 1994, Indiana became the first state to file criminal charges against a fur factory farm after PETA investigators documented genital electrocution at V-R Chinchillas. The chinchilla fur industry considers electrocution and neck-breaking “acceptable.”
Dog and Cat Fur
When PETA conducted an undercover investigation into the dog and cat fur trade in 2005, investigators went to an animal market in Southern China and found that dogs and cats were languishing in tiny cages, visibly exhausted. Some had been on the road for days, transported in flimsy wire-mesh cages with no food or water. Animals were packed so tightly into cages that they could not move. Because of the cross-country transport in such deplorable conditions, our investigators saw dead cats on top of the cages, dying cats and dogs inside the cages, and cats and dogs with open wounds. Some animals were lethargic, and others were fighting with each other, driven insane from confinement and exposure. All of them were terrified.
Investigators reported that up to 8,000 animals were loaded onto each truck, with cages stacked on top of each other. Cages containing live animals were tossed from the tops of the trucks onto the ground 10 feet below, shattering the legs of the animals inside them. Many of the animals still had collars on, a sign that they were once someone’s beloved companions, stolen to be bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into coats, trim, and trinkets.
Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International toured fur farms in China’s Hebei Province and found that foxes, minks, rabbits, and other animals were pacing and shivering in outdoor wire cages, exposed to everything from scorching sun to freezing temperatures to driving rain. Disease and injuries are widespread on these farms, and animals suffering from anxiety-induced psychosis chew on their own limbs and repeatedly throw themselves against the cage bars.
*Note: The globalization of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from. Skins move through international auction houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the world, and finished goods are often exported. Even if a fur garment’s label says that it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere——possibly on an unregulated Chinese fur farm.
Go to Part 17, Fur Trapping
Go to Introduction