Innumerable animals suffer and die in order to end up as fur coats or other accessories.
The fur industry – a global business
85 percent of furs on the market come from animals held in fur farms, the rest of the furs on the global market stem from hunting, often with traps. In 2009, approximately 100 million animals were kept and killed in horrible conditions. Most fur farms are located in Europe and China. China has become the world’s foremost fur producer, and Asia is a significant player in the fur trade.
In the EU, there are still more than 7200 fur farms, primarily in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. European farms produce around 35 million mink furs and two million fox furs each year.
Fur farms: Suffering without end
Millions of wild animals such as mink, foxes and raccoon dogs are bred and kept in terrible conditions. Stuffed into tiny wire cages, the animals live side by side with their fellow animals in a permanent state of stress.
The cages are suspended in long rows about half a meter above the ground. Faeces and urine fall through the wire mesh, to prevent the fur being dirtied. These animals have a very sensitive sense of smell and spend their lives subjected to an unbearable stench. Their sensitive paws are frequently injured as a result of the mesh floor of the cage. Mink are the only animals provided with a box the size of a shoe carton to live in. Otherwise there are no structures in the cages.
Most fur-bearing animals are loners by nature and roam through huge territories in the wild. The narrow captivity is extremely unpleasant for them. These animals have the same instincts as the members of their species in the wild, but are given no opportunity to act the way they would naturally. They are unable to climb, dig, hunt or swim.
Many of the animals demonstrate severe behavioural disorders, including cannibalism and self-harm. After months of vegetating in the cages, the animals are killed by gassing, electrocution or poisonous injection in the course of the so called “fur harvest”.
Hunting with traps: unnecessary and cruel
Traps are used to catch millions of red foxes, raccoon dogs and beavers every year. Spring traps are still used in the U.S.A., Canada and Russia. These traps are brutal, but they do little damage to the fur. Spring traps consist of two metal bands which snap together when triggered, trapping the animal. Trapped animals die of exhaustion or exposure, or chew or twist off their trapped limb and die from the resulting loss of blood. Animals which survive are then brutally killed by the people who set the traps.
Also other lethal traps and snares do not kill fur animals immediatly. Once caught, the animal often fights for its life - for hours and days, until it finally dies of exhaustion, hunger, thirst or from its injuries. Live traps are not much better: the frightened animals try to escape them and get hurt.