The fur industry

The fur industry annually costs the lives of 20 million wild animals hunted using traps and 40 million farm-raised animals. Because humans find their fur attractive, the same fate awaits them all: being skinned to nourish a multimillion business that uses them to dress the consumer’s vanity.

It is important to note that animal furs are not only used for the manufacture of complete garments, but that there is a whole fur sub-industry specialising in the production of trims and edges for hoods, gloves, scarves or other accessories. The importance of this branch of the business is such that 90% of foxes who subsist on fur farms are bred exclusively for edging pieces of clothing, although raccoons, rabbits, sheep, chinchillas, dogs, cats, and others are also used for this purpose.

In the case of wild animals, the capture is conducted through various types of traps. Some consist of a serrated steel jaw that traps the animal by any member, tearing skin, muscles and bone. The unfortunate victim, desperate with fear and excruciating pain, suffers a terrible agony struggling to break free; an agony which will last for days until the trappers go to gather their prey. By then, the animal may have already died of dehydration, blood loss or gangrene. For those who remain alive, an even bloodier end awaits… In order not to damage the fur, their executioner will kill them using brutal methods like crushing their ribcage, blunt injuries to the head or snout, asphyxiation or snapping their necks.

Another widely used form of trapping consists of a noose that grips the victim by the neck, choking it as the animal pulls when trying to escape.

Finally, the extreme cruelty of the procedure used in the seal hunt in Canada must be mentioned. Thousands of entire seal families are slaughtered annually, with the pups being the main target due to their more valued fur. The usual practice is to beat the young to death, savagely hitting them with clubs.

Foxes beaten with truncheons

On the other hand, with regards to animals raised on fur farms, far from enjoying better luck than their brothers, on top of facing their death at the hands of their captors, they must endure imprisonment and exploitation under deplorable conditions throughout their lives.

The most farmed species are mink (25 million annually) and arctic foxes (3 million), although martens, otters, chinchillas, cats and rabbits are also farmed.

Chinchillas, foxes and rabbits exploited by the fur industry

The animals spend their lives confined in very small cages arranged in long elevated rows located inside buildings or outdoors.

The perpetual confinement in their tiny metal prisons has devastating effects on the bodies and minds of the millions of victims of the fur business. The imprisonment, the absolute deprivation of stimuli and the inability to meet their most basic natural needs, generate states of chronic stress manifested by obsessive behaviours like biting the bars of cages, incessantly repeating stereotyped movements, self-mutilation, cannibalism or attacks on their own offspring and infanticide. These and many other pathological behaviours speak to the extreme degree of emotional distress experienced by these animals.

Many animals do not reproduce naturally in these farms and breeder females are subjected to atrocious and excruciating artificial insemination procedures in order to increase productivity or create new varieties of colours. Many of these females are forced to continually carry out successive pregnancies for periods up to 8 years. Often, the offspring will be inbred (from related animals) with the purpose of selecting certain fur characteristics, which entails serious deformities, malformations and genetic diseases in these animals.

Finally, after this hellish experience, animals are killed using cruel methods designed to preserve the fur intact. For this, operators will choose out of a grisly catalogue of procedures such as electrocution via electrodes in the mouth and anus, gas chambers, poisoning by chemical injections, strangulation, neck breaking or drowning. Sometimes animals are still alive when they start to be skinned.

Animal skinning

Number of killed animals needed to manufacture a single fur coat:

Chinchillas: 300

Lynx: 17

Baby Seals: 20

Adult seals 8

Martens: 60

Squirrels: 250

Wolves: 12

Beavers: 15-45

Minks: 60-180

Otters: 20-60

Raccoons: 40-120

Foxes: 50-150

Animal skinning