The fur trade. Just the very mention and the mind starts spinning. Of course it is an emotional issue, but before you think I am some kind of weird hippie or am here to promote my moral superiority, please bear in mind that I have actually done considerable research into the subject.

As with any argument, it is of utmost importance that one is first presented with the facts. Here they are. Undisputed.

Each year around 50 MILLION animals are slaughtered for their fur. Animals include, but are not limited to foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs, wolves, bears, hamsters, raccoons, mink, moles, chinchillas, lynx, beavers, skunks, seals, coyotes, leopards, tigers, otters and squirrels.

Around 85% of these 50 million animals are raised in various fur farms around the world. The living conditions of these caged animals invariably involves unhygienic, cramped and squalid living accommodations, with insufficient space for maneuverability and a lack of water. Cages, made out of wire mesh, are usually stacked on top of one another in long rows under an open shed. Sometimes, while being moved around, animals inside these cages have their legs broken. Small farms usually have around a hundred animals, while some of the larger fur farms, such as those in Scandinavia, can have up to a hundred thousand.

Animals subjected to these conditions frequently develop physical and behavioural problems induced by the stress of their caging. Aside from frantic and ceaseless pacing, reports of self-mutilation where the animals bite their skin, tails and feet are not uncommon. Malnutrition and overcrowding also result in increased disease susceptibility and more parasites. Because of these un-natural conditions one finds an unusually high rate of cub mortality, as much as 25% in foxes. Infanticide, where the mother eats her own young, is also a regular occurrence. Mink, which rely heavily on water, are often found dead from heat exhaustion, especially in summer where they cannot find water to cool themselves. Water is usually via a nipple system which freezes in winter.

Number of Animals to Make a Fur Coat:
12-15 lynx
10-15 wolves or coyotes
15-20 foxes
20-25 cats
60-80 minks
27-30 raccoons
10-12 beavers
60-100 squirrels

In order to preserve the pelt, and thus maximize profits, fur farmers employ some fairly gruesome methods in order to kill the animals. Some of these are listed as follows. Anal electrocution, where the shock causes the animals eyeballs to burst and it contorts so violently the spasms break its back. Some animals, struggling in pain and terror have their necks twisted and broken. Others, particularly seal pups, are bludgeoned to death. Their heads beaten so hard the skulls collapse. Some fury creatures are injected with strychnine which causes spasms in the muscles, starting with the head and neck. The spasms spread to every muscle causing continuous convulsions until death, in the form of asphyxiation caused by paralysis, comes some 15-25 minutes later. Cats are usually strangled with wire nooses and have water poured down their throats until they drown. Many creatures are simply gassed with exhaust fumes. This unreliable method often leads to the animal waking up to find itself being skinned alive.

As for the environment, it has been found that the amount of energy required to make a genuine fur coat is approximately 20 times that of a fake fur garment. Chemicals used to stop the fur from rotting also render it not bio-degradable and the very use of these chemicals can also lead to water contamination.

Unlike the meat industry, where the meat is used as a source of food, the fur industry serves no purpose other than to pander to the whims of vanity. Some 80 000 Cape Fur Seals and a further 350 000 Harp Seals are slaughtered each year in Namibia and New Foundland respectively. If you were to line these animals up side by side, you would have a line of almost 300 Kilometers long. However, less than 2% meat is used and carcasses are left to rot on the ice floes.

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