85% of fur comes from fur farms, meaning more than 45 million animals worldwide, including raccoon dogs, rabbits, foxes, mink, and chinchillas, are raised in cages and killed each year for their fur.
Life is hell for animals on fur farms. Not only are cage-raised animals killed inhumanely, but they suffer from numerous physical and behavioral abnormalities induced by the stress of caging conditions. The animals are undomesticated so they are fearful of humans and tiny barren cages prevent them expressing their basic natural behaviours , such as running and hunting for food – mink, semi aquatic animals are even denied water to swim in and foxes are unable to roam at all when in the wild they’d travel many kilometres in a day.
After spending their short lives in squalid conditions, animals raised on fur farms are killed by cruel methods that preserve the pelt, such as gassing, neck-breaking and anal electrocution.
Fur farming is banned in the UK, Austria and Croatia. The Netherlands, Belgium and Ireland are considering a ban.
Millions of wild animals, including bobcats, coyotes, foxes, lynx, raccoons, and wolves, suffer and die in traps each year, mainly in the US, Canada and Russia, although trapping does occur in other countries too on a smaller scale.
Traps, including steel-jaw leghold traps, body-gripping traps, and wire neck snares, are inhumane devices that inflict great pain and suffering. The traps are designed to crush animals in a vice like grip rather than kill them – meaning they can’t fend off predators. Some animals will chew off their trapped limb to escape.
The seal hunt is the largest most brutal slaughter of marine mammals on the planet and brings shame upon Canada. The annual slaughter sees thousands of baby seals clubbed or shot for their fur every year – over 2 million killed in the last 10 years. According to vets who have studied the hunt, it is one of the cruellest slaughters, with many seals skinned alive, some even while conscious. 95 per cent of the seals killed are pups just a few weeks old; at the time of slaughter they have not yet eaten their first solid meal or taken their first swim – they literally have no escape from the hunters.
The slaughter is condemned worldwide. Public opinion polls consistently show that the vast majority of people are strongly opposed to the seal hunt and according to a poll, 79% of the British public want the hunt to be banned. There is a lot of misinformation put out about the seal slaughter. For example, it is a widespread misunderstanding in parts of Canada and elsewhere that the slaughter of seals in Canada is undertaken to protect fish stocks and allow for the recovery of the Atlantic cod. The fact is cod have been virtually wiped out in the North West Atlantic by commercial overfishing overseen by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) – the very people that tried to put the blame on the seals.
The production of fur is associated with high environmental costs. Far from being “natural, renewal resources,” real fur products consume more of our precious and irreplaceable energy resources than do those made from synthetic materials.
Animal skin, once removed, will rot, unless it is treated with toxic chemicals. Even then, it must be kept cool and guarded against insects. It takes nearly three times more energy to produce a fur coat from trapped animals than to produce a synthetic fur, according to a study by Gregory H. Smith, a transportation research engineer at the University of Michigan.