Fur Farming

Every year, around 100 million animals are raised and killed for their fur. Over 95% of fur sold globally, comes from farmed animals, such as mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, rabbits and chinchillas. On fur factory farms, animals spend their entire lives in cramped battery cages, deprived of the ability to engage in natural behaviours.

Keeping wide-ranging predatory animals in small cages causes severe animal welfare problems – such as self-mutilation and infected wounds.

Wild animals

Unlike other farmed species, animals bred for fur are essentially wild animals, which have undergone only a very limited domestication process. The active selection of animals on fur farms is mainly focused on fur quality and very little on tameness and adaptability to captive environments.

‘Fear of humans in the undomesticated animals used by the fur industry makes them fundamentally unsuitable for farming.’

The recommendations (2001) of the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare (SCAHAW) state correspondingly:

In comparison with other farm animals, species farmed for their fur have been subjected to relatively little active selection except with respect to fur characteristics.’

welfare problems

The confinement in tiny battery cages on fur farms prevents animals from expressing their basic natural behaviours, such as running and hunting for food. The stress of the caging conditions and fear of humans cause animals kept for fur to exhibit a high number of stress-related welfare problems.

Numerous scientific reports have indicated that severe health problems are inherent to fur production and that animals on all fur farms have been found to exhibit physical and behavioral abnormalities as:

‘…infected wounds, missing limbs from biting incidents, eye infections, bent feet, mouth deformities, self-mutilation, cannibalism of dead siblings or offspring and other stress-related stereotypical behaviour.’

Stereotypical behavior, as a result of stress, occurs on all fur farms and is expressed as pacing along the cage wall, repetitive circling or nodding of the head.

an inhumane death

To preserve the pelts, animals on fur farms are killed by inhumane methods, such as gassing and head-to-tail electrocution.

Fox and raccoon dogs are generally electrocuted through the mouth and anus; a method with potential to inflict severe pain and distress on the animal.

Mink are semi-aquatic and highly evolved physiologically to hold their breath. They are therefore prone to hypoxia, which means they can suffer significantly during gassing.

‘Killing mink with CO2 should be avoided, and humane methods developed.’ (SCAHAW, 2001)

Fur bans

Laws to prohibit the breeding and killing of animals for fur is becoming increasingly widespread in Europe. Over 15 European countries have introduced legislation to ban or phase out fur farming, including the UK (2000), The Netherlands (2023), Serbia (2019), Czech Republic (2019), Norway (2025) and Belgium (2019). In these countries animal welfare concerns have been given priority over the fur industry’s interests.

Latest news

  • COVID-19 first detected in European mink farms a year ago – NGOs and the public urge the EU to act

    12 months after the SARS-CoV-2 virus was first detected in animals in a mink farm in the Net

    New report finds that all mink farms should be considered “at risk” of COVID-19 infection

    19 FEBRUARY 2021 - On the cusp of the mink breeding season, which is set to resume at the end of thi

    Scientific statement on public health risks from SARS-CoV-2 and the intensive rearing of mink

    15 FEBRUARY 2021 - The Fur Free Alliance and Eurogroup for Animals have released a scientific statem

  • Joint Open Letter to the European Commission: Eliminating potential COVID-19 reservoir on EU mink farms

    To: Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides Commissione

    Leading animal protection organisations call for the permanent closure of fur farms in Europe

    BRUSSELS - 8 DECEMBER 2020 -  In the wake of COVID-19 outbreaks on mink farms throughout Europe - w

    Victory! France to ban mink fur farming

    FRANCE, 29 SEPTEMBER 2020 - In a historic move, this morning the French minister of Ecological Trans

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