The Fur Industry
HSI is more committed than ever to educate the public about the cruelty of the fur industry. Fur sales have risen around the world following campaigns by some of the world' s leading designers, fashion magazines, and celebrities.
In 2014 around 70 million mink and 4 million foxes were bred and killed on farms for their fur worldwide. Around 10million were trapped in the wild to satisfy the growing demand for fur. If that is not shocking enough, an 18 month undercover investigation completed by our US office in 2003 exposed the brutal and cruel slaughter of dogs and cats for fur. In 2004 at least 2 million dogs and cats were killed in Asia, but the last few years have seen such an increase in demand that this figure is now thought to be closer to 10 million! The industry makes no distinction between strays and pets, rounding up any animal they can find. The recent escalation of pets being stolen in Asia indicates not only the tragedy of this horrific market, but also the level of demand from the fashion world for coats, trims, hats, and even stuffing for children' s toys.
CAGED FUR - THE INSIDE STORY
Each year millions of animals world-wide live their entire lives in cages only to be killed inhumanely for fur. Living in these filthy, confined conditions causes numerous physical and behavioral abnormalities induced by the stress of the severely cramped conditions.
Cages leave the animals little room to move around - mink cages are made of wire, measuring about two and a half foot by one foot wide, and one foot high. Water is provided by an automated system which is sometimes frozen leaving them with no water for days, and food, a mixture of ground up animal remains, including minks, is placed on top of the cage to fall through. Intensive confinement makes natural activities impossible and cage raised minks commonly suffer obsessive-compulsive stereotype behaviour like pacing, self-mutilation, and cannibalism.
The animals are killed just after their first winter coat grows, at 7 to 10 months of age. The industry euphemism for their final slaughter is the 'introduction of unconsciousness' - but in fact they are either shot, gassed, poisoned, subjected to electric currents in the anus or mouth, stamped on, or thrown against the ground. Many are still alive and remain conscious during the skinning process. HSI believes that no animal should be subjected to this kind of ' life' or death in the name of fashion.
TRAPPING IN THE WILD
Wild animals are usually caught in steel-jaw traps, an incredibly cruel and inhumane method which cripples the animals, but doesn' t usually kill them. One in four of these trapped animals will escape by chewing off their legs, only to die a painful death later from gangrene, blood loss, or predation. The ones that don' t get away and survive their ordeal end up being killed in a horrific way for their fur.
They are also caught in Body-Crushing Traps designed to shut with a scissor-like action when an animal walks or swims through it. The Snare is the most primitive, indiscriminate and inhumane trap used. They strangle their victims or crush their vital organs, leading to an agonizing and often prolonged death.
And then there are the incredible number of companion animals and non-target species accidentally caught up in trappers devices. In one study, an average of 10.8 non-target animals were trapped for each target animal caught. This would mean for the 10 million wild animals caught and killed in traps for the fur market, another 100 million animals die.
SERIOUS HEALTH RISKS OF WEARING FUR
Not only is the fur trade steeped with animal cruelty, research shows that it is also actively damaging the health of those who work to produce it. A study conducted on 807 fur workers showed significant increases in mortality from malignant neoplasms and lung cancer amongst fur dressers (tanners), and increased cardiovascular disease among fur service workers (‘Mortality among retired fur workers’ by Sweeney, Walrath, Waxweiler, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health (1985) Vol.11, No.4, pp257-264).
People who wear fur are also putting themselves at risk. Its manufacture is very chemical and energy intensive. Many furs contain hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde, chlorinated paraffins, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEO) in alarmingly high concentrations. Those who wear fur may be seriously jeopardizing their own health.
For more information on the fur industry, please follow the links below: