The fur industry refers to the farming or trapping of certain animals for their fur, the processing of their skins so that they can be sold to those who make fur products and the sale of the finished products to shops.
Millions of fur-bearing animals are killed each year on fur farms, including foxes, rabbits, raccoons, mink, beavers and lynx. In China large numbers of cats and dogs are also slaughtered for their skins. On the farms the animals are kept in tiny wire mesh cages. Such is their frustration that they become psychotic and many are driven to cannibalism and self-mutilation. Animals on fur farms are killed by a variety of methods such as gassing, electrocution, poisoning with strychnine or having their necks snapped. These methods are often not 100% effective and many animals remain alive and fully conscious while they are being skinned.
In addition, every year some 10 million animals are trapped in the wild for their fur, caught by leghold traps, body grip traps (Conibear traps) and wire snares. Eighty-eight countries have banned the use of the leghold trap on cruelty grounds. It has been banned in England and Wales since 1958, yet snaring is still legal. These barbaric steel traps work by clamping the animal’s leg, biting deep into the flesh. The victims may have to wait a long time, growing weaker and weaker through pain and attempts to escape, before the trapper returns to kill them. Bullets are not used to kill, as this would damage the pelt. Instead, the animal will be clubbed or suffocated. Many chew their legs off in a vain attempt to escape the suffering.
Britain has banned fur farming on humane grounds, yet members of the British Fur Trade Association turn over £500 million a year as the world’s largest buyers of pelts. As fur may move through several countries before ending up in the shops, the final product label may simply read ‘Made in Italy’ or ‘Made in France’, disguising the garment’s inhumane source.
Animal fur may also be sold under the names angora, mohair and cashmere.
See PETA investigation of fur farm (WARNING: contains graphic content)