Animal Fur Harvested in Blood, Agony, and Death

Introduction to Animal Fur

The animal fur opposition movement began in the 1800’s and surged in the U. S. in the 1970’s, becoming a major force during the 1980’s.  It is part of the broader animal rights movement that includes animal abuse and aspects of animal equity.  Some of the important events are included in the timeline on that was assembled by Doris Lin.  The current resurgence of fur use in the fashion industry is sparked by new personal wealth in China and elsewhere.  It shows how easy it is to awaken the human aptitude for horrifying atrocity.

The rest of this post has facts and graphic images from the Fur Out the Closet blog.

   YOUR FUR ITEM: BEFORE AND AFTER                                                                                                                                                                                                   your fur coat

before and after fur

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                which is worse                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              


Killing animal   pope in furjjfur1HANGING FUR


As Philip Wollen (Australian philanthropist and former vice-president of Citi Bank) from The Kindness Trust states, “fur farms are gulags of despair; they commit the most heinous of abuses for the most trivial of reasons” (January, 2013).


furbearing animals

The animals most commonly farmed for their fur are minks, foxes, chinchillas and rabbits.

cute mink in snow

Minks are semi-aquatic and need water in the form of streams or lakes. A mink’s natural living environment is always near water or on wooded banks. Generally they are solitary and inquisitive animals except when they pair off during the mating season.        

      mink and babyMother with her baby mink

baby mink

red-fox_679_600x450 fox

In their natural habitat, a fox’s territory can extend to several hectares, depending on the availability of food. They are solitary until the mating season when they form family units. A pair of foxes will parent their offspring in a den dug by the pair, which they use as safe base camps.

chinchillaChinchillas are naturally found in rocky crevices and can jump as high as one meter.                                                                   rabbit Rabbits are social and intelligent creatures. They love to play and groom each other.




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These wild animals need to be active and hence suffer intensely when bred on fur farms. In order to reap maximum profit, everything is aimed at being cost effective on these farms. There is no regard for the animals’ well-being, as they are merely seen as raw material waiting to be harvested (killed). They are routinely confined to small, wire-mesh cages and kept in a battery style system. With several animals in a cage there is barely room to move let alone space for activity. Minks on fur farms will never swim; foxes will never run; chinchillas will never jump and rabbits will never play                          .murder cat and dog

In certain countries, such as China, with poor animal welfare legislation cats and dogs (domestic animals) are also skinned for their fur. To cut down on costs and because a warm “carcass” is easier to skin, these animals are often skinned alive.                                                                                                                      dog being skinned


In this advanced age of synthetic fabrics, fur is totally unnecessary to keep warm. Wearing fur has become a fashion statement for egotistic people who falsely believe owning a fur increases their status in society.


As a result of these individuals’ demand for fur, and a greed for money, fur farms have emerged in several European countries, which comprise 70% of all the fur farms on the planet. The rest of the world encompasses the remaining 30%. Dr Etwaroo’s research (2012) shows that 80% of today’s fur comes from fur farms, as compared to trapping. Trapping is no longer pervasive because it is too expensive.

Fur farming entails the breeding of certain mammals in captivity specifically for their pelts. Their bodies are disposed of and generally not used for anything else. Countries such as the United Kingdom (UK) have banned the farming of fur but still allow the selling of fur produce. Although South Africa does not have fur farms, there are retailers, such as Erich Fischer Furriers, that procure pelts from overseas and in this way collude with the abuse of precious animals and the environment.

sexist and offensive

sexist and offensive


Millions of animals are bred and killed in appalling conditions. One fur coat, depending on the type, requires the skins of many animals.2oo minks 40 rabbits  skinned rabbits

About 26 million minks are killed, usually asphyxiated, every year for the sole purpose of acquiring their skin. Many skins make one fur coat.

Chinchillas are also farmed for their furs, where 100-200 chinchillas are killed for one coat.



Inspections of fur farms by various animal rights groups have exposed widespread horrendous animal suffering.The following photographs were taken by various animal rights organisations, as listed below:

  • Animal Liberation Frontline is well known for its extreme activism, such as releasing animals from their captivity  on farms. This organisation has also taken photographs of fur farms in USA exposing shocking conditions.
  • Coalition Against Fur Farms works in northern America. This organisation tracks fur farms and reports on where and when they open. It constantly exposes the horrendous conditions found on these farm.
  • The Finnish animal rights organisation Oikeutta eläimille (Justice for Animals) did an undercover investigation of Finnish fur farms and photographed the torture these animals go through .
  • The Network for Animal Freedom and  Animal Protection Norway have done unannounced investigations of Norwegian fur farms.
  • Zvirat Svoboda (Freedom for Animals) photographed farms within the Czech Republic, which revealed the torment suffered by the animals on these fur farms The Bont voor Dieren revealed shocking conditions through its research in the Netherlands.
  • Born Free is based in the United States of america. Researchers found that at times, farmers use homemade gas chambers, such as a box hooked up to a tractor exhaust pipe to kill minks. This method prolongs the suffering caused to these animal.

Regardless of the fur farm, intensive battery farming methods are used. Cages are lined up outside in extreme temperatures. In these temperatures drinking water can freeze and animals then die of thirst

botticario investigationfur farmdogs on fur farm

Otherwise they are kept in rows in giant sheds, as seen below, which are filthy and dark.

dark shed

A battery system of farming is inherently cruel to animals.The wire-mesh cages are far too small and the wire, often rusty, can injure these creatures or cut their feet.

In the wild these animals are naturally solitary. They will, therefore, attack each other under prolonged conditions of stress, as found on all fur farms.

biting minks

bitten mink
This leads to severe flesh and head wounds which remain untreated.
Eyes are poked out.Eye poked out

Animals lie anguished and depressed inside the cages, waiting for an agonising death (Freedom For Animals, 2012)  depressed racoon dog


According to Occupy For Animals, “The intensive confinement of animals, in itself, has always been of environmental concern”. A number of NGOs including the Dutch Bont voor Dieren, the Belgian Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA) and the Italian Lega Antivivisezione (LAV) asked CE Delft, a neutral Dutch company, to research the environmental impact of the fur production chain (2011). This was compared to the manufacture of synthetic materials.

Consequently CE Delft performed a life cycle assessment of fur production, to quantify the environmental impact of the various links in the production chain, “from chicken feed to piece of fur”, so to speak. According to this study, feed is the single biggest expense in raising mink. The Coalition Against Fur Farms considers the cost of feed to be a “weak link” in fur farming, as farmers often cannot afford adequate food for the animals. The production of feed alone has an impact on the environment.
Besides feed, Nitrous Oxide (N2O) and Ammonia (NH3) emissions from mink manure make a noticeable adverse impact on the environment.
With thousands of animals kept in a small area, the build-up of excrement is a concern, as it can be soaked into the soil and end up in the ground water. When it rains it can also run into nearby streams resulting in contamination. Each mink skinned produces about 20 kilos of faeces in his or her lifetime. Furthermore, fur farms are a source of air pollution due to the huge amount of ammonia produced.
Killing methods, such as gassing and electrocution, have an impact on the total carbon output. The pelt is removed from the carcass, cleaned and dried. However, fur is only natural on the animal who was born with it.
The removed skin is processed to transform the stiff pelt to fur, ready for further handling in the fashion industry. This process of chemical tanning stabilises collagen and protein fibre so the skins stop biodegrading. This use of toxic chemicals impacts on the environment. It was found by CE Delft that the climate change impact of 1kg of mink fur is five times higher than the highest scoring textile (wool).
Once these animals are skinned, their bodies should be incinerated but it has been found that many farms merely dump carcasses. Fur farms generate tens of tons of waste from slurry animal corpses and need 20 times more energy than that needed to produce “faux fur”.                                                                                                                                                                                        


To increase the profit margin, the cheapest possible methods are used for killing fur bearing animals. Also, to preserve the pelts, these creatures are put through agonising deaths. They are routinely gassed, anally/ vaginally electrocuted, poisoned, bludgeoned or have their necks broken. Gas (Carbon Dioxide CO2) boxes are used on mink farms where 30 to 50 mink are shoved into one box (see below). Although 100% carbon dioxide induces unconsciousness rapidly, lower concentrations are far less effective. For example, 70% CO2 fail to kill in less than 15 minutes. Of note is that the European Committee Working Party on laboratory animals does not recommend the use of this gas for any carnivore, because of the behavioural distress it causes (2001 – European Commission Health & Consumer protection directorate-general). At times, farmers use homemade gas chambers, such as a box hooked up to a tractor exhaust pipe (Investigation by Born Free). According to Born Free, anal or genital electrocution is one of the most frequently used methods of killing animals. The farmer puts a metal clamp in an animal’s mouth, a metal rod in the anus, and sends a high-voltage current surging through the body. This causes the animal to have a cardiac arrest while still conscious. Sometimes the power surge forces the rod out of the anus, so the procedure must be repeated to kill the animal.

methods of killing

The following photographs show these methods of killing

                                                                                                                                                Gassinggassing method                                                                                                                                                                                                         Anal electrocutionelectrocution 1            Electrocution 2  anal electrocutionelectrocution in ear

man swinging minkBattering to deathbeaten

Breaking necks Necks are broken necks


Swung by the tails and heads beaten into the ground, many are stunned but still alive before being skinned



killingskinning skinning2skinnedLive rabbitThis rabbit is still alive after being skinned


Thousands of pelts                                                                                                                                                           Thousands of peltspeltsTRANSPORTING DEAD MINKS

hanging pelts            hanging pelts

As a result of this fur production, millions of carcasses need to be disposed – many are just dumped. This is a potential environmental hazard.                                 CARCASSES       carcasses1                                                                     The fur industry

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