The Fur Industry: Killing Animals And Destroying The Planet

Author: Miriam Porter:

It’s no longer a status symbol or fashion statement to drape yourself in dead animals, even though some people still do. But just when I thought fur was on the way out many years ago, fur trim made its ugly appearance on the hoods of jackets and became trendy. Canada Goose sold jackets stuffed with down feathers and with coyote fur trim around the hood. Suddenly everyone from toddlers, to teens, to adults started wearing fur again.

But brave and passionate activists spoke out against Canada Goose and other brands like Moose Knuckles across North America for years. We raised awareness on how coyotes and foxes are killed for the fur trim on jackets. Many activists collected fur trim from willing customers that agreed to unzip it so the fur could be donated to animals in need at a wildlife or animal sanctuary. Our activism worked and now fur trim is on the way out too.

Animal Save Movement and Make Fur Farms History protest in Toronto to call for the Canadian Government to ban fur farms.

We must continue the fight against the fur industry and not be silent. Here are some facts to share with people still supporting this barbaric practice. 

Victims of the fur trade

Animals from all different species are victims of the fur trade. 

“Mink, foxes and rabbits are the most frequently bred, but also squirrels, badgers, wallabies, possums, racoons, beavers, lynxes, coyotes, seals, otters, bears, chinchillas, martens, bobcats, dogs and cats are killed for their fur. The number of animals that need to die for one fur coat varies from six to 12 for seals and lynxes, up to more than 100 for squirrels. Even for fur trim, mass production of these items equates to huge numbers of animals who suffer and die unnecessarily.”Animals Australia

Dog and cat fur is also used for fur trim, despite some countries banning this it continues to happen. Regardless, the life of a dog or cat is just as important as the life of a coyote or fox, they all deserve to live in freedom and not be killed for a pompom on a purse or trim on a hood.

LA Fur Save campaigners protesting the Jim Henson Company in Hollywood over their use of feathers in the company's puppets.

Animals are brutally killed (and it’s still happening)

Despite many brands going fur-free, animals are being killed for their fur at an alarming rate.

“In 2022, an estimated 60 mink farms remain in Canada, mostly in the eastern provinces, and approximately 35 fox farms remain in six of the country’s provinces. Canada still produces over one million minks and around 5,000 foxes each year.” – We Animals Media

Fur farmers use cruel and cheap methods to kill the animals such as electrocution, gas, poison, and suffocation.

“When their pelts are at their prime, before they are one year old, the animals are gassed, electrocuted, beaten or have their necks broken.” – Humane Society International

Some animals, like dogs and cats, bred or taken from the street in China for their fur “are squeezed in tiny wire cages like sardines, sometimes transported for days without food or water, hanged, bled to death, beaten to death, strangled with wire nooses and regularly skinned alive.”Animals Australia 

Other animals killed in the fur industry are trapped in the wild and suffer tremendously for days due to blood loss, shock, frostbite, and dehydration. Types of traps include snares, underwater traps, and Conibear traps, but the steel-jaw trap is the most widely used. The American Veterinary Medical Association calls these traps “inhumane.” - PETA

“They may be caught in steel-jaw traps that slam down on their legs, often cutting to the bone; Conibear traps, which crush their necks with 90 pounds of pressure per square inch; or water-set traps, which leave beavers, muskrats, and other animals struggling for more than nine agonizing minutes before drowning.” - PETA

In Canada, activists have been fighting to end the horrific seal slaughter for decades. Baby harp seals are violently bludgeoned with clubs tipped with metal hooks or shot to death for their beautiful fur. Canada also kills hundreds of black bears for ceremonial fur hats by either shooting them or catching them in traps where they are left to suffer for days.

Finland Fur Save campaigners protest in Kokkola to call for a fur-free Europe. Photo: Markku Jokela/Keskipohjanmaa

Fur is hazardous to the environment

“Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals on fur factory farms. These farms can house thousands of animals, and as with other factory farms, they are designed to maximize profits—with little regard for the environment or animals’ well-being.” - PETA

On fur farms, the victims are raised in battery cages where they are deprived of everything that comes naturally to them and live extremely miserable lives. All factory farms, such as those raising cows in the dairy industry, are hazardous to the environment and contribute to global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, ocean dead zones, and the climate crisis. Animals raised on fur farms also contribute to these global issues.

“Intensive fur farms produce tons of manure, producing greenhouse emissions, nutrients flows, loss of biodiverstiy and attracting armies of flies. Waste runoff from intensive fur factory farms is a major pollution problem, contaminating soil and waterways.” – Fur Free Alliance

In addition to pollution caused by manure, harmful chemicals are used in the process of turning animal fur into clothing and the treatments that are used to literally prevent fur from rotting once it’s off the animal. Fur tanning contributes directly to environmental pollution and includes toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and chromium. The Fur-Bearers explain the environmental impacts of the fur industry in more detail on their website.

“Every stage of fur production requires significant resources that impact the environment, from the massive amounts of feed to the toxic chemicals used for pelt processing.” - The Fur-Bearers

There is nothing “natural” or “environmentally friendly” about fur, despite what some advertisers will lead you to believe to try and sell products.  

Not only are fur farms hazardous to the environment, but they are also bad for human health.

“Fur farms also pose a huge risk to public health, with COVID-19 outbreaks occurring on at least three Canadian mink farms. Experts have warned that mink farm outbreaks could cause the virus to mutate, becoming more infectious, more deadly, and resistant to vaccines.” Animal Justice

Valencia Animal Save collect petitions for the Fur Free Europe petition.
Napoli Animal Save street theatre to highlight the horrors of fur.

But is there any good news? Yes, there certainly is! Many countries have banned fur farming, including almost 20 countries in Europe that are setting a humane example for other countries to follow. In 2021 Israel became the first country in the world to ban real fur sales - this is a huge victory! Also in 2021, Canada Goose announced it would stop using fur trim by the end of 2022. Success!! The company that helped make fur trim trendy pledged to go fur-free! Hopefully, one day Canada Goose will replace their down feathers with equally as warm humane insulation.

Meanwhile, in the United States, California became the first state to ban the sale of new fur products, a bill that was passed in 2019 and is now in effect. Cities such as Los Angeles had already banned fur sales.

The list of stores, brands, and fashion designers no longer selling fur products is now so long there is a website dedicated to keeping consumers informed called Fur Free Retailer, an international initiative of the Fur Free Alliance. Although there is lots to celebrate and the future of fashion is fur-free, we cannot be silent until every last fur farm shuts down forever and the sale of new fur products are banned in every country around the world. Together we must continue to speak out against brands that kill animals and destroy our planet.

How you can help:

  1. Ditch materials made from animals such as fur, leather, wool and silk and choose natural plant-based fibres which are better for animals and kinder to the planet.
  2. Download your free vegan action starter kit to get started with a plant-based diet.
  3. Sign the Plant Based Treaty. Your signature will help put pressure on national governments to negotiate an international Plant Based Treaty as a companion to the UNFCCC/Paris Agreement. The treaty calls for system changes such as an end to the expansion of animal agriculture, the redirection of subsidies and public information campaigns, and restoration and reforestation on land and sea.
  4. Make a donation to help us launch and maintain impactful campaigns like Plant Based Treaty, which demands a plant-based food system for the benefit of animals, climate, and health.

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