Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

Fur: the facts

Posted: 26 April 2012. Updated: 21 April 2015


For the facts on fur, please read our quick guide to frequently asked questions, below. You can also read our report and video from our investigation, Bloody Harvest: the real cost of fur.

Q. Arenít animals used to produce fur domesticated?

Fox and mink, the most popular species of animals farmed for fur, are wild animals: they retain all of their wild instincts and needs. They are shy and fearful of humans and other animals. In an intensive farming environment, they suffer mentally and emotionally.

Mink are territorial and would naturally spend much of their time in water. However, our investigation reveals that on these farms they do not have any access to water. Instead, they are left in barren cages, unable to express either their swimming or foraging behaviour.

Foxes, being naturally secretive and shy animals, would in the wild live below the ground in dens. However, our investigation reveals that these foxes spend their lives in barren cages exposed to humans and other animals, and with minimum or no enrichment.

Q. What kinds of problems did the animals have?

  • Obvious signs of untreated infection or disease in animalsí eyes, noses and ears
  • Foxes with visible gum masses, sometimes entirely engulfing the teeth
  • Open wounds, loss of tails
  • Malformed limbs
  • Dilapidated cages with sharp wire and mesh protuding into animalsí living space, likely to cause injury
  • Empty, unclean and broken water bowls
  • Behavioural abnormalities, indicative of psychological damage

Q. Was this in all the farms? Arenít there laws to protect animals in Finland?

ADI investigated the conditions in a random sample of 30 fur farms in Finland producing mink and fox skins for the worldwide industry. It is expected that the Finnish Fur Breeding Association has certified several of these farms, by acknowledging that pelts are produced according to high animal welfare standards. However, not one of the fur farms observed reflects the assurances given by the Finnish Fur Breeding Association certification programme. On the contrary, the conditions in which these animals are kept flies in the face of the Finnish animal welfare legislation and EU legislation.

Q. What are the laws in other countries?

Several EU countries have taken a compassionate step and banned fur farming, including the UK, Austria and Croatia. The Netherlands has already banned fox and chinchilla farming, and is currently discussing legislation to ban mink.

Q. If itís banned in my country, why do I have to worry about it?

Designers and consumers must take responsibility for creating demand for a product that causes millions of animals to suffer unnecessarily and die painfully.

People who wear fur must become more aware of the way in which the product they are wearing is being produced. Recently, there has been an increased awareness of the way the clothes that consumers wear are manufactured Ė and animal welfare should be a part of this.

Designers must become more engaged in scrutinising the source of their products by inspecting the conditions of the animals being bred and killed for the material they desire. They must go beyond accepting the industryís assurances that their products have been ethically produced.

© Animal Defenders International 2020