Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

EXPOSED: The tragic short lives of foxes on a fur farm

Posted: 26 September 2017. Updated: 30 January 2020


“A LIFETIME” is a new film about the brutal short lives of two foxes, brothers Borys and Eryk, born and killed on a Polish fur farm. Animal Defenders International (ADI) placed hidden cameras on the farm to capture this rare insight into an industry that kills more than 100 million animals a year.

Three arctic foxes are followed from birth on the Polish fur farm – ADI named them Borys, Eryk and Aleska. We see them nursed by their mother and Aleska taking her first halting steps as a tiny cub. Their world is a small wire cage. After a few weeks their mother is removed and we see the growing cubs explore their world and play together. As their coats change to the thick white fur that would protect them through the winter months, their days are numbered; their fur is a prized product.

At less than seven months of age, Boris and then Eryk are dragged from their cage. They have seen other foxes being killed outside their cage and there is nowhere to hide; desperate to avoid their fate, Borys, Eryk and Aleska try to run from the farmer. A terrified Aleska watches as her brothers are pulled from the cage by their tails, one at a time, hung up by a back leg, electrocuted and their bodies thrown on a cart to be skinned. Aleska is spared; she will breed next year’s foxes, her babies will be taken away from her and killed like her brothers.


This is the real cost of fur – when you buy fur, you buy cruelty.

Poland is the fourth largest producer of fox fur in the world – almost all is exported, with the United States being one of the biggest importers. ADI’s previous investigations of fur farms in Finland, the world’s largest producer of fox fur, have shown similar suffering and cruel deaths. The ADI team has also filmed inside farms in the United States and UK; although the UK has banned fur farming, it remains a major dealer, importing and exporting fur.
ADI’s findings reveal a cruel industry built on an image of beauty and luxury, desperately hiding the suffering of sensitive, intelligent, animals being farmed in filthy, intensive factory conditions or trapped for their fur.

  • Wild foxes are forced to live in small bare wire cages.
  • Excrement falls through the cages and piles up beneath them.
  • Animals farmed for their fur are denied their most natural behaviors, the chronic deprivation and extreme confinement causing both psychological and physical damage.
  • Babies are torn from their mothers at just a few weeks old.
  • The stark, filthy fur farm - a far cry from the complex, enriched wild habitat they deserve - takes a toll on their mental and physical health.
  • After only seven short months, baby foxes are dragged from cages by their tails, hung upside down and electrocuted in front of their families and other animals on the farm.
  • The animals are aware of what will happen to them and make desperate attempts to evade capture in the small cage and cling onto the mesh.
  • Animals not killed outright, despite industry claims, and are electrocuted a second time.
  • During ADI’s Polish investigation, one fox completely regained consciousness, ran away and found somewhere to hide. The fox was dragged from his hiding place and hung up again but desperately resisted the probe that he now knew, would kill him.

Update, January 2020: Since our investigation, the farmer, Roman Kuśnierek, has been convicted of cruelty to animals under the Animal Protection Act. Footage from our investigation formed the basis of evidence for the legal case. Brought against the farmer by Fundacja Viva, the organization ADI partnered with on the Polish release of our findings, Kuśnierek received an 8-month prison sentence (suspended for 3 years), was ordered to pay Fundacja Viva approximately £980 (US $1,276) in compensation, and prohibited from breeding animals for 6 years.

Worldwide every year over 110 million animals are killed on fur farms, with more than 16 million trapped in the wild for their fur. Over 15 million foxes are killed in a year, usually for trinkets, trims and accessories but up to 35 foxes can be used to make a fur coat.

Recently, products being sold as “fake” have been found to be real fur – perhaps unsurprising that an industry that treats animals as they do, would lie about it to fool the public into buying their cruel products.

Naturally shy and secretive animals, in the wild foxes have large territories, live in dens below ground in open country and eat a wide range of foods. Arctic foxes like Borys, Eryk and Aleska are nomadic, travelling many miles each day over the ice, enjoying the existence for which they evolved.

On the Polish farm ADI documented foxes with bent feet and overgrown claws, the result of a lifetime stood on a floor of wire mesh; individuals who suffered tail loss, caused by chewing due to stress; an animal with a weeping eye, swollen with pus, that was left untreated; young foxes attempting to play but restricted by the confines of their cage; animals chewing and pawing at their cages in a desire escape and to express themselves in their natural digging behaviors.

The full report is available to download or read online here.


Help end the cruel fur trade!

  • Pledge never to wear fur! Sign the pledge now!
  • Share ADI’s ‘A Lifetime’ video and our 5 fur facts and let others know the real cost of fur.
  • Help get fur farms banned in Poland! Send our letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Poland here.
  • Urge your MP to call on the UK government to stop importing fur and fur products.
  • Secure a fur ban where you live – call on your local representatives to take action!
  • Keep the plight of animals killed for their fur in the press! Click here for a template letter to send to your local news outlets.
  • Politely tell fashion magazines, designers, high street stores, and vintage and charity shops that fur is not beauty or luxury; it’s cruelty. Click here for letter templates.
  • Seen fur on sale? Report it here.
  • Get your pocket-sized resource - our ‘Is that fur real?’ cards! Email us to order yours today.
  • Are you a designer or retailer with a strict no-fur policy? Tell us and join our list of fur-free fashionistas!
  • Support ADI’s global campaign to shut down the fur trade.
  • © Animal Defenders International 2020