Animal Defenders International


Animal Defenders International

A Lifetime: Killing

Posted: 25 September 2017. Updated: 26 September 2017


Electrocution is a common killing method for foxes, as well as raccoon dogs, and restraint devices like neck tongs and nose clips are commonly used. Animals die from heart attack and loss of brain function.

Foxes were dragged from their cages by their tails, the struggling animals hung up by a rope tied around the back foot and from a hook. Two prods were used to send an electrical current through their bodies, one placed either on the animal’s foot pad or inserted into their rectum, with the other put into the mouth. Some foxes watched their terrified family members and neighbours die. Some could be heard screaming or yelping when the electric prod went into their mouths; when they did not fully bite the prod, the farmer made additional attempts.

The fur industry claims that killing animals for fur is humane, with Fur Europe stating “…that many people lack information on this matter and often believe that cruel killing practices are used, which is very far from the truth…”, and “In practice, animals are euthanized by either gas (CO2) or electricity, thus avoiding unnecessary pain and stopping heart function quickly.”

ADI’s evidence exposes the reality: as the farmer kills one fox, the previous fox can be seen lying on the floor, still breathing after being electrocuted by prods applied to the foot and mouth. The farmer had to hang the fox up a second time and use anal and mouth electrocution to kill the animal.

A study by Agrifood Research Finland on this “traditional” method of killing, suggests that “electrical stunning produces an immediate and irreversible state of unconsciousness and therefore is a humane way of euthanasia of farmed foxes”. The European Commission also states that “Foxes and raccoon-dogs are commonly electrocuted by an apparatus with two electrodes, one being inserted in the rectum while the other is applied to the mouth. It is believed to induce unconsciousness immediately if the apparatus is used properly”.


In another incident, ADI recorded how a fox regained consciousness after electrocution and tries to escape. The fox is seen writhing on a trolley of dead foxes, as the farmer continues killing others, watched by those in a cage behind him. The farmer notices the movement and the fox jumps off the trolley and scrambles away, only to be re-caught and hung up for electrocution again. As the farmer grabs the fox by the scruff of the neck, the frightened animal knows what is about to happen and desperately tries to avoid biting the electrical probe. The farmer hits the animal on the face with the prod, trying to force the fox’s mouth open and eventually the animal is killed.

The ‘Truth About Fur’ website by the fur industry of America and Canada, states that “Electrocution is used in poultry, it’s used in pigs, it’s used in foxes, and the training and the testing has shown that 100% of the animals are dead within 10 seconds”. The ordeal for the animals we observed clearly lasted longer than 10 seconds. During another killing, a conscious fox was left hanging by their back foot, struggling for nearly two minutes while the farmer answered his phone.

Mink farmed for fur are gassed in a “killing box” with 30-50 other individuals. It takes around 1 minute for them to become unconscious, with some dying from suffocation due to the number of animals in the box. Other methods to kill animals intensively farmed for their fur include injection with chemicals and, for chinchillas, neck breaking.

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