"Whatever you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it”

Environmentalism – chapter 11 – Blood Fur

mink

I don’t normally speak much on the fur trade however I have noticed in the last ten years that the trade has taken of massively again and it’s now a major international business once again with companies taking millions of dollars per year.

The trade never really did die off to a full extent however with much awareness and celebrity support and vast protests the trade was hit with a substantial loss in profit margin seeing some fur traders eventually putting down tools and moving on.

Climate change cannot be blamed on the sudden increase and influx in the marketing levels here nor can a drop in sales as of wide spread economic recession that’s seen hundreds of thousands made redundant to small high street stores pushed in to liquidation at a rate of 6 a day in the European Union, not to mention large chains this year in 2013 hitting the headlines of the press and media closing resulting in thousands of people made jobless.

We believe the massive upsurge in the fur trade has been caused by a lack of awareness and high profile figure’s that once went against the fur trade now going back to the trade which is seeing more younger people purchase fur thus more animals placed through a life of misery then extreme torturous death just for a fur coat.

I really cannot compare the fur trade to factory and cattle land farming or abattoir abuse as they are both as bad as one another and within the abattoirs the animals hide from cows mainly is used as a bi product to make leather chairs and upholstery, shoes and automobile furnishings.

The fur trade rose from the exploration era mainly of polar of arctic travel which furred animals were used to keep explorers warm, massive urbanization saw many families from these cold areas of mainly indigenous people then move closer inland of which they sold their furs and skins on the street markets to non-indigenous people thus passing on the trade to others creating a horrifying new trend without them really knowing what the future lay ahead for these animals from mink, rabbit, canine, feline, and bear to more.

Exploration teams from Russia, Canada the Americas and Antarctic also brought back with them forms of fur from Polar bear to Artic fox fur that was passed on to others thus seeing more people craving the “luxury” of a real warming fur coat, trim, to gloves, hats boots and more.

The fur trade can be roughly located back as far as 500/600 AD however the trade didn’t really pick of until the 1500’s when exchanges where made between Indians and Europeans. The Europeans are more to blame for the trade hence why there is by far more fur trade and capture in Europe than any other part of the world with China being to date the largest exporter mainly of imported “near finished products” from the European Union and America.

The label at the end of the coat or other material that’s last trade route was for example China will show produced or (made in) in China, however it doesn’t mean that it was mostly manufactured there. It’s much cheaper nowadays to export a luxury product to another nation where other added products and labour is much cheaper which companies practice now regularly. Once the item is finished for example a simple inner lining sown within with, a label will be placed on the finished product stating its final destination as “made in” but not “caught in or 80% produced in”.

The trade took off when the Europeans started their first polar explorations which then unfortunately saw fur “farms” established in North America back in the 1860’s then further on in Canada roughly from the 1890’s of mainly mink and wild fox.

Europe now accounts for some 60-70% of all fur farming with Denmark leading in the mink production of some 28% with China actually being the smallest producer along with the Baltic States, Netherlands and America. The Netherlands is now phasing out fur farming which we will see in the near 2020’s all fur farms banished from the Netherlands. There are 5 licensed mink farms in the Republic of Ireland and, between them, it is estimated that 200,000 to 225,000 mink are farmed a year in appalling conditions.

The United Kingdom banned all fur farming in 2002 along with Croatia then following along with Austria too. There is also wide spread condemnation of fur farming, trapping and trade of which is seeing many organisations and conservationists to animal welfare charities now fighting to end this sick repulsive and bloody barbaric trade.

In the early and mid-1970’s wearing a real fur coat was seen as an extravagance with many rich and famous people purchasing fur not really understanding the cruel and immoral practices that animals are put through when slaughtering is carried out. Nor do they see that trapping and holding in such solitary confined enclosures animals suffering from sores, rotten flesh wounds due to poor farm husbandry, species fighting as of overcrowding to psychological trauma, and death is some cases. The standards by “some” ethical animal welfare groups regarding farms around Europe, and internationally confirms the farms to only be in “fair to moderate standard with neglect and abuse rampant” which conditions are not even fit for a canine or feline.

Fur_Carcasses_Sergey_Maximishin2-1024x682

Emotionally not a pretty site – Picture taken by Sergey Maximishin of a Russian fur farm’s waste pile.

It would be politically incorrect for me to state that fur farming, production and trapping reduced in size as of “animal rights extremism” as this was on a low scale in proportion. And no matter how many (extremist) activities took place copious fur farming and production progressed as the insurance firms were willing to pay out for the damage caused by animal “rightists” and not necessarily the A.L.F/A.R.M as these “non- ALF/ARM combatants” were seen to be opportunists hell bent on causing criminal damage without a real motive or plan that saw many animals once the “rightists” had released them placed back into poorly maintained huts. Insurance companies where paying out to the big farmers as of the “demand” for their top quality skins even though it was disgusting.

However some smaller farms both internationally and within Europe where shut down via arson or harassment to damaging the farmers hard finically which insurance companies couldn’t keep up with continued pay-outs simply because they were new to the market or lacked financial gain to experience.

Demand decreased primarily due to high priced identical line products and lack of design lines from the designers and marketers that where still seen back in the 1970’s-1980’s as vastly uneducated in this area. Campaigns from groups such as PETA (people for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) did play a decent role in this area that aided more trade to decrease however it didn’t and never has halted it even with celebrity pressure and television advertisements to covert militant surveillance uncovering some shocking footage of fur farm cruelty.

fox-fur-05

Fox – Electrocuted to produce less damaged garments via the traditional method of slaughtering.

Sales have regrettably though soared since the 1990’s mostly in China via imports and Europe with new technologies, news designers and more “youth” to the younger rich generation evolving wanting the latest design. Although the trade did take a pounding from PETA with many celebrities explaining the cruel and repulsive barbaric methods used to capture wild animals for fur via trapping, including “fur farming and breeding” and slaughter, some of these celebrities have gone back to their old ways and are again wearing fur.

Was it money and prospects of more sponsors that made them switch back to fur? We believe so hence why we are not a big affluent supporter of PETA as they aren’t a rescue as explained to ourselves by the United Kingdom PETA support in an email regarding Sunder the Elephant plus they use high profile dignitaries and celebrities to carry out their work whilst talking donations for this form of awareness which is more than bribing it’s dirty awareness that we despise.

The suffering;

I have outlined in bullet points the extreme suffering that many animals are put through below to gain fur;

  • Animals such as foxes, mink, ferrets, and sables (an animal in the weasel family) spend their entire lives stacked on top of one other in barren cages with nothing beneath their feet but wire mesh.
  • Animals at the top of the cages are a little more fortunate as they do not have urine and faeces falling on to them like the animals below as of the opened top cages.
  • Animals that are caught in traps desperately try to free themselves thus causing immense pain, suffering to even eating their little legs of to save themselves that sadly then succumb to death.
  • 9/10 many animals are forced to spend their lives in cramped confinements with other animals that have no shelter from the wind, rain, freezing cold or snowy temperatures, lack of water, feed and are left with the same bedding for days on end that they sit rotting in.
  • Nearly all the animals suffer from psychological trauma from head bobbing, pacing, cage bashing, eating their own faeces, self-mutilation, and cannibalization, to species conflict.
  • Minks that normally roam the wild spend most of their days frantically pacing up and down the cages scared witless trying to escape biting their own tail out of anxiety and cognitive stress.
  • Fur farms inflict such terrible psychological trauma on animals that in one study of vixen (female foxes), half of the kit loss that occurred prior to weaning was attributed to infanticide behaviours, primarily mothers eating their young.
  • Many animals suffer skin sores that are similar to bed pressure sores in humans however these sore aren’t caused by resting in the same position for many hours, they are regrettably caused by the animals sitting in their own urine and faeces.
  • Many diseases form in farmed pens of fur farmed animals that don’t in wildly captured animals, the animals suffer tremendous pain, suffering, to prolonged death as of poor farm husbandry.
  • After suffering through years of confinement, animals are killed and skinned for their pelts. Killing methods are typically cheap, crude, and performed in such a way so as not to damage the animal’s fur; there is no such thing as humane “euthanasia” on a fur farm.
  • Caught, caged then farmed for the rest of their life the capturer either keeps the animals to breed on, or slaughterers them by breaking their neck, farmed animals suffer at the hand of their slaughterer from gassing in chambers of which the animals take up to 10 minutes to die or from strangulation, electrocuting via the anus and mouth, or just skinned alive as the fur is less damaged. (Can you imagine being skinned for life)?
  • As quoted above on U.S. fur farms, one of the most frequently used methods of killing animals is electrocution: 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.
  • Then there is lethal injection of various chemicals that kill through paralysis, which can result in immobilized animals being skinned alive and neck breaking.
  • More than 36 million animals die on fur farms around the world each year. Thirty-one million (or about 90 per cent) of these animals are mink. Foxes account for another 4.5 million, while chinchillas, sable, ferret (usually marketed as “fitch”), coypus (an aquatic mammal also known as “nutria”), and raccoon dogs (not to be confused with the North American raccoon), account for most of the remaining half-million animals. Due to the recent drop in pelt prices for mink and fox, some of U.S. fur farms have attempted to “diversify” by raising bobcat, coyote, raccoon, and beavers, along with coypus and rabbits — all in equally abhorrent conditions.
  • When the United Kingdom, Scotland, and Wales stated this “Fur farming is not consistent with the proper value and respect for animal life. This is a moral issue that goes beyond welfare considerations. In the 21st century, animals should not be killed just for the business of stripping their skins off their backs … In a modern society there should be room for Government to make ethical decisions and it is right and proper for the Government to have introduced this ban”.
  • The United States then stated this “the U.S. government seems not to agree with this assessment. In fact, no federal laws regulate how the animals on the nearly 400 fur farms in operation in the U.S. are to be housed, cared for, or killed, fur farming shall continue”.

Animals used for farming;

  1. Beavers
  2. Chinchillas
  3. Dogs and cats
  4. Foxes
  5. Minks
  6. Rabbits
  7. Raccoons
  8. Seals
  9. Bears
  10. Arctic fox

Animals that are used for the “illegal skin/pelt trade that often becomes mixed in with these brands are;

  1. Tiger (critically endangered)
  2. Cheetah
  3. Leopard (critically endangered)
  4. Snow Leopard (critically endangered)

Celebrities that wear fur that should be setting a good example on the younger generation;

These are simply a handful.

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Lindsay Lohan
  3. Paris Hilton
  4. Nicole Richie
  5. Jennifer Lopez
  6. Beyonce
  7. Jay-z
  8. Katie Eary (Designer)
  9. Hardy Amies (Designer)
  10. Ulyana Sergeenko (Modelled for the Time’s)
  11. Kim Kardashian
  12. Ciara
  13. Jessica Alba
  14. GIORGIO ARMANI (Designer)
  15. Rihanna
  16. Kourtney Kardashian, Scott Disick and their son
  17. Chloe Green
  18. Rapper Big Boi
  19. Anna Karenina
  20. Poppy Delevingne

This is just twenty and there are by far many more such as David Beckham and Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss to Naomi Cambel all of these celebrities are still wearing and still flaunting the repulsive disgust without a care in the world of how that dead animal around their waist, neck or head suffered on the fur farm, or whether it spent days in a field trapped in a leg jaw trap suffering agonising pain and discomfort before having its neck broken in two.

fur_farm_CREDIT_Oikeutta_Eläimille-29

Sores on his feet, dehydrated, as well as psychologically disturbed this poor fox still suffered, in pain, eating his own feet out of pure anxiety and cage stress. This is no way to treat an animal, this is disgusting..

Conditions on fur farms throughout Europe are fair to standard with neglect common practice. An undercover investigation by Compassion in World Farming – Ireland and Respect for Animals in 2003 found that mink were kept in cages about 3 foot long and 1 foot wide, plus a small nest box at one end. Fox cages had a floor area of about 4 foot by 4 foot and were about 28 inches high.

A Council of Europe Recommendation Concerning Fur Animals (1999) lays down new cage sizes for fur animals, which came into place in 2010. The new cage sizes are slightly bigger than the cages that were filmed in a 2003 investigation. Fox and mink cages are usually in rows inside buildings that have open sides. The animals’ droppings fall through the wire mesh floor of the cages.

Farmed mink and foxes are fed on a porridge-like food made from chicken, meat and fish offal. This is placed on the top of each cage and the animals eat it through the wire mesh. Mink and foxes are confined in cages throughout their lives until they are taken out to be killed.

In a recent press article read here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christina-anderson/wearing-fur_b_2239881.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false some celebrities give their reasoning as to wearing fur, if only they were taken to a fur farm or wild trapper to view how cruel the conditions are to what these animals go through it “could” change their ways to even supporting the no fur industry.. What annoys ourselves the most is some animal rights groups believe that “trapped animals” are treated (humanely) there is NO humane treatment of any animal that’s to be murdered for human gain.

Fur trade is cruel, barbaric and primitive and although it dates back to the cave man era does it give us the moral rights to then wear it as we believe the animals have been treated fairly? Although PETA claim to have scored victory over the some retailers as stated here “PETA has scored victories by getting major retailers like TOPSHOP, Forever 21 and J. Crew to stop selling fur items – and scored messes by pelting flour bombs at Paris Hilton when she was in London”. Its hasn’t made any difference to the TOPSHOP industry as seen here https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=593287620698148&set=a.188186667874914.55931.176078879085693&type=1&theater  “Chloe Green, television personality, shoe designer and daughter of Top shop owner, paired her gorgeous Barbados holiday tan with a leather jacket with fur trim”

There are many fur retailers in the world from London Canada and Asia

http://www.thelondonfurcompany.com/about.htm

http://sitebuilder.yell.com/sb/show.do?id=SB0001741542000020

http://www.mayfair-london.co.uk/ladies_fashion-FursofMayfairLtd.htm

http://www.furinsider.com/ (Sweet fur stories)

http://www.hockleylondon.com/

http://www.yellowpages.ca/bus/Quebec/Montreal/Nicholas-Turgeon-Fourrures/1807739.html

http://www.kahnertfurs.com/

http://www.hongkongfur.com/

The top listed retailers sell mainly animal fur with little faux fur “fake mixed” nylon material fur within their premises. Prices start from $2,000 to $70,000 for a mixture of animal skin pelts.

In a 2010 investigation in 2010 the investigations showed the following;

In their own words;

For the past year-and-a-half, the Animal Rights Alliance investigation unit has been mapping out the Swedish fur industry. We have combed through environmental inspection protocols, court documents and research reports and what’s more – we have visited one-fifth of the 75 mink farms in Sweden to see them for ourselves. We have discovered major environmental violations by an industry that is already highly-criticized. Above all we have discovered the mink. Clever, beautiful wild mink imprisoned in shed after shed, housing row after row of small dirty cages.

Mink that will never see any water beyond what comes out of a water nipple even though they are hunters that naturally spend half of their life in water. Mink that express so-called stereotypical behavior, endless repetitive motion without purpose, a feeble attempt at dealing with stress and frustration.

We already knew that this would be the case. We were prepared for meeting curious eyes behind bars from animals that are so psychologically-broken that they incessantly circle their cages. We knew that it would be bad, but reality on the farms was worse than we could have ever imagined.

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Scandinavian Fur Farm – Please click the link to view the horror

We understood that the mortality rate would be high. Several reports show that one out of every four or five animals die before they reach 6 months of age. But we didn’t know how they die – and how they suffer. Now we know. We have seen pups chewing on their dead littermates, entire litters where every animals has had its ear bitten off; young animals with gaping wounds on their heads; and fully-grown mink that twist and turn in agony, screaming in panic from pain and illness that minutes later ceases but only with their death.

It has been terrible to see all of this without being able to do anything about it. On our worst days, we felt completely powerless. But we’ve been driven to continue toward our goal – to make public the horrific animal cruelty that occurs on the farms. This animal cruelty cannot continue in silence.

The fourth paragraph of the Animal Welfare Act clearly states that all animals must be allowed to express their natural behaviours and that they must be protected from unnecessary suffering. But Sweden continues to allow mink to be bred and kept in mesh cages that are no bigger than 30 x 90 centimeters before being killed to produce an unnecessary luxury product that nobody needs. In 2003, the Swedish Commission of Inquiry into the Fur Industry gave Swedish fur farms until 2010 to comply with the Animal Welfare Act.  Seven years later we can conclude that the Swedish fur industry has done nothing to improve conditions for mink on fur farms. It is high-time that the fur industry is made history.

The Animal Rights Alliance

The Animal Rights Alliance is a not-for-profit campaigning group that speaks for the animals. Founded in 2005, we have since then brought about the criminalization of bestiality, organized five veggie food conventions and exposed the Swedish pork industry through undercover investigation. Our work for the animals is completely dependent on donations, supporting members and active volunteers.

STEREOTYPICAL BEHAVIOR

“Animals shall be kept and maintained in an environment that furthers their good health and allows them to behave naturally”.  – Animal Welfare Act (1988:534), 4 §

We have filmed evidence of stereotypical behaviour on thirteen of the fifteen farms that we visited. The stereotype, by which we mean incessant repetitive motion that serves no purpose, is a feeble attempt by the mink to deal with stress and frustration. It is a common symptom of an animal’s natural needs not being met “The majority of mink show typical signs of derangement that animals express when confined to areas that are too constrictive” – Sverre Sjölander, Professor in Zoology.

SICK AND INJURED ANIMALS

“A sick or injured animal shall be given necessary medical attention, if the illness or injury isn’t severe enough to justify the animal being put down immediately”.

Animal Welfare Act (1988:534) § 9.

We have found sick animals with infected eyes and ear; unconscious, convulsive and dead animals were found on two-thirds of the farms. Maimed, bleeding animals with torn-off ears, large gaping head wounds and missing limps were found on eleven of the fifteen visited farms. The horrific injuries are the result of fights caused by crowding, in shockingly small cages in the wild mink interact only to mate – but the injuries are also oftentimes caused by self-mutilation. According to 2 § of the Animal Welfare Act, animals are to be “treated well and are to be protected from unnecessary suffering and illness”.

“If a cow becomes sick, then we’re called immediately. But the mink are so many that if one animal becomes sick, then we’re not called – the animal has too little economic value for the farmer. We only get called if there is an epidemic. But every animal has an intrinsic value and the Animal Welfare Act clearly states that if an animal becomes sick, then it must be treated or euthanized. Large farms like mink farms have so many animals that it can take time before illness is discovered”

– My Leffler, District Veterinarian who used to work on mink farms.

DEAD ANIMALS IN THE CAGES

On 80% of the farms, we found dead animals in the cages – in most cases, the carcasses were left among other living animals. In many cases, the carcasses had been half-eaten by their mother and siblings.

“In the natural world, it isn’t normal for a mink to be forced to be around another dead mink.  When it happens on a farm, it can lead to cannibalism because they are so under stimulated and don’t know how to react to the situation” – Mark Collins, Veterinarian

DIRTY CAGES

On 67% of the farms, we found cages where large amounts of faeces had piled up, oftentimes in thick layers. Mink avoid their own feces so when the cage fills up with waste, an already small space becomes even smaller.

ILLEGAL SEWAGE RUNOFF

Manure runoff could be documented at 80% of the farms. Mink manure contains high levels of nitrogen and phosphorus and causes contamination of water and soil if leaked out into the environment. Mink farms are therefore classified as environmentally-hazardous operations. By law, manure must be stored in such a way that it is sheltered from rain while preventing soil seepage.

ILLEGAL HANDLING OF CARCASSES

“Carcasses awaiting transport shall be stored in such a way that disease cannot be spread through contact with wild animals. The waste shall be stored separate from living animals” – Board of Agriculture Regulations 2009:6, section K 14.

Dead mink that had been left to rot throughout and around the farm property, or were otherwise disposed of improperly, were found on 73% of the farms, even though all carcasses must be immediately removed and stored, preferably frozen. Many carcasses had been left to rot for at least 6 months, since the pelting season last November.

CANNIBALISM

We have documented cannibalism on half of the farms. Mink females that kill their young and littermates that kill and eat one another is more the rule than the exception. Cannibalism is caused by stress and lack of stimulation. The mink have no release for their hunting instincts and those mink that fall victim to attack have no possibility to take flight or cover in their tiny cages.“Animals on fur farms have high levels of stress and this can cause cannibalism” –  My Leffler, Veterinarian.

In a 2012 investigation the designer Giorgio Armani;

In PETAs own words;

A disturbing new undercover exposé of rabbit fur farms on two different continents shows that rabbit slaughter, no matter why or where it occurs, is always cruel. The video, narrated by actor Gillian Anderson, shows rabbits kicking and screaming during slaughter. After the skin is ripped from the rabbits’ bodies, it is sold to designers such as Giorgio Armani—who uses rabbit fur in his new designs.

The undercover investigations of rabbit fur farms in China and France—two countries from which Armani buys rabbit fur—revealed pitiful living conditions for rabbits, who are confined to tiny wire cages before they are slaughtered.

In the video footage from the investigation, workers at the Chinese farm pull rabbits out of cages by their ears and shock the screaming animals in the head with a handheld electrical device, often multiple times. Rabbits with slit throats can be seen twitching and shaking, with their eyes wide open, before they die.

Armani now sells fur, including rabbit-fur coats for babies and children. The new designs mean he has broken the promise he made just last year when he said, “I spoke with the people from PETA, and they showed me some materials that convinced me not to use fur.”

Please contact Giorgio Armani and urge him to keep the promise that he made by permanently removing all fur from his collections.

Please also send polite comments to:

Giorgio Armani Corporation

114 Fifth Ave., 17th Fl.

New York, NY 10011

212-366-9720

Still believe fur is ethically correct? We don’t and we are fighting this blood soaked war silently but surely and will cease this repulsive disgust.

Email us for more information at

externalaffairs@international-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

info@internatinal-animalrescue-foundation.org.uk

Donate for a Zoologist in Benue http://fnd.us/c/3PFe2 read more in the link..

Together we can stop abuse – Together we can make change happen

Dr J C Dimetri V.M.D, B.E.S, Ma, PhD , MEnvSc

Apparantly the video below is “ecological mink farming the exact same as “Europe and Canada” so the narrator quotes..

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