The Fur Industry

by PETA

Whether it came from an animal on a fur farm or one who was trapped in the wild, every fur coat, trinket, and bit of trim caused an animal tremendous suffering—and took away a life.

Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.

More than half the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there's no way of knowing for sure whose skin you're in.

Animals who are trapped in the wild can suffer for days from blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. 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.

During the annual Canadian seal slaughter, tens of thousands of baby harp seals are shot or repeatedly bludgeoned with clubs tipped with metal hooks. Also in Canada, hundreds of black bears are shot at point-blank range or caught in traps and left to suffer for days so that their skins can be used to make the ceremonial hats worn by Queen Elizabeth II's Five Guards' Regiments.

Luckily, there is no need to be cruel to stay warm and look cool. Cruelty-free fabrics and faux furs are available in stores everywhere, and PETA continues to work with designers and clothing retailers to encourage them to use and sell only animal-friendly fabrics.


THE CHINESE FUR INDUSTRY


There are no penalties for abusing animals on fur farms in China, which is the world's largest fur exporter, supplying more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States. Foxes, minks, rabbits, dogs, cats, and other animals pace and shiver in outdoor wire cages, with no shelter from driving rain, freezing nights, or the scorching sun.

Mother animals, who are driven crazy from rough handling and intense confinement and have nowhere to hide while giving birth, often kill their babies after delivering litters. Disease and injuries are widespread, and animals suffering from anxiety-induced psychosis chew on their own limbs and throw themselves repeatedly against the cage bars.

Before they are skinned, animals are yanked from their cages, thrown to the ground, and bludgeoned. Undercover investigators from Swiss Animal Protection/EAST International found that many animals are still alive and struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them.

When they begin to cut the skin and fur from an animal's leg, the free limbs kick and writhe. Workers stomp on the necks and heads of animals who struggle too hard to allow a clean cut.

When the fur is finally peeled off over the animals' heads, their hairless, bloody bodies are thrown onto a pile of those who have gone before them. Some are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps and blinking slowly. Some of the animals' hearts are still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned. One investigator recorded a skinned raccoon dog on the heap of carcasses who had enough strength to lift his bloodied head and stare into the camera.

When investigators went into another animal market in southern China, they were horrified to find dogs and cats being bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur could be turned into trim and trinkets.

They found cats and dogs languishing in tiny cages, visibly exhausted. Some had been on the road for days, transported in flimsy wire-mesh cages with no food or water.

Twenty cats were forced into a single cage. Because of the cross-country transport in such deplorable conditions, the investigators were able to see dogs and cats with open wounds, dying cats and dogs inside the cages, and dead cats on top of the cages. Some animals were lethargic or frightened, and others were fighting with each other, driven insane from confinement and exposure.

Up to 800 animals are loaded onto each truck, with cages stacked on top of each other. Cages containing live animals are commonly tossed from the tops of the trucks onto the ground 10 feet below, shattering the legs of the animals inside them. Many of the animals still had collars on, a sign that they were once someone's beloved companion, stolen to be made into a fur coat.

This fur from China is often deliberately mislabeled as fur from other species and is exported to countries throughout the world to be sold to unsuspecting customers in retail stores. Since China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States and since dog and cat fur is often mislabeled, if you're buying fur, there's no way to tell whose skin you're wearing, including that of a dog or cat.

Fur Farms

Eighty-five percent of the fur industry's skins come from animals on fur factory farms
—dismal, often filthy places where thousands of animals are usually kept in wire cages for their entire lives. As on factory farms where animals are raised for food, the methods used on fur factory farms are designed to maximize profits, always at the expense of the animals.

To cut costs, fur farmers pack animals into unbearably small cages, preventing them from taking more than a few steps in any direction or doing anything that is natural and important to them, such as running, swimming, making nests, and finding mates.

Many animals go insane under these conditions. The anguish and frustration of life in a cage leads many animals to self-mutilate, biting at their skin, tail, and feet; frantically pace and circle endlessly; and even cannibalize their cagemates.

Rows of cages are often housed in giant, dark, filthy sheds or barns where the ammonia from the animals' accumulated urine and feces burns their eyes and lungs, or they may simply be lined up outdoors, where animals have no protection from bone-chilling cold, driving rain, or sweltering heat. Parasites and disease run rampant on fur farms, making these animals' already miserable lives even more unbearable.

Animals on fur factory farms are fed meat byproducts considered unfit for human consumption. Water is provided by a nipple system, which often freezes in the winter and can also fail because of human error.

Unfortunately, no federal humane slaughter law protects animals on fur factory farms, and killing methods are gruesome. Because fur farmers care only about preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but that can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Some animals even wake up while they are being skinned. Animals have clamps attached to or rods forced into their mouths and anuses, and they are painfully electrocuted. Genital electrocution—deemed "unacceptable" by the American Veterinary Medical Association in its "2000 Report of the AVMA Panel on Euthanasia"—causes animals to suffer from cardiac arrest while they are still conscious.

Other animals are poisoned with strychnine, which suffocates them by paralyzing their muscles with painful, rigid cramps. Neck-breaking is another common slaughter method on fur factory farms. The fur industry refuses to condemn even blatantly cruel killing methods.

As a consumer, you can help put an end to this cruel practice by refusing to buy any products made with fur, including fur trim.

Fur Trapping

Although most animals who are slaughtered for their fur are raised on notoriously cruel fur farms, millions of raccoons, coyotes, wolves, bobcats, opossums, nutria, beavers, otters, and other fur-bearing animals are killed every year for the clothing industry by trappers.

There are various types of traps, including 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." This simple but barbaric device has been banned by the European Union and a growing number of U.S. states, including Colorado, California, Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Washington state. Arizona does not allow the use of steel-jaw traps on public lands
.
When an animal steps on the spring of a steel-jaw trap, the trap's jaws slam shut on the animal's limb. The animal frantically struggles in excruciating pain as the trap cuts into his or her flesh, often down to the bone, mutilating the animal's foot or leg.

Some animals, especially mothers who are desperate to get back to their young, attempt to chew or twist off their trapped limbs. This struggle may last for hours. Eventually, the animal succumbs to exhaustion and often exposure, frostbite, shock, or death.

Another cruel trap, the Conibear trap, crushes animals' necks, applying 90 pounds of pressure per square inch. It takes animals three to eight minutes to suffocate in these traps. Victims of water-set traps, including beavers and muskrats, can take more than nine agonizing minutes to drown.

Because predators mutilate many trapped animals before the trappers return, pole traps are often used. A pole trap is a form of steel-jaw trap that is set in a tree or on a pole. Animals caught in these traps are hoisted into the air and left to hang by the caught appendage until they die or the trapper arrives to kill them.

If trapped animals do not die from blood loss, infection, or gangrene, they will often be killed by predators or hunters. To kill the animals without damaging their fur, trappers strangle, beat, or stomp them to death.

Every year, dogs, cats, birds, and other animals, including endangered species, are crippled or killed by traps. Trappers call these animals "trash kills" because they have no economic value. Some states have regulations on how often trappers must check their traps, and the frequency with which trappers are required to check can vary from 24 hours to one week. Other states, however, have no regulations at all, and animals can suffer for days before they die.

Trapping is an integral part of the fur industry. The only way to ensure that you are not supporting this cruel practice is to refuse to buy any fur or fur-trimmed clothing.

Canadian Seal Slaughter

Each year, the Canadian government gives hunters the green light to bludgeon to death hundreds of thousands of baby harp seals. During the slaughter, baby seals are shot or repeatedly clubbed. Sealers bludgeon the animals with clubs and "hakapiks" (metal-hook–tipped clubs) and drag the seals—who are often still conscious—across the ice floes with boat hooks.

Hunters toss dead and dying seals into heaps and leave their carcasses to rot on the ice floes because there is no market for seal meat. Veterinarians who have investigated the slaughter have found that hunters routinely fail to comply with Canada's animal welfare standards.

Baby seals are helpless and have no way to escape from the sealers' clubs. A Washington Post article on the seal slaughter described it this way: "[A] seal appearing to gasp for air, blood running from its nose as it lies on an ice floe. Not far away, a sealer sharpens his knife blade. The seal seems to be thrashing as its fur is sliced from its torso."

The Christian Science Monitor wrote: "The few terrified survivors, left to crawl through the carnage. The shouted obscenities and threats from the sealers, gunfire cracking ominously in the distance. The pitiful cries of the pups; the repellent thuds of clubs raining down on soft skulls. Sealers' laughter echoing across the ice floes."
Many seals who are killed are 3 months old or younger. Many have not yet learned how to swim or eaten their first solid meals.

The sealing industry claims that it is killing more seals because of an increased demand for fur. Although the U.S. banned the sale of seal fur in 1972, anyone wearing the fur of minks, rabbits, foxes, or any other kind of animal is responsible for creating a demand for fur, which pushes Canadian hunters to club more seals each year. Then in 2009, the European Union voted to end the sale of seal products, and the U.S. Senate unanimously passed U.S. Senate Resolution 84, calling for an immediate end to the annual seal slaughter.

Please tell everyone you know about Canada's cruel slaughter of baby seals and urge them to contact the Canadian government to ask for an immediate end to this cruel slaughter


ANIMALS USED FOR FUR


Beavers
Beavers are extremely gentle, family-oriented animals who mate for life and remain lifelong friends with their offspring. The second-largest rodent in the world, the beaver can live 19 years, reach 60 pounds, and grow up to 4 feet long. Baby beavers, or "kits," are usually born to hard-working, loving parents who have been together for many years. Female beavers are especially busy as they care for their young while looking after their rambunctious "teenagers."

Chinchillas
Chinchillas are shy, intelligent animals who eat vegetables and fruits and can live up to 15 years in the wild. Social "chatterboxes," these sensitive nocturnal animals can spend all night long "talking" to one another. Fastidiously clean, they require frequent dust baths to care for their extremely dense fur. These "fluff fests" also provide invaluable moments of comfort and entertainment—moments that are denied caged chinchillas who are cruelly "farmed" for their fur.

Dogs and Cats
"Man's best friend" killed for fur? It's not just a bad dream. PETA's recent undercover investigation into the Chinese dog and cat fur trade revealed what the industry is so desperate to hide. Even our veteran investigators were horrified at what they found: Millions of dogs and cats in China are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets.

Foxes
Foxes are intelligent nocturnal animals who rely on their big bushy tails to spread scent in order to communicate. Foxes usually survive by eating fruit, berries, roots, carrion, rats, and slugs. Foxes play an important ecological role, as they "clean" the environment, and their survival often depends upon the amount of available food in their territories. They bury food and have a very good sense of hearing, picking up sounds of small animals in the grass, underground, or under the snow. They have a keen sense of smell and will hunt from dusk to dawn.

Minks
Sometimes called "marsh otters," minks love to swim (aided by their slightly webbed hind feet) and are often found near water. They can swim to depths of 50 feet underwater on just one breath. In the wild, minks are generally territorial and solitary and often travel long distances, sometimes using the dens of other animals as "hotel pit stops." Minks prefer habitats that provide good cover—such as grass, brush, trees, and aquatic vegetation—and they make their dens in cavities in brush or rock piles, logjams, and exposed roots of trees.

Rabbits
Rabbits are extremely social animals who live with their families in underground burrows called "warrens." They can hop faster than a cat, human, or white-tailed deer can run. Rabbits love nibbling on alfalfa, timothy hay, apples, carrots, and crisp, green veggies, and they chew vigorously to trim their front teeth, which never stop growing. They communicate through body language, marking their territories like cats by rubbing their chins on twigs, rocks, or other landmarks.

Raccoons
Raccoons can be recognized by their beautiful eyes, which are outlined by a black mask of fur. They have thick, fuzzy brown-gray fur, and highly sensitive ears tufted with white fur. Those who live in humid, dense forests have darker fur than those in arid climates, where raccoon fur is a lighter, reddish color. Their bushy tails keep them balanced and stores fat during winter months, while their front limbs provide them with great manual dexterity.

Seals
For thousands of years, harp seals have migrated from Greenland down the coast of Canada, stopping each spring to give birth on the ice floes.

Bears
For nearly two centuries, Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) has waged a war on black bears, subsidizing the slaughter of hundreds of these animals in Canada and using their pelts to make headpieces for The Queen's Guards.

Bears are cruelly killed for their hides; they are either shot during hunts or ensnared, sometimes for days, in painful traps. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources reports that during hunts, as many as one bear in seven is not killed immediately after being shot, and some escape wounded, often dying later from blood loss, gangrene, or starvation.

Mother bears who are killed leave behind orphaned cubs who are completely dependent on them for food during their first 17 months. When left alone in the wilderness, the cubs often cannot survive. In many areas, there are few restrictions against shooting mother bears with nursing cubs, leading to the destruction of entire families.

It is common for bears to be hunted at bait sites. Food is left regularly for hungry bears so that they will become accustomed to going to the same spot to find food. Hunters then hide in tree stands and shoot at the bears who come looking for their regular meal.

Although the MoD has acknowledged that it is time for a change, it has delayed taking any action. It is inexcusable that the same army which is capable of building some of the most sophisticated equipment and machinery in the world claims it is unable to find a synthetic replacement for bearskins after almost three decades of "searching" and despite the wide availability of luxurious synthetic materials. Meanwhile, it is money from buyers such as the British Army that keeps hunters making profits from killing these animals. Bears aren't crops to be "harvested"; they are individuals who live in families and feel pain and terror when shot.


DOWN PRODUCTION:  BIRDS ABUSED FOR THEIR FEATHERS


The coldhearted and cruel down industry often plucks geese alive in order to get their down— the soft layer of feathers closest to a bird's skin. These feathers are used to produce clothing and comforters, but for geese, the down industry's methods are anything but comfortable.

Undercover video footage shows employees on goose farms pulling fistfuls of feathers out of live birds, often causing bloody wounds as the animals shriek in terror. The frightened animals are often squeezed upside down between workers' knees during the painful procedure—in one instance, an investigator photographed a worker who was sitting on a goose's neck in order to prevent her from escaping.

Live plucking causes birds considerable pain and distress. Once their feathers are ripped out, many of the birds, paralyzed with fear, are left with gaping wounds—some even die as a result of the procedure. Workers often sew the birds' skin back together without using any anesthetics.

That's not all—buying down can also support the cruelty of the foie gras and meat industries because many farmers who raise birds for food make an extra profit by selling their feathers as well. When these birds are slaughtered, they often have their throats cut or are dumped into tanks of scalding-hot water while they're still conscious.

It's impossible to tell whether the down used in the products you buy was obtained from live-plucked birds. The only way to stop live plucking and ensure that no birds suffer for your clothing or bedding is to choose cruelty-free materials.

If you haven't already done so, please share this information on Facebook and Twitter with everyone you know so that they, too, can make the compassionate choice to pledge to be down-free. You can also spread the word to everyone that you come in contact with by wearing "Down Hurts" merchandise! That way, everyone will know that the down industry abuses birds.

Ducks and Geese Used for Food

Ducks on many foie gras farms are confined to cages so small that they can't even move.

Admired by parkgoers everywhere, ducks and geese are some of America's best known and most beloved animals. Ducks and geese are comfortable in water, on land, and in the air. In their natural habitats, they fly hundreds of miles each year to migrate. Both ducks and geese fly and swim in formations that reduce air and water resistance for the birds in the rear. Ducks live in couples or groups, and pairs of geese mate for life, mourning for lengthy periods when their partners die.

While most people don't think of ducks and geese when discussing cruelty to farmed animals, these birds are severely abused by the meat and foie gras industries.

Ducks and geese raised for their flesh spend their entire lives crammed in dirty, dark sheds, where they suffer from injury and disease and are deprived of everything that is natural and important to them. At the slaughterhouse, many birds survive the electric stunning process and are still conscious as their throats are cut and they are thrown into the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tanks.

Ducks and geese raised for foie gras have pipes or tubes shoved down their throats three times daily so that 4 pounds of grain can be pumped into their stomachs to produce the diseased "fatty liver" that some diners consider a delicacy. When their diseased livers swell to up to 10 times their normal size, the birds are sent to slaughter. There are no federal laws or regulations protecting ducks, geese, and other birds from cruelty at slaughter.


Take a stand against cruelty and sign PETA's pledge to be fur-free today.  Go to
http://www.petatv.com