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Fur Farms Still Unfashionably Cruel

Fur seems to be making a high fashion comeback, the September issue of National Geographic reports. “The current revival is a story of the fur trade responding to its critics and often outmaneuvering them, combined with increased demand from the newly wealthy in China, South Korea, and Russia,” writes Richard Conniff.

After the animal welfare movement hit a high-water mark in the 1990s, the movement has lost some ground. Nearly two-thirds of women’s 2016 fall fashion collections featured fur, according to the International Fur Federation.

Less clear is the extent to which fur use has filtered down to the general population, and with China and Russia’s economies slowing, there are signsthe industry has lost some momentum recently. This year the global fur industry is projecting a 33 percent drop in production—about 54 million minks worldwide compared to 72 million in 2015, reports Kopenhagen Fur, the world’s largest fur auction house.

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Welfare problems of battery cages

Mink and foxes, the main species of animals reared in fur factory farms, are active wide-ranging carnivores and inherently unsuitable to be kept in wire mesh battery cages.

The behavioural needs of animals kept for fur cannot be met on fur farms

  • Animals kept for fur have been subjected to relatively little active selection for tameness and adaptability to captive environments
    • Mink and foxes are highly inquisitive and wide-roaming predatory animals
    • The battery cage system deprives animals from the opportunity to express their species-specific behaviour

       In nature:

      ●       Mink daily cover wide territories between 1 and 3 km2(@designer: square km)

      ●       Solitary animals

      ●       Semi-aquatic. Swimming and diving are highly significant aspect of their lifestyle

      ●       Stereotypies such as fur chewing and circling, do not occur in nature

      On fur farms: 

      ●       Mink spend their entire life in a wire mesh battery cage typically measuring 90x30x45 cm

      ●       Live extremely near other mink unable to avoid social contact

      ●       Cannot run, swim nor hunt

      ●       Deprivation of swimming water results in the same stress level as deprivation of food

      ●       Foxes have complex social lives: they form pairs and live in family groups

      ●       Dig dens with many tunnels

      ●       The red fox (with a territory of 0.5-10km2) covers 10 km daily and the arctic fox (with a home range of 20-30 km2) migrates around 100 km in one season

      Farming Minks

      Minks are carnivorous mammals in the weasel family native to North America. Their silky fur has kept people warm since at least the 11th century.

      “A mink coat is the coat to many women—and to growing numbers of men,” says Fur Commission USA, the United States’ primary fur trade organization.

      Perhaps for that reason, the production of mink furs has shifted from trapping in the wild to farming in captivity. Through the use of selective breeding, fur farmers have produced minks in shades of black, auburn, cream, and silver.

      China’s 35 million pelts accounted for about 40 percent of the market in 2014, according to the International Fur Federation. In comparison, the next biggest producer, Denmark, produced 17.8 million that year, according to Fur Europe, the umbrella organization that represents Europe’s fur industry, followed by Poland (8.5 million), the Netherlands (5.5 million), and Finland (2.5 million). The U.S., also a major producer, contributed about 3.75 million mink pelts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported.

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