Find Out. Get Smart. #MakeFurHistory

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Over a 100 million animals are killed every year for their fur, 85% of them are raised on industrial farms and 15% hunted in the wild. Both "production" methods are unspeakably cruel - and no commercial fur is a byproduct of slaughter for meat. // Read more about the lies of the fur industry.

 

The great majority of fur trims and accessories we see on the street have been processed in China and stem from one particular animal: The asiatic raccoon or raccoon dog, often falsely labelled as "raccoon". It resembles the raccoon but is part of the canine (dog) family, and as opposed to the american raccoon is bred on a large scale in China, where practically no animal welfare laws apply. 

// At harvest season Chinese fur "farms", a worker might make as little as 90 cents per killed animal - they have to work fast which leads to animals being skinned alive because they haven't been killed properly.

But not only in Asia - animals in the Americas and in Europe suffer for fur as well. On European fur farms, minks and foxes spend their entire lives confined in tiny wire cages, unable to fulfill any of their natural needs. On Finish fur farms, arctic foxes are overfed to the point where they can't be recognized, only to produce more fur. The recommended killing methods for mink and foxes in Europe and gassing and anal electrocution. 

Wild hunting is not much better: For brands like "Canada Goose", wild coyotes - who are directly related to domestic dogs - die a slow and painful death. Caught in steel leg-hold traps, they will often spend days in agony before being found and shot. Coyote mothers are known to try and chew their own limbs off in am attempt to get back to their young. Meanwhile, her babies will be killed by predators or die of hunger.

Find Out. Get Smart. The lies of the fur industry

🤔 "A small fur trim is not as bad as a whole fur coat." 

 

Only a few years ago, wearing fur was a no-go and the fur industry was practically dead. But with the introduction of fur accessories and fur trims on coats and caps, the textile industry has managed to bring real fur back and to saved the fur industry’s life - despite the fact that it's methods are cruel and unsustainable as ever.

Fueled by increasing demands in China, Russia and Europe, the global fur industry has grown rapidly in recent years - with worldwide sales going up over 70% since 2001. Around 85% of fur sold globally comes from industrial breeding farms (the remainder from trapping and hunting wild animals).

So if you think that a fur trim is "not as bad" than a whole fur coat, think again. Over a hundred million animals die for fur every year - a majority of them are bred on farms, solely to provide for our fur trims and accessories. 

Those animals are often subjected to even worse mistreatment than those used for full coats – as smaller pieces of fur are needed, there is even less care to prevent disfiguring injury or disease, poor quality fur is simply discarded.

// Read the National Geographic's article "Why Fur Is Back in Fashion".

🤔 "There is good fur and bad fur. Our fur is the good one." 

Over one hundred million animals are killed for their fur every year, with China being the largest producer of fur globally. But Europe is not innocent - its biggest producers are Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands and Finland. In fact, more than half the world's mink are bred in Scandinavia and two thirds of all fox bred for fur come from Finland. Other significant producers globally include the USA, Canada and Russia. 

 

Mink and fox are the main species bred in fur factory farms outside of China, where mostly raccoon dog furs are exported. US breeders are experimenting with beaver, lynx, raccoon, wolverine and coyote whilst in Eastern Europe even domestic cats are being reared for their skins. 

// Recommended killing methods for mink and foxes on European fur farms are gassing an anal electrocution.

🤔 "With fair fur, animal welfare laws apply." 

In Europe, there is currently no species-specific EU legislation setting welfare standards for fur animals - and the Chinese market is so huge and unmanageable that animal welfare laws are hardly applied. The animals - mostly carnivores that roam over a large territory in the wild - are housed by the thousands in small barren cages that fail to accommodate any of their natural behavior. As a result, they suffer from numerous stress-related health problems such as infected wounds, missing limbs, cannibalism and stereotypical behavior. 

The most commonly used methods of killing animals on fur farms are gassing, neck-breaking and anal electrocution. During the "harvest" on Chinese fur farms, raccoon dogs are pulled out of their cages and beaten against the bars to break their necks. Per killed and skinned animal the workers earn 70 Cents; having to work fast is the reason why the animals are often still alive while being skinned.

🤔 "Hunting wild animals for fur is natural and necessary." 

Each year, millions of wild animals are killed for their fur - such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes, lynx, raccoons, and wolves. Most fur from animals trapped in the wild comes from the USA, Canada and Russia. Although statistics are hard to obtain, published figures certainly do not include the large amount of animals that is trapped and then "disposed of" - because their fur has no value. As the falsely trapped animals often belong to endangered species (whose killing can lead to prosecution), the evidence remains concealed

 

Trapping is inherently violent; steel leg-hold traps are designed to crush animals in a grip rather than kill them - meaning they inflect great injuries to the animals and keep them from fending off predators. For brands like Canada Goose, wild coyotes are hunted with such spring traps or snares. After being caught, some may die from bloss loss or exhaustion, others will chew off their trapped limb in a desperate attempt to escape. Often, they will suffer for days before the trapper returns to kill them. 

 

While hunting with jaw traps is prohibited in Europe, it's common in North America and Canada. Some trapping regulations do exist but are often ignored - as there are no authorities present when traps are set or an animal is killed, and most states don't even require trappers to report the number of animals they kill. This allows them to openly use illegal snares and to capture animals out of season.

🤔 "Real fur is a natural and sustainable product." 

Contrary to common belief, fur is neither a natural nor a sustainable product - its manufacturing process employs hundreds of toxic chemicals and is highly detrimental to the environment. Animals are raised in wire mesh battery cages so that their feces don't have to be cleaned up. The animal wastes contain high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus.

// Fur farms account for 85% of the world's production of animal fur, so enormous amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus are added to the environment - 1'000 tons by the US mink industry alone.

The Industrial Pollution Projection System rates the fur dressing and dyeing industry one of the five worst industries for toxic metal pollution to the land. Excess levels of nitrogen and phosphorus are the most common form of water pollution in the United States. In addition to polluting waters, gases released from the manure also pollute the air. Carcasses are commonly disposed of by incineration, which produces more air pollutants like carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), sulfur dioxide (SO2), hydrochloric acid (HCl), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dioxins, particulates and heavy metals.

Air pollution is also a major concern when it comes to tanning, whereby toxic substances are typically emitted. Furthermore, in the process of tanning with chrome, the dangerous Chrome 6 can be produced (allergenic, carcinogenic), putting factory's workers health at risk. Furthermore, costumers aren't safe: When fur trims were tested for chemical residues, elevated concentrations of formaldehyde, insecticides and DDTs were found. 

🤔 "Fur that is sold in Switzerland has to be declared and there cannot be animal abuse."  

In Switzerland, a detailed ordinance for declaration of furs and fur products is in place since 2014. The tag on each product containing fur must indicate the animal's species, its origin and its rearing method (wild or factory farmed). As opposed to Swiss regulations, labelling obligations in the EU do not have to contain species and origin. 

But what good does that do? Not much, unfortunately. Primarily because the declaration provides a number of loop holes for retailers. When it comes to defining the rearing method, a strange phrase is employed: "Can stem from trapping or hunt without traps or from any possible rearing method, particularly from cage management". This confuses costumers more than it informs them, basically saying that it could've ben anything. 

 

// When it comes to the origin, it's often not specifically determinable which country a fur comes from. Stating the "smallest possible geographic area" in that case is fine with the Swiss ordinance, so costumers can't even find out if their fur is from China (your tag might just say "Asia").

 

On top of not being effective, the ordinance is also not being applied. The Swiss Animal Protection did random inspections in seven major Swiss cities, and found that 86% of all tested fur items were either incompletely, falsely or not labeled at all.

// Update: Due to several complaints in the Swiss Parlament, the ordinance for the declaration of fur and fur products is currently being revised. It wants to include the term "real fur" but will also create even more loop holes concerning origin and rearing methods.

🐰FIND OUT. GET SMART. #MAKEFURHISTORY ✊

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