Fur sales have been on the rise recently and reached record highs in 2013. Why on earth is this? There is no question that the practices used in the fur industry are inhumane. In this unregulated industry, the animals harvested for their coats are treated in cruel, barbaric manners. So why are fur sales increasing?
In the present day, there is absolutely no need for fur, with all of the technology and synthetic fibers that are available to us. In the distant past, in cold climates, clothing was made out of fur out of necessity. There were no equally warm alternatives available, so people needed fur as protection from the elements in order to survive. Also, animals were harvested for their fur in a much different manner than they are today. Hunters would personally harvest and skin the animals, bringing home the fact that they were taking a life. Also, in most cases, the animals killed would be used for more than just their coats – often, the flesh of the animals would be used for food and their bones for making tools.
Today, 85% of the skins in the fur industry come from animals who were held captive on fur factory farms, where they live their miserable lives crammed into crowded, filthy wire cages before being skinned alive. These animals, such as minx and foxes, are naturally wild animals and do not adapt well to life in captivity. Wild mink typically roam a territory of about 741 acres in size. Contrastingly, farm-raised mink are confined to 12” by 18” wire cages. Confinement like this often results in self-mutilation, cannibalism, and high levels of stress, which weakens their immune systems and makes them more susceptible to diseases.
After living lives of misery, these poor animals are also killed in barbaric manners. Farmed mink are killed by gassing, violent neck breaking, poisoning, or electrocution through the anus, all of which are slow grueling deaths.
Angora wool, which many might think is a more human alternative to fur, is actually terrible as well. Although the rabbits are not killed when their fur is harvested, the process is not at all pleasant. Before researching for this post, I pictured happy bunnies frolicking along, enjoying their lives, and occasionally being brushed gently to obtain their fur. In reality, the angora rabbits are kept in tiny cages and every three months, people come and rip the fur out of their skins until they are completely bald. After this ordeal, the rabbits lie motionless inside their cages, stunned and in shock, waiting to recover until this ordeal is repeated once again.
Although all of this is very depressing, don’t be discouraged! You can make a difference by abstaining from buying fur! If there were no market for fur, these atrocities would not be happening to these animals.