The Truth About Animal Agriculture

The fur trade accounts for about one-quarter of one percent of the animals we use for food, clothing and other purposes each year.

In North America, about 95% of the people eat and wear products from animals. Worldwide, we use animals in many ways: for food, clothing, companionship, medical and scientific research, entertainment and transport.

Animal welfare is a top priority for the people working in the fur industry because when animals provide us with a wide range of products and services, we have a responsibility to ensure the highest standards of care and prevent unnecessary suffering.

Click on the tabs below for insight into some misconceptions about fur and mink farming in today’s world.

FICTION: Animals are routinely skinned alive for their fur.

FACT

This scurrilous claim continues to circulate, due to the horrendous video produced in 2005 by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP), in which an Asiatic Raccoon is skinned alive somewhere in rural China.  When the video surfaced, the Chinese authorities demanded to know details in order to prosecute the collaborators on animal cruelty charges, but SAP has refused to provide the original, un-edited footage, or provide any information on the participants or the locations used in the video.   Upon further review,  audio indicates that the participants were being coached from behind the camera. Their refusal to answer to the authorities or the public leads most of us to believe that  this cruel and gruesome video was staged merely to further their animal rights agenda.  Recently, PETA Asia, after using this claim for years against the fur industry, stated that “PETA has never suggested that animals are intentionally slaughtered this way”

Respected media outlets have refused to air the video as its credibility cannot be established.  The fur industry is universally appalled by the video and fully supports prosecution of those involved in its creation. No legitimate fur producing operation would ever condone such practices. For more information on staged video used for animal rights propaganda, see Saving Society from Animal “Snuff” Films” and “Media Wary of Latest Shock Video”.

FICTION: Fur farming is an un-regulated business conducted behind closed doors.

FACT

Like other livestock operations, fur farming is governed by local, national and sometimes international regulations.

As with all livestock producers, fur farmers receive information and assistance from licensed veterinarians and agricultural extension officers, as well as professional associations.

In addition, fur breeders’ associations in all major producing countries follow comprehensive animal husbandry practices developed in cooperation with scientists, veterinarians and welfare authorities. There are set standards for nutrition and housing, veterinary care and humane harvesting.

In the U.S., standards for mink farms are administered by Fur Commission USA, and for fox by the US Fox Shippers Council.  In addition to these standards, fur farms, like other livestock operations, are required to abide by all state and federal environmental statutes.

FICTION: Mink are raised and killed solely for their fur.

FACT

Although fur is the primary product for mink farmers, nothing is wasted.

An important secondary product is the highly valued oil produced from the mink’s thick layer of subcutaneous fat. Mink oil is used to condition and preserve leather, and also in the manufacturing of hypo-allergenic facial oils and cosmetics.

After harvesting, mink remains are used as crab bait, or processed into feed for wildlife preserves, zoos or aquariums. They also make a very sought-after ingredient for organic compost, or they may be rendered down to provide raw materials for a wide range of products, from pet food and paint, to tire-care products.

Last but surely not least, the nutrient-rich manure from fur farms is in heavy demand as an organic crop fertilizer.

FICTION: Farmed mink suffer and die painfully.

FACT

When it comes to euthanasia, fur farmers adhere strictly to the methods recommended by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Thus the only method of euthanasia approved for mink harvesting in the U.S. is gas: either pure carbon monoxide (CO), or carbon dioxide (CO2).

When harvest time comes, a mobile unit is brought to the animals’ pens to eliminate any stress that might be caused by transporting the animals long distances. The animals are placed inside an air-tight container and immediately rendered unconscious.  They die quickly and humanely.

FICTION: Fur is a vanity product, purchased only by the very wealthy.

FACT

Recent surveys indicate the number one reason people purchase a fur coat is for its warmth.  So it goes that fur sales increase when we experience colder winters, and decrease during milder weather cycles. Produced by nature, fur is isothermic, providing exceptional insulation while being lightweight and beautiful.

Furthermore, today fur is available in combination with other materials (e.g., as trim on parkas) or in smaller pieces (scarves, headbands, vests, accessories) which makes fur very accessible for almost anyone.

Because each piece is hand-made individually by skilled artisans, fur products may often be more expensive than the synthetic outerwear mass produced in automated environments — but fur is also very long-lasting, which makes sense for the environment as well as for the pocketbook.

More Information on Animal Husbandry and Animal Rights

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Why Fur Is Back in Fashion

Animal skins are being embraced by designers amid a push to make the lives and deaths of captive creatures more humane.
During Milan Fashion Week, one of the major exhibitions for new collections, a woman wears a coat made of mink and fox. Many women who came to see the new collections were wearing fur.
Top models who once posed for ads with slogans like “We’d rather go naked than wear fur” have gone on to model fur.