As any animal lover will tell you, the fur industry is one of the cruelest imaginable. Each year an estimated one billion animals are bred, raised, and killed on fur farms around the world for their pelts. In addition to breeding animals for fur inside of farms, other animals are caught in wild traps for their pelts. Some of the animals destined for fur coats, boot linings, and other fashion accessories include raccoon dogs, rabbits, foxes, mink, chinchillas, dogs, cats and more. Sadly, once in processing facilities, they are kept in wire cages until they face death through a variety of means, all of which are chosen to avoid damaging the animal’s valuable fur, including gas chambers and neck breaking.

And now we have yet more disturbing news from the cruel fur industry … recently, animal rights group Oikeutta eläimille (Animal Justice) released a new undercover investigation from five Finnish farms showing overweight blue foxes. It’s believed that by breeding these animals to be so overweight, the fur farmers can maximize the amount of fur from each animal.

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The caged foxes weigh five times more than would they normally weigh in the wild. According to Oikeutta eläimille, in the wild, female blue foxes weigh about 3.5 kilograms (around 6 pounds), but the fox they photographed at the farm was estimated to weigh more than 19 kilograms (40 pounds). 

The foxes are so overweight that their movements are labored and they are hardly recognizable as foxes. All for people’s vanity…

Steven Frostdahl of the Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association told YLE that the foxes’ lush, luxurious coats in the pictures were due to the animals having been selected for breeding and that the animals had likely since been put onto a so-called breeding diet and lost weight.

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The Finnish Fur Breeders’ Association asked for the locations of the fur farms where the footage was taken so that veterinarians can be sent to check out conditions on-site.

Animal welfare legislation in Finland states that breeding that causes suffering is forbidden. The skins of the animals in this latest undercover footage are sold under Saga Furs brand. 

Of the skins sold at the last auction by Sage Furs, 83 percent belonged to the biggest sized groups, according to Oikeutta eläimilleThe skins sadly end up in many luxury fashion houses, such as Louise Vuitton, Gucci, and Michael Kors.

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There is no true humane way to care for or kill thousands of animals at a time (or to kill animals at all, really). Although they may claim to care for the animals in their care, fur farms are mere businesses that view their animals as commodities. Animal welfare, more often than not, takes a backseat as fur farms – like any business – will always attempt to maximize their profits while cutting costs and labor. When dealing with animals, this often means worse conditions and incredibly cruel treatment – regardless of the industry.

Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves if we really need to wear fur; unlike the animals who are brutally slaughtered to produce our fur hats, coats, and shawls, we do not need fur. There are plenty of cruelty-free alternatives that can keep us warm without causing any harm to another living being.

If you are ready to remove yourself from the cruel system that is the international fur trade, check out these quick and easy tips to make the transition:

  • Always be certain to check clothing labels carefully to discern where the garment is from (faux fur from China has been mislabeled and sold in the U.S.) and if any animal products were used to make the clothing.
  • Know the difference between real vs. faux fur.
  • When all else fails, shop cruelty-free.
  • Support organizations like the Fur Free Alliance.

For more information on Oikeutta eläimille and how you can get involved, click here. Together we can end this cruel industry!

Image source: Oikeutta eläimille/Flickr