|For at least ten years, the international fur industry has waged a coordinated, well
funded and slick global PR campaign aimed at dispelling the moral stigma attached to
wearing fur. Mixing fur with silk, wool, suede and leather, employing new manufacturing
processes such as shearing and knitting, as well as new fashionable colours, have added
novelty and versatility to fur. Steadily increasing marketing of fur accessories and
clothing and footwear with fur trim (e.g. collars, scarves or on hoods) has almost
imperceptibly brought fur back out onto the streets.
Eighty five percent of the world s fur originates from farms. China is the world
s largest exporter of fur clothing and according to industry sources, the biggest
fur trade production and processing base in the world. Wild species bred for fur include
red and arctic foxes, raccoon dogs, mink, and Rex Rabbits. According to Chinese fur
industry sources, a growing number of international fur traders, processors and fashion
designers have gradually shifted their business to China, where cheap labour and the
absence of restrictive regulations make life easier and profit margins broader.
In all farms visited in China, animals were handled roughly and were confined to rows of
inappropriate, small wire cages. Signs of extreme anxiety and pathological behaviours were
prominent throughout. Other indicators of poor welfare include high cub mortality and
Between November and December, foxes are sold, slaughtered, skinned and their fur is
processed. Animals are often slaughtered adjacent to wholesale markets, where farmers
bring their animals for trade and large companies come to buy stocks.
To get there, animals are often transported over large distances and under horrendous
conditions before being slaughtered. They are stunned with repeated blows to the head or
swung against the ground. Skinning begins with a knife at the rear of the belly whilst the
animal is hung up-side-down by its hind legs from a hook. A significant number of animals
remain fully conscious during this process. Supremely helpless, they struggle and try to
fight back to the very end. Even after their skin has been stripped off breathing, heart
beat, directional body and eyelid movements were evident for 5 to 10 minutes.