CW: Mentions of animal abuse.
The fur trade is responsible for the murder of millions of animals every year. With the use of fur farms, trapping in the wild and animal hunts to supply the fashion industry, the suffering is endless. All, so that we can wear stylish coats, fur-rimmed hoods, gloves, shoes and those pretty little pompoms on our winter hats. This is the sad truth about fur in fashion. But there are ways to help and most importantly, to avoid buying real fur.
Every year, around 100 million animals are bred and slaughtered on fur farms specifically to supply the fashion industry. Animals such as mink, rabbits, chinchillas and foxes are unwillingly killed for our fashion needs. And not just killed, but tortured. The conditions in these farms are cruel and unforgiving as animals are confined in tiny wire cages for their entire lives. With no space to express their natural behaviours like digging, running and swimming, they suffer great emotional distress. The psychological effects result in repetitive pacing, self-mutilating behaviours and fighting other caged animals. This is no life for an innocent creature.
Not only are the living conditions unforgivable, the methods of slaughter are inhumane. Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruellest killing methods available. Animals are frequently beaten and skinned while still showing signs of consciousness. They’re gassed and suffocated. Head to tail electrocution is often used to preserve the pelts, a method which inflicts severe pain on the animal. As an animal-lover, I can’t imagine the lack of empathy it takes to do this to an innocent life.
Trapping in the wild
Animals like coyotes, foxes and bobcats are killed in the wild every day by vicious traps. These contribute to over 5 million deaths each year and occur mainly in the US, Canada and Russia. The devices used such as steel-jaw leghold traps, body gripping traps and wire neck snares cause indescribable suffering. Trapped for days on end, animals often try to escape and some die trying. Mothers desperate to return to their pups even attempt to chew off limbs to escape. If that doesn’t kill them, blood loss, dehydration and hypothermia sometimes do. But most animals are still alive when their trapper returns. To avoid damaging the pelt, the animal is usually choked, bludgeoned or stomped to death.
Wild traps don’t discriminate. They catch the first animal to step in them which means that countless animals which weren’t intended to be caught also lose their lives. Dogs, cats, deer, birds and many endangered animals are injured and killed by accident. They’re referred to by trappers as “trash.” Due to weak regulations on trapping, most of this animal suffering goes undocumented.
Canada’s annual commercial seal hunt is the largest and most brutal slaughter of marine mammals on the planet. Over one million seals have been killed in the last 5 years alone, mainly for the use of their fur. Thousands of baby harp seals are clubbed and shot every year, with many skinned alive while conscious. 95% of the seal pups killed are just a few weeks old. Not one veterinary report can deny that this practice is one of the cruellest slaughters. Regulations allow sealers to kill using wooden clubs (tipped with metal hooks) and guns. Sealers have been witnessed dragging conscious seals across the ice with boat hooks, shooting seals and leaving them to suffer in agony, stockpiling dead and dying animals and cutting open live seals.
What can we do?
The harsh reality of the fur industry is a bitter pill to swallow. I know, it’s hard to read. But through understanding the cruelty involved, any decent human being would stop buying real fur. We need to stop glamorising fur in the fashion industry while turning a blind eye to the suffering it causes. The progression of vegan fashion is way forward which allows us to shop more consciously. The fur free retailer is a great tool to help us seek out fur-free companies to shop with. There are also countless petitions we can sign to reject the use of fur. If we all take actions to support a fur-free fashion industry, we can end this senseless suffering of animals. All it takes is a collective effort to make a change.