The Fur Industry

If we were to look at a coat made of fur, a coat advertised in a magazine or, perhaps, during a Fashion Week—on a runway—it would be easy to overlook the fact that animals had suffered for their skin. Amongst the glitz and glamor, the process behind creating such a stunning object is hidden in a shroud of beauty.

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But it is true to say that behind the scenes, all is not glitz and glamor. In fact, animals are electrocuted, beaten and skinned alive for their fur, and all this happens for that perfect coat.

New York aside, a state in which electrocuting animals is illegal, animals are often zapped via their anuses or genitals in order to reduce the impairment done to animals' fur. It is an inhumane killing process that is 'justified' all for the sake of fashion and beauty.

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Environmental complaints are piling up. Massive algae blooms on sensitive waters surrounding fur farms in Nova Scotia have forced day camps to close and rendered once-beautiful cottages worthless. Waste and carcasses attract predators to rural properties (and are then shot). And the incredible volume of feces and urine produced by each mink or fox often seeps into the ground.

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Approximately 85% of the industry's furs come from animals that were kept confined in fur factory farms. Here, the animals are cramped into overcrowded, unhygienic wire cages. Later, they are skinned alive.

Fur farms are not only inhumane, unhygienic places, but they also damage the environment. Yearly, approximately one million pounds of feces are created by animals on U.S. mink farms. From this phenomenal amount, nearly 1000 tons of phosphorus is produced, polluting rivers. But it doesn't stop there. Once an animal has been killed, toxic chemicals are applied to the fur, preventing it from decomposing later on.

In China, no consequences exist for people who mistreat and abuse animals on fur farms. And China is one of the world's biggest exporter of fur. It provides over half of the fur garments of the United States, and more than two million cats—as well as thousands of dogs—are hammered, lynched, and skinned alive, just for their fur.

A shocking one billion rabbits are slaughtered every year for their fur, which is used for clothing and other purposes.

But the animals are slaughtered in different ways too. Nearly one third of fur sold in the U.S. is from animals that have been slayed by steel-jaw traps. These traps jam shut on the limbs of animals, causing agonizing pain for the animal, leaving them trapped and starved for days.

The good news: Farms can’t afford to stay open. Despite claims that the fur industry is an important economic powerhouse in Canada, some of the largest operations have shuttered their doors for good in the once-booming western Nova Scotia region, sending hundreds of part-time, seasonal workers, scrambling to find secondary employment. This comes on the heels of farm loan extensions and a massive $20,000,000 bailout in 2014.

Written by Sophia Francis Mills

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