Many factors influence whether a particular clothing choice may be considered to be ethically or morally acceptable. They include: the… Read More
Many factors influence whether a particular clothing choice may be considered to be ethically or morally acceptable. They include: the environmental impact of producing the raw materials, manufacturing, and eventual disposal of the product; the working conditions of people involved in all phases of production; and the distribution of benefits (e.g., “Fair Trade”).
In the case of fur and other animal-derived products, there are additional considerations. While public opinion research has repeatedly confirmed that about 80% of North Americans believe that wearing fur is “a matter of personal choice”, research has also shown that for the killing of any animal to be considered as ethical or morally acceptable, the following four criteria must be satisfied:
Sustainable Use: The survival of the species should not be threatened;
Animal Welfare: No unnecessary pain or cruelty should be inflicted;
Important Use: Animals should not be killed for frivolous purposes;
Minimal Waste: As much of the animal as possible should be used.
For a full discussion of how the North American fur trade satisfies all four of the criteria required for the ethical use of animals, please visit our blog post: Why fur is the ethical clothing choice
Answer by :
Alan Herscovici, senior researcher, Truth About Fur
Absolutely not. The only “evidence” for this often repeated claim is a horrific video on the internet. Produced by… Read More
Absolutely not. The only “evidence” for this often repeated claim is a horrific video on the internet. Produced by European activist groups, it shows a Chinese villager cruelly beating and skinning an Asiatic raccoon that is clearly alive. There are several indications that this shocking scene was intentionally staged.
Apart from the obvious cruelty, it is much safer and easier to euthanize an animal before skinning it. So why would anyone do this? It is also odd that this video – and only this video – has been shown repeatedly since it was first released by Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) in 2005; if this were really common practice, we would expect to see many other examples.
In fact, when this video first appeared, the International Fur Federation requested the full, uncut film – and information about when and where the incident occurred – in order to conduct a full investigation. These requests went unanswered, a strange reaction from groups claiming to be concerned about animal welfare. Unless, of course, someone was paid to do these horrible acts for the camera and the real objective was to drive animal-rights campaigning ... and fund-raising?
UPDATE: "Film denouncing fur deemed 'staged' by IFF investigators". Women's Wear Daily, March 5, 2019.
Condensed from: 5 Reasons Why It Is Ridiculous to Claim Animals Are Skinned Alive, TAF - The Blog, Jan. 20, 2016.
1. It would be completely inhumane
Contrary to what activists would have us believe, most farmers take great pride in what they do; they take good care of their animals and treat them with respect. After all, their livelihoods depend on these animals, and the only way to produce the high quality of mink and fox for which North America is known is by providing them with excellent nutrition and care. When you work hard to care for animals – seven days a week, 52 weeks a year – you certainly don’t want to see them suffer.
It is therefore completely ignorant (and insulting) to claim that farmers would treat their animals with cruelty. They certainly would never skin an animal alive!2. It would be dangerous for the operator
If respect for the animals and normal compassion were not enough to ensure that animals are not skinned alive, the farmer’s self-interest would be. A live and conscious animal will move, putting the farmer at risk of being bitten or scratched or cut with his own knife – creating a real risk of infection or disease transmission.
Why would anyone expose themselves to such risks by skinning a live animal? The answer, of course, is that they don’t!3. It would take longer and be less efficient
We’ve already explained the dangers of skinning a live animal – only common sense when you think about it – but let’s also take a moment to consider how difficult it would be.
Farming is a business and, like in most businesses, it is important to be efficient. Clearly it must be faster to skin an animal after it’s been euthanized. It is also important to understand that the skinning of a mink or other fur animal must be done very carefully, to avoid nicks and other damage that would lower the value of the fur.
So, again, why would anyone skin a live animal? Quite apart from the cruelty, it would make no business sense whatsoever.
4. It would spoil the fur
While activists like to accuse farmers of being greedy (“killing animals for profit!”), they don’t seem to understand that skinning animals alive would work against the farmer’s financial interest.
Today’s international markets are very competitive. The amount you earn for your fur is determined by a number of factors including pelt size, fur quality, colour … and damage. But the heart of a live animal would be beating and pumping blood; attempting to skin a live animal would therefore unnecessarily stain the fur.
Furthermore, after euthanasia, fur animals should be cooled thoroughly before pelting. Otherwise the fur can be damaged and the hair is prone to shed after tanning.
Yet another reason why animals are not skinned alive.
5. It’s illegal
In North America, Europe, and most other regions it is illegal to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal. Skinning an animal alive is therefore not only inhumane and immoral – it’s clearly illegal. Yet another reason why animals are not skinned alive.
Ryan & Minette Kole, trappers (British Columbia, Canada): That’s pretty well impossible with today’s strict, government-regulated trapping seasons and… Read More
Ryan & Minette Kole, trappers (British Columbia, Canada):
That’s pretty well impossible with today’s strict, government-regulated trapping seasons and other rules. As trappers, our goal is to maintain stable and healthy wildlife populations; we don’t want to deplete our own resource – that would put us out of business! The real threat to wildlife today is not hunting or trapping, it is the destruction of the wilderness areas by industrial activity – and trappers are the ones who are out there monitoring what’s really happening out in the bush, sounding the alarm and working with logging companies and government to protect that natural habitat. Regulated hunting/trapping is a solution, not a threat.
Truth About Fur:
Historically, there were few regulations governing hunting and trapping, and some species were indeed seriously reduced, including some local beaver populations. Starting in the early 20th century, a body of regulations began to be built, to control harvests at the state and provincial level, and internationally to ensure that wildlife species were not endangered by trade. Today, fur trapping regulations are designed to ensure the sustainable use of this valuable, renewable natural resource.
Meanwhile, the growth of fur farming (in particular of mink) functions as a safety valve, reducing pressure on wild populations when demand increases.
Thanks to modern fur-management practices and regulations, all the fur used today is taken from abundant populations. Beavers have made a spectacular recovery from historical over-harvesting, and are now abundant across North America. Raccoons, coyotes and foxes are more abundant than they have ever been.
Answer by :
Ryan & Minette Kole, trappers (British Columbia, Canada); Truth About Fur
Farmed mink are usually euthanized with carbon monoxide (CO) gas that very quickly renders the animals irreversibly unconscious. From… Read More
Farmed mink are usually euthanized with carbon monoxide (CO) gas that very quickly renders the animals irreversibly unconscious. From an animal-welfare perspective, it is also an advantage that mink are euthanized in the barn where they live, by people who feed and care for them every day. Food animals, by contrast, must be transported to often distant abattoirs; being loaded and unloaded from trucks and confined in close quarters with many other animals is often the most stressful part of the slaughtering operation for food animals.
Answer by :
Dan Mullen, President of the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association
“The method of euthanasia on a fox is done by electrocution, and it’s been studied to no end and found… Read More
"The method of euthanasia on a fox is done by electrocution, and it’s been studied to no end and found to be a very humane and proper method of euthanising. There’s numerous ways it can be done but we have to balance with the industry and this one fits into the industry. Electrocution is used in poultry, it’s used in pigs, it’s used in foxes, and the training and the testing has shown that 100% of the animals are dead within 10 seconds, and there’s no end of studying how to decide they’re dead, and to make sure that the lay person can be assured of that.
"The products are made commercially, which is something I like. It’s not electrocution made by the farmer as to what he thinks is going to do the job. He has a commercial unit for doing this, proper ways of doing it. There’s quality control to make sure this machine is going to work, and that it’s going to do what it’s supposed to do and make that animal dead within 10 seconds."
Over the years trappers have sought to improve their traps so they would be both humane and capture-efficient. Today, foothold… Read More
Over the years trappers have sought to improve their traps so they would be both humane and capture-efficient. Today, foothold traps are used for different reasons like research and animal relocation. Traps are designed to hold an animal without causing injury.
Read more about Trap Research & Testing (Fur Institute of Canada)
The US mink industry operates under a strict set of guidelines for best management practices. There is a myriad of… Read More
The US mink industry operates under a strict set of guidelines for best management practices. There is a myriad of laws, both at state and federal level to prevent animal cruelty and promote animal welfare. Mink farmers must abide by these laws like other sectors of farming. If cases of abuse or neglect arise – and they are very rare -- they have consequences, just like for anyone else. Furthermore, Fur Commission USA has developed standards for animal care and certifies mink farms that meet or exceed them.
Canadian mink and fox farmers – like other sectors of animal agriculture -- follow recently updated Code of Practice to ensure the welfare of their animals. The Codes of Practice were developed by veterinarians, animal scientists, farmers and animal-welfare authorities and provide farmers with clear guidelines for raising healthy mink. Under the auspices of the National Farm Animal Care Council, the industry is now developing an inspection and certification system to provide additional assurance that the codes are being properly implemented in farms across the country.
Answer by :
Michael Whelan, Executive Director of the Fur Commission USA
Dan Mullen, President of the Nova Scotia Mink Breeders Association
A veterinarian answers: While most people eat meat, some suggest that using animals for other purposes may be less defensible…. Read More
A veterinarian answers:
While most people eat meat, some suggest that using animals for other purposes may be less defensible. From an ethical perspective, however, what is important for the animal is that it be raised and, if necessary, slaughtered in a humane way. The environmental impacts should also be considered, because farmed mink and foxes are fed by-products from our food production that would otherwise end up in landfills. And while fur is the main product, mink oil is also valuable for leather preservation, while the carcasses, manure and soiled bedding are composted or used to produce organic fertilizers and even biofuels.
A fur executive answers:
Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but ethics also should include the obligation to respect the right of others to decide for themselves if they choose to wear fur ... or to use leather, wool or other animal products. What is important in each case is that the animals be treated responsibly.
In the case of mink, it is also important to know that fur is not the only product. Although fur is the most important product, mink oil is also important (it is considered to be the best conditioner for leather), while the manure is a valuable organic fertilizer. Mink carcasses and soiled bedding (straw) are also composted to produce fertizers. And on the Pacific North-West, fishermen prize mink remains as the best crab bait.
Answer by :
Dr. Dave MacHattie, mink veterinarian
Michael Whelan, Executive Director, Fur Commission USA
Answered by biologists. The whole principle of carrying capacity is that if you let animals flood their environment they are… Read More
Answered by biologists.
The whole principle of carrying capacity is that if you let animals flood their environment they are subject to diseases, shortage of food, and starvation in the winter months. The trapping principle is that in the fall of the year, when the population is at its highest, you remove some individuals. In doing this, you remove the competition of food, you remove the severity of winter on the individuals that are left, and their reproductive rates are great They are in good shape in the Spring (as opposed to when they are overpopulated) and the population bounces back. You have a sustainable population rather than a boom and a bust, and that is the purpose of wildlife management.
Trapping today is a strictly regulated activity. Trapping practices are controlled by laws that ensure strict animal-welfare standards as defined by veterinary pathologists. We have humane standards and certified traps. Most animals are now captured in lethal traps that can kill virtually instantly. Larger predators are taken in modified live restraint traps that generally cause few injuries. Only a few furbearing species are still captured with modified restraining or cage traps, which have been shown to cause few or no injuries.
Scientific research established cage sizes to ensure that mink are provided with a comfortable living space in a farm environment…. Read More
Scientific research established cage sizes to ensure that mink are provided with a comfortable living space in a farm environment. Farmed mink, moreover, are not “wildlife kept in captivity”. Mink have been raised on farms in North American for more than 100 generations: 2,000+ years in human terms! Farmed mink are domesticated animals, and farmers are responsible of ensuring their welfare with proper nutrition, housing and care. Ranchers work hard to raise healthy animals; in fact, their livelihood depends upon it!
The way in which farmed mink are raised has been refined and perfected over many years. This work is guided by research to determine optimal cage size and design, nutrition and recommended husbandry practices, in order to ensure the health and well-being of the animals.
Answer by :
Kirk Rankin, President of Canada Mink Breeders Association