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.
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