Finally! The infamous “skinning fur animals alive” video has been exposed as a complete fraud, orchestrated and paid for by animal activists to discredit the fur trade. There is probably no single animal-rights lie that has done more harm to the reputation of the fur trade than this video, first released by a Swiss animal-rights group in 2005.
Entitled “The shocking reality of the China fur trade”, the video shows two men in a dusty Chinese fur market town, beating and then skinning an Asiatic raccoon that is clearly still alive. The video went viral and was subsequently repackaged by PETA and many other animal-rights groups around the world as “proof” that animals are abused in the fur trade. It is the centrepiece of campaigns to convince designers to stop using fur, and politicians to ban fur farming or even the sale of fur products.
Most recently, this vicious lie was repeated in support of a proposal to ban the sale of fur products in New York City, notably by the proposer of the ban, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson, and actress Angelica Huston, in an opinion piece published in a New York paper.
SEE ALSO: New York fur ban: Furriers fight to save sustainable industry.
But now, an investigation by the International Fur Federation (IFF) has revealed – and documented with filmed confessions and signed affidavits — that the horrible scenes shown in that disgusting video were, in fact, intentionally staged by professional activists who paid poor Chinese villagers to perform these cruel acts for the camera.
People in the fur trade have known from the start that the scenes shown in the video did not represent normal practice. In 2016, TruthAboutFur published “5 reasons why it’s ridiculous to claim animals are skinned alive”. That article attracted enough attention that it generally pops up first on Google if you search for “skinning animals alive for fur”. But pictures speak louder than words, and shocking videos are grist for the Internet mill. What was needed was absolute proof that this video was staged – and now we have it.
Road to Shancun
The IFF sent an investigative team to China to search for the men shown in the shocking video, and they found them – in the dusty market town of Shancun, a few hours drive south of Beijing.
In a new documentary video released by the IFF, the men testify that they were bribed by a woman, who they now understand was a professional activist, to carry out the horrific stunt.
The two men provided sworn affidavits about that fateful day – damning evidence of a calculated conspiracy to mislead the public and damage the fur industry.
Even now, after so many years, every time I think about what we did it makes me uncomfortable.
The two men, Ma Hong She and Su Feng Gang, were working in the Shancun fur market when they were approached with a bribe. “We were working that day and a man and a woman approached us,” said Mr. Ma in Chinese. “They had a camera and were filming. We asked ‘What are you doing?’, and the woman said her grandfather had never seen a raccoon skinned alive. She asked if I would do it, and she’d like to film me doing so.
“I told her we can’t do that because the animal might bite us. She said she’d buy us a good lunch, or she’d give us a few hundred Yuan to buy our own lunch. After we finished the skinning we felt uncomfortable. It was cruel for the animal. Even now, after so many years, every time I think about what we did it makes me uncomfortable. It is something we regret. This video was posted on-line. When we saw the video, we felt unwell just to realise that we had been used by these people.
“I worked in the skinning area for two years. We’d never skin animals alive, and I’ve never seen anyone skin an animal alive,” said Mr. Ma.
“Rag-bag Package of Lies”
Mark Oaten, IFF CEO, said: “We have endured 13 years of lies and smears against our industry but we have finally ended this once and for all. We aim to explode the myth with irrefutable proof that the animal rights movement is behind a cynical stunt to discredit our industry.
“We do not skin animals alive and animal rights activists are aware of this,” said Oaten. “This is why they have had to stoop to bribery to try to damage our industry. We want to send a clear signal to anyone who seeks to deny consumers the freedom of choice by these quite wicked and, frankly, twisted tactics – if we find you out, we are coming for you and we will expose you. And if you repeat this behaviour, we will sue you for damages.
“Our industry is no longer prepared to sit back and allow these fanatics to march into the boardrooms of designers and bandy around a rag-bag package of lies and prejudice about our business. My team has gathered a solid dossier and we look forward to challenging every animal rights group which continues to use this staged video,” said Oaten.
Sick, But Not the First Time
So now we know: the cruel actions shown in this video were intentionally staged to make a vicious anti-fur propaganda piece. It’s a sick thing for anyone to do – hard to even believe – but it’s not the first time animal activists have stooped this low to falsely claim that animals are “skinned alive”.
The film that launched the first anti-seal hunt campaigns, in 1964, showed a live seal being poked with a knife by a hunter – “skinned alive!” the activists cried! But a few years later the hunter, Gustave Poirier, testified under oath to a Canadian Parliamentary committee of enquiry that he had been paid by the film-makers to poke at the live seal, something he said he would otherwise never have done. [For more on this, see my book, Second Nature: The Animal-Rights Controversy (CBC 1985; General Publishing, 1991), pg 76.]
Now, more than 50 years later, we finally have proof that this more recent claim of “skinning animals alive” is also a complete fabrication, based on another staged video. The IFF has exposed the truth; now it’s up to each of us to share this link to its documentary every time this malicious activist lie is published.
HELP EXPOSE THIS BIG FAT ACTIVIST LIE! Please share this blog post, or copy this link to IFF’s video every time you see activists claim that fur animals are “skinned alive”, in news reports or comments: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6joIOEk6JU&feature=youtu.be.
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Rubbish. The video says it all. Vanity upon vanity to take an animals skin to adorn the body of the vain where there are many substitutes. Fur farmers themselves should enter cages and be gased and their skin removed to adorn the body of a mink. Nonsense. Ban fur farming#
Sorry, you’re wrong. I have seen all of the video that’s available and, more importantly, listened to the original unedited audio. Without any doubt whatsoever, this particular video was staged. Please try to accept that some animal rights groups are prepared to go to any lengths to advance their cause.
There are videos from the Yulin dog eating festival that surface yearly showing many animals skinned alive, blowtorched alive, amongst other vile tortures done to them – while they are alive.
These videos can’t all be staged.
I believe that this video is legit.
Hi Elisa, you raise a very important issue. We are absolutely confident that this video was staged, and that animals are not skinned alive for the fur trade. However, as you say, it is a fact that animal welfare standards are not the same throughout the world. For Westerners, it is of course a major concern that welfare standards in countries such as China do not match their own. However, from the fur trade’s perspective, we must also be very wary of tarring everyone with the same brush. It is one thing to condemn the treatment of dogs at a food festival, but quite another to conclude that the same standards are applied in all trades. They are not.
The video is legit. One way or another, it was real. I’m sure it’s not industry standard to do it that way, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t really bad furriers out there. The guy either didn’t know what he was doing, couldn’t afford shears, or was encouraged to do it. Either way, it was a furrier caught on tape! Probably had dirty rabbit cages in his disgusting house or yard. While It reflects poorly on all furriers, truth be told, the big business fur farms aren’t much better. Image how PETA members must feel when they see row after row of cages. Not for food, often not for warmth, but for something else.
Yes, the video is legit. No, it’s not industry standard. It was staged. But let’s at least be clear on terminology. A “furrier” is someone who crafts apparel and accessories from dressed pelts. The men who were paid to act out this video were in all likelihood not even fur farmers, but vendors in a market. You would not call someone selling potatoes in the market either a potato farmer or a chef.
No, it was not performed on stage, nor was is planned, organized, or arranged in advance. In all likelihood, the videographer heard a rumor about a disgusting fur farmer, showed up at his door, and gave him a few dollars to spend an hour with him. You are blindly assuming that a specialized rabbit was purchased and taken somewhere else for the sole purpose of making this film by anti-furriers. Nope, it was a fur farmer. Straight up. Maybe he was a bit more rough than usual, but I would bet his property was filled with rabbits, and not well taken care of either. And your arguing semantics with “vendor” and “farmer”. It’s all part of a dirty business. If you were just selling potatoes, you would not need to create a website to defend yourself and iterate your brand of truth.
I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that the International Fur Federation, a public relations lobby group for the industry, has found two people who will “testify” that an event almost 15 years ago was staged.
Do you have any idea how staged *that* looks?
Cui bono? If animal welfare activists succeed they shut down an unnecessary industry. The people in the industry however lose their jobs. So it pretty obvious that the IFF et al will fight to their last dollar and by all means fair and foul to keep their skin trade afloat.
I have no argument that skinning animals alive is not the norm in the industry. But enforcement of animal welfare protocols in not exactly strongly enforced in rural China, is it? And as we know from numerous cases in (for example) the slaughterhouse industry random cruelty to animals is common even when it is isn’t systemic.
And we do know of systemic abuses in the industry as well – such as marketing racoon dog pelts as “faux fur”.
The problem is you’re in a business which simply isn’t necessary anymore and normal people find is kind of gross given the widespread availability of alternatives. Technology – and ethics – is driving you out of business.
Go do something good with your life instead.
Hi Lev, actually the industry knew right away that the event was staged, and would have forgotten about it. But PETA et al. kept on plugging it year after year as if it were real, until one day the IFF had had enough and got confessions on record from the Chinese players. Please note also that one of the people who confessed can be clearly recognised in the original footage. So there’s nothing whatsoever about the IFF report that is staged.
There’s no real proof here at all, strange how you somehow managed to find two unidentifiable strangers in a massive place like China and they confessed then and there that they were paid by activists. Why can’t you just admit that the fur trade is cruel and vile. Also if they were paid to just skin one animal for the womans amusement, why were they torturing many animals at the same time. Is stomping on the heads and necks also part of the kind caring practise of skinning animals?
Hi “A”, there’s a back story to this latest investigation by the International Fur Federation that has been reported elsewhere several times. The industry quickly identified the “unidentifiable strangers” years ago, and compiled a solid case against the makers of this video based primarily on snippets of original audio. What the IFF report brings to the table is filmed confessions because it was felt that this was the level of proof that many people still wanted. As for your contention that fur traders “torture” animals, that’s a broad discussion that will doubtless continue, focusing in part on different attitudes to animal welfare in different cultures. But the point of this investigation is much narrower. It’s intended to prove that whatever else may be going on, the fur trade – anywhere in the world – does NOT skin animals alive. This is just a malicious lie spread by PETA et al., supported in large part by this fabricated video from China.
What kind of people would take advantage of poor, desperate people and pay them to do something like that? It takes a special kind of low life piece of garbage to encourage brutality like this. I hope that the authorities are able to track these low life scum down and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
As a professional Trapper I would never dream of ever causing something as brutal and inhumane as this to happen…….ever!
This was common sense to anyone who didn’t have a vested emotional or financial interest against the fur trade. I wonder how long it’s going to take to get the word out so people STOP giving money to these cruel frauds who don’t actually give a shit about animals (PETA, HSUS, etc.)
In a way, it is a good thing to know that it was a fully made video, just to shock people… What horrible people those activist to dare kill animals like that just to pretend it to be a normal way to do it… it make all PETA’s videos completely trustless… how to believe what they show when you know that they made some themselves…
I already never believe in their rabbish… it showes how far they are ready to go to manipulate people’s opinions.