Why should I be aware of this?
- The so-called fur “ranches,” are more akin to industrialized torture camps.
- Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skins come from animals living captive in fur factory farms. These farms can hold thousands of animals, and their farming practices are remarkably uniform around the globe. As with other intensive-confinement Animal Factories, the methods used in fur factory farms are designed to maximize profits, always at the expense of the animals. 
- Many people still mistakenly believe that animals raised for their fur are treated more humanely than those trapped in the wild.
Fur farming and environment
Fur production destroys the environment. The amount of energy needed to produce a real fur coat from ranch-raised animal skins is approximately 15 times that needed to produce a fake fur garment.
Each mink skinned by fur farmers produces about 44 pounds of feces. Based on the total number of minks skinned in the United States in 2004, which was 2.56 million, mink factory farms generate tens of thousands of tons of manure annually. This produces nearly 1,000 tons of phosphorus, which wreaks havoc on water ecosystems.
All about fur farming
The most commonly farmed fur-bearing animals are minks, followed by foxes. Chinchillas, lynxes, and even hamsters are also farmed for their fur.
Seventy-three percent of fur farms are in Europe, 12 percent are in North America, and the rest are dispersed throughout the world, in countries such as Argentina, China, and Russia. Usually female minks are bred once a year. The kittens are killed when they are about 6 months old, depending on what country they are in. Minks used for breeding are kept for four to five years and are housed in unbearably small cages.
Normally rabbits are killed for meat when they are 10-12 weeks old. But for the fur industry the thicker pelt of an older animal is required. The United Nations reports that countries such as France are killing as many as 70 million rabbits a year for fur.
The farms cut costs by packing the animals into small cages where they can’t take more than a few steps back and forth. Minks, who are used to large wetland habitat in the wild, find this kind of cramping exceptionally painful. In anguish and frustration they resort to biting at their skin, tails, and feet—and frantically pace and circle endlessly.
Animals in fur factory farms are fed meat byproducts considered unfit for human consumption. Water is provided by a nipple system, which often freezes in the winter or might fail because of human error.
No humane slaughter law
The fur factory farms follow gruesome killing methods as there is no Federal humane slaughter law which protects these animals. Clamps are attached to the animals or rods forced into their mouths and anuses before they are painfully electrocuted. Another method is poisoning with strychnine, which suffocates them by paralyzing their muscles with painful, rigid cramps. Gassing and neck-breaking are other common slaughter methods in fur factory farms.
What can I do?
- Every consumer should know that every fur coat, lining, or piece of trim represents the intense suffering of animals, whether they were trapped, ranched, or even unborn. This cruelty will end only when the public refuses to buy or wear fur.
- Do not patronize stores that sell fur, and let the stores’ owners know why you won’t buy from their establishments.
- Write letters to the editors of fashion magazines that display fur-clad models and explain how wearing fur supports a cruel industry and why faux fur is a much more compassionate option.
The United Kingdom has banned fur factory farms, while both fox and chinchilla farming are being phased out in the Netherlands. In 2004, there were 296 mink farms in the United States, down 3 percent from the previous year. 
More on Fur farming
What can I do to help
- The Fur Farm Fallacy
- Inside the Fur Industry: Animal Factories
- The Ethical Case Against Fur Farming