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According to PETA—a well-known animal rights organization—whether it came from an animal on a fur farm or one who was trapped in the wild, every fur coat or piece of trim made has caused an animal suffering and took away an innocent life. Eighty-five percent of the industry’s skins come from animals living captive on fur factory farms. Animals that are most commonly found on fur farms are foxes, lynx, chinchillas, rabbits, and mink. Many of these animals are kept on the farms for years for breeding, while others are there only to spend six to eight months until their death. Many of the methods used to obtain the fur can cause extreme suffering for the animals, and damage to the environment. Thousands of animals are brutally murdered every year for the fur on their backs, and methods used cause pollution as well. If harsher laws were passed, and consumers chose to boycott fur, the suffering of animals and damage to the environment could end.
The animals living on fur factory farms are constantly living in fear, stress, and disease. To save money, farmers pack animals into very small cages. The cages are so small that the animals are not able to take more than a few steps. Mink, which are solitary animals, become very anxious and stressed in the cramped environments, which leads to self-mutilation, or cannibalism of the other mink sharing the cage. These desperate acts are also common among the other animals living on fur farms as well. There are no federal humane slaughter laws in existence for animals living on fur factory farms, and because the farmers care more about the cost and condition of the pelts, the killing methods can be gruesome. There are many methods used on the farms that can cause the animals a lot of suffering. Small animals are packed into small boxes and poisoned with engine exhaust. This method is not always lethal, which can result in the animals waking up while being skinned. Larger animals experience electrocution, with rods being forced into their mouths and anuses, which is extremely painful. Other common methods include poisons, gassing, decompression chambers, and neck-breaking. However barbaric this may sound, animal cruelty is not the only negative aspect of fur factory farming.
Contrary to popular belief, fur factory farms can potentially destroy the environment. The amount of energy used to create a real fur coat from a factory farm is twenty times more than what is needed to create a faux fur one. Real fur is also not biodegradable because of the chemicals used to stop the fur from rotting; these chemicals can also cause water contamination. The amount of feces produced from minks alone on fur farms each year in the United States results in approximately 1,000 tons of phosphorus, which can destroy water ecosystems. Evidence shows that animal cruelty is not the only negative aspects of fur factory farms.
Though there are many negative aspects of fur factory farming, there are many steps that can be taken to stop or improve the cruel acts and pollution that occur on fur factory farms. If governments will not ban fur farms, harsher laws could be passed so that more humane methods of killing could be used on the animals. There is no federal humane slaughter law in existence for animals living on fur farms, and if one was enforced, it could be a huge step towards ending the suffering of animals. According to Mary Parkinson, who works on a small mink ranch states,“There are farms which can be described as factories in Canada, the U.S.A., and Europe that carry over 200,000 mink. At my ranch, I feel as though the animals each receive attention: if a mink is sick, I know it’s sick. I give it medicine, help it drink, etc. In my opinion, my ranch is caring, and I would not choose to work around animals every day if I didn’t love them in a sense.”
If there were better rules and standards that factory farms had to follow, there could be a limit on how many mink a factory can hold. This would at least help to improve the suffering of animals. If the farms held less mink, there would be more space for them in the cages, and each mink would get enough attention like the one Mary Parkinson described. This could help to stop situations such as self-mutilation and cannibalism. Another way in which animal cruelty could end is if consumers decided to boycott real fur, it could slow down the industry. There are many faux furs and cruelty-free fabrics that are available in stores everywhere. However, there have been scandals with clothing stores that were selling real fur garments that we labeled as faux fur.
This has occurred with designers such as Tommy Hilfiger, Baby Phat, and Sean John. A shopper bought a coat from TJ Maxx that was labeled as polyester and nylon, and laboratory tests showed that it made from Arctic fox. There are tips for consumers when buying a fake fur garment to tell if it is in fact a fake or not. If skin or leather can be seen between the hairs at the base when they are pulled apart, the fur is real. If a weave, or material, can be seen at the base, then it is fake. There are also organizations such as PETA that continue to work with and encourage designers and clothing stores to sell faux fur. People against the use of real fur could also write letters to editors of fashion magazines that market fur garments, and to designers and explain what the animals go through on factory farms for the fur to be produced.
Every year millions of animals go through extreme suffering while living on factory farms. The methods used to retrieve the pelts can be very gruesome, and also cause a lot of environmental pollution. The methods used to kill the animals, such as anal electrocution and gassing can be considered cruel and unethical, and people in today’s society can work together to stop these negative aspects on fur factory farming. Millions of animals are brutally murdered for the fur on their back. If harsher laws and restrictions were passed, consumers boycotted fur, and designers and clothing stores stopped selling and advertising real fur, the suffering of animals could finally be put to an end.
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