Every year, more than three million animals of various species are killed for their fur in Canada. However, there are no laws or regulations that set minimum standards for how these animals are housed, cared for or handled.
Imagine if, in Quebec, dogs and cats were maimed in traps and left for long hours in excruciating pain? Think of the public outcry that would ensue if they were electrocuted, kicked or bludgeoned to death!
Yet this is the sad reality of animals trapped or raised for their fur in this province.
According to the Fur Institute of Canada, Quebec is the Canadian province that traps the most animals annually.
Several trapping devices are permitted in Quebec; all are designed to keep animals captive against their will. Some traps and snares are lethal, while others are equipped with jaws designed to hold the animal by one leg. The use of killing submarine and live-capture traps is legal, as well as drowning systems that are used to hold certain semi-aquatic animals, such as beavers and muskrats, underwater by one leg.
Many of these cruel traps are banned in more than 60 countries, as well as in several American states.
Even when the animals are not injured by the trapping device, they can be left in the trap for up to a week, exposed to the elements and predators, suffering from hunger, thirst and self-inflicted injuries as they try to free themselves. When the trapper finally returns, animals who have not already died are stomped, bludgeoned, choked to death or killed using other brutal methods.
In Canada, more than 85% of fur comes from fur farms. Since the animals raised there—mainly foxes and mink—are not domesticated, they retain their wild instincts, but cannot express these in any way.
For example, mink are semi-aquatic animals who, in the wild, spend more than 60% of their time in water. On farms, however, they are kept in cages no larger than two sheets of paper, without any opportunity to swim. And although solitary in nature, they are forced to live surrounded by thousands of other mink.
Foxes usually travel long distances in the wild. However, on farms, they are confined in cages with wire mesh floors, unable to express their natural behaviour or interact normally with other foxes.
Animals bred for fur spend their entire lives in these tiny cages, living in their own feces. They also develop repetitive behaviours – a sign of psychological distress. When it comes time to be stripped of their fur, minks are killed by gassing, and foxes are killed by anal electrocution. These methods are standard and legal.
Three million animals are cruelly killed for their fur in Canada every year. That is, three million sentient beings who do not deserve to suffer in this way. Foxes, for example, are social animals that like to play and run just like domestic dogs, their canine cousins. Shouldn’t they both share the same right to a life without suffering? Why do we love one but wear the other?
This is not to mention the disastrous environmental impacts of the fur industry. The unbelievable amount of waste produced on farms, as well as the chemicals used to treat animal pelts, are as harmful to our ecosystems as they are to human health.
Cruelty is not fashionable. With the many available alternatives to fur today, it is senseless to cause millions of animals to suffer and, by extension, to destroy our ecosystems and pollute our environment.
Together, let’s put an end to this inhumane practice by saying no to fur.