Shocking HSI investigation reveals terror, suffering of foxes and mink on Finland’s fur farms

By on October 17, 2019 with 12 Comments

Every day, we are making groundbreaking advances in our fight against fur. Major fashion houses and retailers, from Gucci to Burlington, have gone fur-free and just last weekend, California became the first U.S. state to ban fur sales. But today, in a sad reminder of the fact that the battle against fur is far from over, we are releasing video footage from our latest undercover investigation of fur farms in Finland, documenting the terrible suffering millions of animals continue to endure for this completely unnecessary commodity.

The footage was captured by investigators from the Humane Society International/United Kingdom and the Finnish animal protection group Oikeutta Eläimille, who visited 13 farms over a course of seven months between April and October this year. It shows hundreds of foxes and mink suffering in small, barren and filthy battery cages. There are tiny fox cubs struggling to walk across wire floors of their cages, their tiny feet constantly slipping through the holes. There are animals with eye infections and gaping wounds, including a mink with a large, bloody hole in the head. Some animals lie dead in the cages and others eat them or walk over them.

As Claire Bass, executive director of HSI/UK, who participated in the investigation, described it, “These poor young animals have zero quality of life, they exist only as vessels for their fur, as broken and tormented souls.”

The animals’ lives are miserably short – most will be electrocuted when they are just eight months old so they can be skinned for their fur. Although wild animals, they will never know what it is like to experience a single day out of the terrible confinement of those cages. It is a relentless cycle of deprivation, suffering and death, with no escape for those trapped in it.

It is hard for any animal lover to stomach such cruelty, and this has been a difficult process for Claire and others involved in this investigation. But we did this because we want to shine a light on the cruelty of fur and especially Finland’s fur farms, which produce and export large quantities of fur each year, including to the United States and the United Kingdom.

Finland is in fact the largest producer of fox fur in Europe. Each year, 2.5 million foxes are raised on the approximately 800 fur farms in this country – and killed – for the global fur trade. The only other country that farms more foxes for fur is China.

Most of the animals will be electrocuted when they are just eight months old so they can be skinned for their fur. Although wild animals, they will never know what it is like to experience a single day out of the terrible confinement of those cages. Photo by Kristo Muurimaa/Oikeutta Elaimille

Our investigation also hopes to correct a double standard that now exists in the United Kingdom with regards to fur: while the country banned fur farming in 2000 on ethical grounds, it has allowed the imports of fur from overseas to continue. Animal fur is still sold in British stores, and since the ban, the country has imported more than $1 billion worth of fur from other countries, including nearly $18 million worth of fur from Finland.

The video has grabbed the attention of some powerful voices in the country, and led to several members of parliament in the U.K. to issue strong statements calling on the government to take swift action to ban the sale of animal fur. Next month, we will screen the footage at the European Parliament, followed by a roundtable debate on animal welfare problems associated with fur farming. Participants will include Fur Europe and the European Commission. Our #FurFree Britain campaign has also gathered more than half a million signatures from animal lovers in support of a U.K. fur sales ban, and it is supported by a host of celebrities, including Stella McCartney, Dame Judi Dench, Andy Murray, Paloma Faith and Ricky Gervais, who have been amplifying our message against fur among their followers.

Video footage shows hundreds of foxes and mink suffering in small, barren and filthy battery cages. Photo by Kristo Muurimaa/Oikeutta Elaimille

There is no reason for anyone to wear fur: innovative materials that simulate the look and feel of fur are easily available. And if anyone needs more proof that fur is out of fashion, they only have to look at the avalanche of fur-free announcements in recent years, including Prada, Armani, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Stella McCartney, Michael Kors, Burberry and many more. InStyle last year committed to go fur-free, signaling to consumers that this cruelty no longer belongs in high-fashion magazines.

Lawmakers globally are also increasingly legislating against fur, and since the U.K.’s fur production ban, more than a dozen European countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Norway and the Netherlands have passed similar laws. Earlier today the Slovakian National Council approved a ban on fur farming, committing to close the last of its mink and rabbit fur farms by 2025. Ireland is in the process of passing a ban on fur production, and a draft bill has been introduced in Bulgaria.

Here in the United States, Hawaii and New York have introduced measures similar to the fur sales ban in California.

Fur has long outlived its glamour and today, many see this industry, which kills 100 million animals each year, for exactly what it is: an outmoded enterprise built on terrible cruelty and the pain and torment of innocent animals. Our latest investigation offers more proof why fur needs to be relegated to history, so no animal ever again has to suffer the misery of living, and dying, on a fur farm.

Humane Society International, Investigations, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    No podemos permitir que tanta crueldad siga pasando, necesitamos unirnos para acabar con esta crueldad ya no mas violencia y maltrato a los animalitos

  2. Renee says:

    Please stop this Horrible trade

  3. Kay irwin says:

    I’m balling my eyes out … how can any human do this to an innocent animal … they can’t scream like us and yell and tell us how much pain they are in … does that make it easier for you fur farm
    Murder ?
    Does it make the deed a little easier for you ?
    How do you sleep at night ?
    Why are humans so cruel ? So hurtful and so unforgiving …

    We don’t deserve animals 😢

    • Rita K Talkowski says:

      Please connect with your lawmakers. Tell them how cruel they are for not passing the laws needed to stop this evil process.
      We must be their voice!

  4. barbara lilly says:

    Stop this horrible trade now

  5. Michele Jankelow says:

    So when do the horrors end? These farmers know exactly what they are doing! They choose short cuts and atrocities for profit! Absolutely horrendous! I hope this has been shown to the Finnish governments and exposed for the horror that it is!

  6. Michele Jankelow says:

    I want to know what you plan to do about rescuing these animals! It is no good exposing this and walking away!!!! As individuals we cannot do much but as an organization who we rely on, you need to intervene PLEASE!!!!!!!

    • Julie Gill says:

      We have very littile say about what goes on in other countries but our government can put a stop on fur inports ..our own uk parliament have refused to put a end to fox hunting ..deer hunting ect
      We are no better than them ,THEY TORTURE FOR MONEY WE KILL TO CULL !!!!! IT IS ALL VILE CRUELTY

  7. Indra says:

    STOP IT NOW!!!!

  8. Naria says:

    This is wrong, those poor little animals. I believe God gave us animals on earth to make life a little bit better. Shame on you.

  9. Ashley says:

    Heartbreaking and evil. We have to stop this and faster. So shameful for the people who purchase stolen fur off the backs of these innocent little creatures. I also believe that people in the U.S. who continue to purchase overseas, should be penalize. If it’s illegal to sell here, it should be illegal to purchase also.

  10. Penelope says:

    This is so inhumane I am going to BARF. Here are the reasons this should be banned:
    1. Unessasary
    2. Cruel
    3. Spreading COVID-19 (It will kill you too)
    4. Unpopular
    5. And how would you like it if you were trapped in a cage for your whole life, never saw daylight, and died a painful death due to lack of basic needs, electrocution, and being skinned ALIVE!?

    Yesterday, people harassed me (making fake dog noises so that pecan would bite me) so not only are we torturing animals, but the humans too!
    I think that there is a strange pandemic (Alongside covid) that is turning people into vain, selfish, cruel, and manipulative beings!

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