Sunday, 16 May 2010
Eighty-five percent of the world's fur comes from fur farms. China has become the world's largest exporter of fur, largely due to the country's absence of animal welfare protection and surplus of cheap labour. And despite our awareness of animal cruelty and anti-fur lobbying, demand for fur from China, mostly from Europe and the United States, has grown in the last ten years.
But do we really know the horrors inflicted on animals at Chinese fur farms? These farms hold between 50 and 6,000 frightened and abused animals each. Red foxes, Arctic foxes, raccoon dogs, minks, cats, dogs and rabbits. These animals are so traumatised they manifest pathological behaviours, symptoms of a lifetime of abuse. China's lack of animal welfare standards allows millions of animals to live out their entire lives cramped in rows of tiny wire cages. These caged animals pace, nod, and circle their heads repeatedly in signs of extreme anxiety. Others, overwhelmed by the conditions, develop learned helplessness, huddling in their cages and demonstrating no signs of interest in the activity around them.
Before sale at markets, animals are removed from cages with metal tongs around their necks and carried by their hind legs for skinning and slaughter. Instead of killing the animals humanely, workers often stun them with repeated blows to the head using wooden clubs, or by swinging them by the hind legs and beating their heads on the ground.
Witnesses to such scenes reported that a significant number of animals were still alive when the skinning process began—starting with a knife at the rear of the belly and ending with the fur being pulled over the animal's head. After the skin is removed, animals are thrown on a pile of carcasses. These animals are often still breathing, have a heartbeat, and continue moving and blinking for between five to ten minutes.
So why not write a letter to both the Chinese Minister of Commerce and the Chinese Ambassador to your country to express your concerns and to urge them to recognize that the inhumane treatment of animals on Chinese fur farms shows a lack of understanding of acceptable animal husbandry techniques. As the largest exporter of fur, and the biggest fur trade production and processing country in the world, China has the opportunity to make an enormous, positive impact on the lives of millions of animals.
Addresses of Chinese Embassies can be found on the Internet but here is the address of the Chinese Minister of Commerce:
Minister Bo Xilai
No.2 Dong Chang'an Avenue
Beijing, China 100731