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A film released this month has exposed the horrifying extent of animal suffering in Norway’s fur farms, providing a timely reminder of the true cost of fur and fur-trims for all seasonal shoppers.
The film, produced by the Norwegian Network for Animal Freedom, can be viewed on their website. It is both distressing and distressingly representative.
Throughout 2008, the group obtained legal entry to 120 of Norway’s 500 fur farms to complete their study. Every single one was violating animal welfare law.
In countries like China, that provide most of the world’s fur but where animals have no legal protection, the suffering can only be worse.
The film shatters the myth that Norway produces ‘ethical’ fur.
Despite Norwegian and Finnish fur producers using the ‘prestigious’ Saga Furs and Origin Assured labels – supposed to guarantee the utmost care for animal welfare – the truth is that the conditions are shockingly bad.
The footage shows one young fox with missing limbs, separated from his siblings, dragging himself around a barren cage.
Network for Animal Freedom has given its evidence to the Norwegian police and environmental authorities.
When you are shopping this Christmas – or at any time – the only label that truly demonstrates animal protection is the Fur Free Fox logo, awarded by the Fur Free Alliance.
Norway already has legislation to protect fur animals and in 1998 the government even warned that fur farming would be phased out unless conditions for animals improved.
But ten years on, conditions are as bad as ever.
This investigation, while focussed on Norway, has far broader repercussions. It proves that legislation designed to protect fur-farmed animals is not enough to stop the shocking levels of suffering that they experience.
Unlike farm animals, the nature and needs of the species used for fur – such as minks, foxes, chinchillas, dogs and cats – means there is simply no way to rear them in farm conditions without significantly compromising their welfare.
Fur farming can only exist in response to consumer demand, which has growth in recent years.
You can make a stand against cruelty by refusing to buy fur and by telling your friends what is really involved in making a fur coat or fur trim.
To make a further positive stand against fur, learn more from the Fur Free Alliance, and vote in their Design Against Fur student poster competition – the public vote is open until the end of November >>