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Picture living in horrible conditions your whole life, in a cramped cage with no food or water. Then all of a sudden you are dragged out from your cage, almost beaten to death then your skin is ripped off as you are taking your last breaths. Your carcass is then thrown into a pile with the rest of your fellow comrades like a piece of garbage. This may sound like a scene from a gory movie, but this is something that actually happens on a daily basis. Every year, millions of innocent animals are tortured and killed for the fur or skin off their backs. The fur industry is a cruel, heartless business that is bad for the environment and unnecessary. Every year, millions of animals are killed for the clothing industry. Whether they come from Chinese fur farms or Indian slaughterhouses, an immeasurable amount of suffering goes into every fur coat made. Eighty-five percent of the fur industry’s skin comes from animals on fur factory farms. More than half of the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of the animals are victims of cruelty. In China environmental regulations are often ignored and there are no federal human slaughter laws to protect the animals on fur factory farms.
One reason why I am against fur is because the industry is a cruel gruesome business. Fur farming methods are specifically designed to maximize profits at the expense of an animal’s well being. Animals on fur farms include foxes, minks, rabbits, and even dogs and cats. They are forced to live in close confinement with up to five other animals in the cage and have no shelter protection from the weather. This causes them anxiety and often makes mothers kill their babies or other animals chew on their own limbs from all the rough handling and intense confinement. Since the workers are only concerned about the fur, the animals are hardly fed or given water; and when they are fed its unfit food like meat by-products. Many of the animals are also victims to diseases and pests because of all the filth they are forced to live in. If living like that isn’t miserable enough, the ways the animals are killed on fur farms is even worse. Unfortunately, there no humane slaughter laws to protect the animals on fur farms, so killing methods are gruesome. Fur farmers are only worried about preserving the quality of the fur, so they use slaughter methods that cause the animals to suffer immensely. Methods include gassing, electrocution and neck breaking; sometimes the animals are still alive when being skinned.
Although most of the animals killed for their fur are raised on fur farms, millions of wolves, raccoons, bobcats and other fur bearing animals are killed every year by trappers for the clothing industry. They use various types of traps like snares, underwater traps, and steel jaw traps. A snare trap is made out of cable and shaped like a noose and when the animal steps on the cable it sweeps them up and hangs them. The more they struggle, the tighter the noose becomes, and if they are caught around the neck they will eventually strangle and die. Underwater traps are mostly used for beavers, muskrats, and minks. These traps are sometimes referred to as “drowning traps” and that’s exactly what they do. They prevent the animal from going up for air; it usually takes about nine minutes to drown them. A steel jaw trap slams shut on an animal’s limb when triggered. The initial impact causes an injury, but the majority of the damage is caused from the animal trying to break free. Animals caught in these traps will struggle in excruciating pain for hours and even resort to chewing off their trapped limbs in a desperate attempt to escape.
The fact that an animal would severe their own limb shows how horrible it is to be caught in a trap. If a trapped animal isn’t killed from blood loss or infection, they are often killed by predators or hunters. If the animal is still alive by time the trapper gets there they are strangled, beaten, or stomped to death so their fur isn’t damaged. Every year many dogs, cats, and other animals including endangered species are injured or killed by traps. They are referred to as “trash animals” by trappers and are generally killed or thrown away since they have no value to them. Imagine your house pet being killed or injured because of a trap that was set. It shouldn’t happen to your pet or any other animal. Another reason why I am against fur is because it is bad for the environment. The fur industry may promote that its product is a “natural” fabric from a renewable resource, but there is nothing natural about clothing made from an animal’s skin or fur. Fur is only a “natural fiber” when it is still intact on an animal’s back. Once an animal has been slaughtered and skinned, its fur must be “tanned” or treated in order to stop it from biodegrading. Tanning is an unnatural process that uses toxic chemicals including formaldehyde, chromium and many other dangerous chemicals to stabilize the collagen fibers in animal’s skins to stop them from rotting. Using these harmful chemicals are serious environmental contaminants and the fur industry is very aware of it.
The production of fur contributes to pollution, water contamination and it even leads to cancer. When it comes to the tanning process, the chemicals used are very damaging substances. They include coal tar derivatives, dyes, oils, and finishes, some of them are cyanide based too. In addition to all these toxic substances, tannery effluent also contains large amounts of pollutants such as acids, protein, hair, salt, lime sludge, and sulfides. Among the consequences of working with this waste is the threat to human health from the highly elevated levels of cyanide, lead, and formaldehyde. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that the incidence of leukemia among residents in an area surrounding a tannery in Kentucky was five times the national average. People who work in these fur production places are dying of cancer caused by exposure to dimethylformamide and other toxic chemicals used to process and dye the animal skins. The coal tar derivatives used are also an extremely potent cancer-causing agent. The tanning process also pollutes the air. In Denmark, more than fourteen million minks are killed each year for their fur and more that eight thousand pounds of ammonia is released into the atmosphere annually.
Fur farms also produce massive amounts of animal waste that is all confined in one small area. For instance, each mink killed by fur farmers produces about forty-four pounds of feces in his or her lifetime. That adds up to one million pounds of feces produced yearly by U.S. mink farms alone. Animal wastes are high in nitrogen and phosphorous, so the waste in this instance would have nearly one thousand tons of phosphorus. When it rains and the waste washes downhill it wreaks havoc on rivers and streams. Other times the waste is left to soak into the soil and can contaminate the ground water. The nutrients in the waste lead to algae growth, which depletes the oxygen in the water. This can kill sensitive species of fish and make the water unsuitable to drink for humans. Many fur farmers have been fined for releasing waste into the environment and contaminating water supply. If you are not bothered with the killing of these animals, you should definitely be worried knowing the chemicals used in this industry can be harmful to you.
My final reason for being against the fur industry is because it is completely unnecessary. Fur isn’t a necessity for survival everyone can live with it. Also, there are many other alternatives that are just as stylish and warm as real fur. Fabrics such as polyester and polyvinyl are common cruelty free materials used. Not only is the synthetic fur stylish, it’s also a whole lot cheaper than buying real fur. Faux fur is even more eco-friendly than real fur. In a study done by Gregory Smith he found that the production of a factory farmed fur coat required nearly twenty times more energy than the production of a faux fur coat. So there is a lot of gas and resources being used on an unethical and unnecessary product. Many celebrities have even taken a stand to never wear fur and promote what goes on in this industry. Even popular clothing designers and companies are starting to show compassion and remove fur from their garments. Forever21, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Tommy Hilfiger are some of many companies that converted to using faux fur.
Some people may argue that the fur industry is ethical but after reading my claims, I hope it makes you think again. Some people that are okay with the killing of animals is simply because they don’t care. You might think that the life of an animal is meaningless but that doesn’t mean its okay for them to suffer. Animals experience pain and fear just like humans do. Many people may be okay with using cows for leather because we already kill them for their meat or using sheep for their wool, but when it comes to a fox there is absolutely no reason to just kill them for one thing and then trash their body.
So in conclusion, killing animals for their fur is completely wrong. The fur industry is a cruel heartless business that is bad for the environment and is unnecessary. The industry is only concerned about maximizing profits and producing fur, they could care less about the animals well being. Animals don’t deserve to suffer just so you can wear them for fashion. If people stop buying fur then no one will sell it, so ultimately its up to the consumers who decide the fate of the fur industry. Animals don’t have a voice but we can speak up for them by spreading the word about the cruelty and refusing to wear fur or buy it.