Each year, millions of animals are killed solely for their fur. Be it a fur garment, fur trim or fur trinket, a life was needlessly taken. We have evolved from the time when humans wore another animal's skin. Today, there are many cruelty free options, which are appropriate for 21st century living



The fur industry is brutal and senseless

An overview of one of the cruellest industries on Earth

 The fur industry is multi-faceted


The PRO-FUR International Fur Trade Federation (IFTF) and the European Fur Federation (EFF) claim that neither farmed nor wild-caught animals suffer. However, there is proof that fur production is inherently cruel. 

North America is one of the biggest suppliers of animal fur but has no federal laws protecting the millions of farmed animals. China, is the world’s largest exporter of finished fur garments, fur trimmed items and fur trinkets. These fur products are often falsely labelled as synthetic. There are poor animal protection laws in China and footage has shown animals skinned alive for their fur.  See @


People profiting from the fur trade do not care whether the animals they kill for fur are wild, farmed or are stolen pets. Around 100 million animals, including minks, foxes, chinchillas, ermines, lynx, raccoons, raccoon dogs, karakul, rabbits, dogs and cats, are brutally slaughtered each year for their fur. Their fur is used for fashion garments, accessories, fur trim, pet toys and trinkets - all of which are derived from the extreme suffering of animals.


Anti-fur campaigners aim to end fur farming and the trapping of wild animals for their pelts. With increased awareness of the senseless cruelty towards animals, as well as the environmental hazards of fur farming, retailers, major fashion houses and designers worldwide are going fur free. Fur farms are closing down and internationally, legislation is being considered, laws being passed and regulations introduced restricting the trade in fur. The trade in cat and dog fur is illegal in the European Union (EU) and it is unlawful to trade in the products of cruel seal hunts throughout the EU.


Aspects of fur production

  • Trapping

  • Fur farming 

  • Animal feed manufacturing 

  • Auction houses

  • Wholesalers 

  • Processing  - dressing and dyeing

  • Designing

  • Production

  • Retailers

  • Consumers



Animals are still trapped in the wild for their fur. This is known as 'wild fur'. Barbaric body-gripping traps cause these animals to die a prolonged, painful death. They starve, freeze, drown or gnaw off their own limbs in a futile attempt to escape.


Fur Farming

Eighty-five percent of the world’s fur comes from fur farms. Other than rabbit farms, there are no fur farms in South Africa, as they would contravene the Animal Protection Act 71 of 1962. Fur farms are NOT a humane alternative to trapping, as animals on fur farms are, in effect, tortured for the most trivial of reasons – for their coats, to make fashion garments that nobody needs. 

Fur farming is a separate industry from animals bred for meat. Neither fur nor fur trim is a by-product of the meat industry. Fur farming breeds certain wild animals solely for their fur. As with all factory-farming, animals are confined in cages that deprive them of the conditions essential to their lives. Wild animals need to be active and hence suffer intensely when bred on fur farms. Fur farming can never be undertaken on a free range basis because of the needs of wild animals. In Austria in 1998,  when strict conditions for fur farming were implemented a fur farm could not be commercially viable and fur farms had to close.


Rabbit fur is often falsely identified as a by-product of meat production. Yet few rabbit skins are obtained from slaughterhouses, which usually dispose of the "undesirable" pelts of rabbits bred for meat. Rabbit fur comes from animals who are factory-farmed or trapped purely for fashion.​


Everything is aimed at being cost effective on these farms. There is no regard for the animals’ well-being, as they are merely seen as raw material waiting to be harvested (killed). The slaughter of fur-bearing animals is agonising and merciless. Methods used include gassing, electrocution, neck breaking and beating to death. Only the pelt is used and millions of bodies need to be disposed of causing a potential environmental hazard.


Animal feed

Feed is the biggest expense in fur farming and farmers often cannot afford adequate food for the animals.


Auction houses

Public auctions are the principal method of selling unprocessed pelts - wild or farmed - to buyers from all over the world, including buyers from South Africa.

Pelts of similar type, size and quality are sorted into selected bundles, or “lots” that buyers can inspect before selling begins. This means that it is IMPOSSIBLE to tell from which farm pelts originated.

The price for each fur type is determined by market supply and demand. On conclusion of the auction, farmers and trappers receive the full value that was paid for their furs, minus a small fee charged by the auction house.

The major auction houses are:


  • KOPENHAGEN FUR (Denmark)

  • SAGA FURS OYJ (Finland)



  • SOJUZPUSHNINA (Russia)                                      


Brokers attend fur auctions and buy on behalf of their furrier clients, dealers or merchants whose companies sell finished skins to furriers or manufacturers around the world.


The main international centers for dressing and processing the skins are in the Baltic States, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy and Russia.

Fur is only natural on the animal born with it and therefore the pelts go through a treatment process to transform the stiff pelt to fur, ready for use in the fashion industry. This process of chemical tanning is to stabilise collagen and protein fibre to stop skins from biodegrading. This includes “dressing” – a special tanning process that softens and preserves the hide without damaging the fur – and can include dyeing, shearing, texturing or other processes.

This use of toxic chemicals impacts adversely on the environment and human health.

Fur Design

Fashion designers who incorporate fur into their fashion collections include Altuzarra, Dolce & Gabanna, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, J.Mendel, Marni, Yves Saint Laurent and Giambattista Valli,

Depending on the type, hundreds of animal skins are used for a single item. Fur trim is not the remains from making full-length fur coats and thousands of animals are killed even for the tiniest bit of fur trim. 



Furriers source their pelts from auction houses, which are supplied from farmers or from trapping. South African furriers, such as Fischer Furs, manufacture fur items from pelts in their local factory.

Retailers and Consumers. 

Retailers attend international fur trade fairs and buy made-up garments, which they then bring back to sell. Finished fur items or pelts pass through several countries before reaching the final consumer. The World Society for the Protection of Animals argues that weak import and labeling law makes it difficult to identify from where fur originates.

Read more about the fur trade @


Other contexts in which fur bearing animals are killed for fur

  • Angora rabbits are not killed for their fur but are plucked raw to obtain their fur.

  • Seals are not farmed for their fur. They are slaughtered on the beaches where they breed. It is the seal pups - only a few months old - who are beaten to death with spiked clubs for their soft fur. The male seals are killed for their genitals, which are sold in Asia as an aphrodisiac. In Namibia, Cape Fur seals are annually bludgeoned to death despite huge public outrage.

  • Bears are trapped and skinned to supply the standard bearskin headgear of the British Foot Guards. An entire skin of a Canadian Black Bear makes one hat.

  • Coyotes are trapped in the wild and skinned for fur trim on jackets such as Canada Goose.

  • Kangaroos are killed in Australia and their fur used for trim on shoes etc.

  • Raccoon dogs are a different species to the raccoon and are native to Asia. Raccoon dogs are farmed intensively in China; kept in tiny metal cages before being clubbed, slammed to the ground, or skinned alive. The fur industry is still trying to pass off this fur under inaccurate and misleading trade names, such as “Asiatic raccoon” and “Finn raccoon”.

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