What is life like for animals on fur farms in countries that claim to have the highest welfare standards in the world?

Watch our video to find out.

This is the video the fur industry doesn't want you to see.

The video footage you've just seen was all captured in nine of the biggest fur-producing countries in the Western world: Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the US.

All fur products from these countries are eligible to carry the International Fur Trade Federation's "Origin Assured" label, which is supposed to guarantee that the animals who were killed to make the product were treated humanely.

As you've just seen, the label guarantees no such thing.

In "Origin Assured" countries animals on fur farms suffer from neglect, starvation and thirst and often have untreated, bloody wounds. Many animals go insane as a result of their confinement, and some are driven to self-mutilation and cannibalism. Dead animals are left to rot, often in cages next to their desperate family members.

At the end of this ordeal, of course, the animals are killed, usually in the most gruesome ways – including, in many cases, via anal or vaginal electrocution.

Fur produced on farms in twenty-nine countries can potentially be labeled “Origin-Assured” simply because those countries have environmental standards, animal welfare laws and/or best practice guidelines on the books. Whether or not those standards are robust or enforced isn't taken into consideration.

In reality, the label means nothing.

There's only one thing you can be sure of when buying fur – that animals were violently killed for their skin, usually after a lifetime of intense suffering.

Sweden

Djurrättsalliansen visited 20 per cent of Sweden's mink farms in 2010. It documented minks – including many with open wounds – crammed into small wire cages. Some had resorted to cannibalism because of the stress of close confinement. Swedish politicians condemned the cruelty, but when Djurrättsalliansen returned to the farms in 2014, nothing had changed. Read More.

Finland

Oikeutta Eläimille captured video footage of more than 100 fur farms across Finland between 2009 and 2012, which is more than 10% of the fur farms in the country. It discovered that foxes and minks were suffering from untreated infections, gum disease and broken and malformed limbs, in addition to severe psychological distress. In many of the clips, the animals can be heard screaming and throwing themselves against the wire sides of the cages. Some of these farms belong to senior officials from the International Fur Federation and Saga Furs. Read More.

France

In harrowing video footage recorded by L214, rabbits on French farms are strung up by their feet and have their throats slit while they're still conscious. They twitch, trying to escape, while the blood drains from their bodies. Read More.

Denmark

Anima's investigation of the Danish mink trade revealed sick, injured and dead animals on all of the 26 farms the group visited. Some minks had huge untreated bite wounds, or their legs and ears were bitten off during fights – a common occurrence when these naturally solitary animals are forced to live together in cramped cages. The maggot-infested corpses of dead minks were left to rot among the living animals. The owners of these farms include senior officials from the European Fur Breeders' Association and the Kopenhagen Fur Board. Read More.

Norway

The Network for Animal Freedom and the Norwegian Society for Protection of Animals documented the systematic and widespread suffering of animals on Norwegian fur farms. Thousands of photos and hours of video footage show foxes and minks with missing limbs, bitten-off tails and severe bite injuries. On one farm, investigators found six fox cubs kept in a cage with their dead and rotting mother. Read More.

United States

During an investigation of the trapping of wild animals for the fur trade, Born Free USA and Respect for Animals documented numerous examples of cruelty, including the drowning of a raccoon, foxes suffocated by having their chests crushed and the use of illegal snare traps, which caught "non-target" animals such as domestic cats and ultimately killed them. Born Free USA estimates that one in three animals trapped in the US is a non-target animal – often a family cat or dog. Animals who become caught in these contraptions will often chew off their own limbs in a desperate attempt to escape. Read More.

Netherlands

In 2013, 269life Netherlands exposed hellish conditions on mink farms, with terrified animals crowded into filthy, dusty, faeces-covered cages that were stacked on top of each other in long, putrid sheds. Read More.

Poland

Otwarte Klatki investigated five Polish fur farms that house foxes and raccoons. It found many apparent violations of basic welfare regulations, such as farmers who apparently denied veterinary care to animals who were clearly ill and suffering, dead animals left under cages to rot, foxes with severe wounds and cannibalism among cubs. Read More.

Italy

Essere Animali's 18-month investigation into Italian mink farms uncovered animals living in tiny wire cages with no access to grass or water. Some cages contained dead or severely injured minks, and the stress of imprisonment drove many of the surviving minks to aggressive behaviour and self-mutilation. The animals were killed in gas chambers before being skinned. Read More.

Take Action

Department store Harvey Nichols recently went back on its 10-year-long anti-fur policy and is now selling items made from the skins of raccoons, rabbits and minks. The company's excuse is that it only sources its fur from "Origin Assured" countries. As you've just seen, that label means nothing.

Send a message to Harvey Nichols CEO Stacey Cartwright asking her to reinstate the shop's fur-free policy now!

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