Be fur free: a consumer guide

Dec 21, 2009

The fur industry is responsible for the intense suffering and death of over 100 million animals every year. Animals that die to produce non-essential luxury items include rabbits, foxes, mink, chinchillas, raccoons, seals, wolves, coyotes, squirrels, cats and dogs.

While 85% of animals used to produce fur are commercially farmed, some are wild-caught and die in inhumane traps. Animals farmed for their fur are kept in small barren cages, with injury-causing wire floors, to keep production costs low and profits high.

But every animal pays the price: a stress-filled life devoid of the most basic natural behaviors: running, playing, burrowing, or even experiencing daylight.

Most fur animals are killed for their first winter coat, when they are about eight months old. So high quality fur products do not indicate a lifetime of wellbeing – rather that the animal only shed its filthy, matted infant fur just before death.

Finally, farmed animals are killed by cruel methods, including electrocution, gassing, neck-breaking, and live skinning. These preserve the pelt, but cause unimaginable pain.

To combat this industrial-scale cruelty, WSPA supports the world’s biggest anti-fur coalition: the Fur Free Alliance.

Find out what you can do below.

Let’s kill off fur!

The 2000s have seen fur creep back into fashion. This confirms that the power to stop production lies with the consumer – the industry grows or declines with public demand.

Please consider the following information and pass it to friends and family:

There’s no such thing as ‘ethical’ or ‘green’ fur

The International Fur Trade Federation’s ‘Origin Assured’ label seeks to make fur farming acceptable, but weak import and labeling regulations for this worldwide trade mean that in reality fur products are untraceable. Even if ‘humane fur farms’ could exist, the origin of consumer goods could not be assured.

This high-welfare fur myth was exposed in 2008 and 2009 by investigations into Norway’s fur farms, which proved that even a progressive developed nation claiming to produce ‘ethical fur’ is rearing animals in shocking conditions.

‘Green’ fur is also a marketing ploy: the animals come from commercial farms that generate animal waste on an industrial scale and the fur is processed using polluting toxic chemicals. Modern fur production carries a considerable environmental cost.

Fur trim is as cruel as a whole coat 

The majority of animals killed for fur end up as fur trim, a sector of the industry worth billions of dollars a year. They are often subjected to even worse mistreatment than those used for full coats – as smaller pieces of fur are needed, there is even less care to prevent disfiguring injury or disease, poor quality fur is simply discarded.

‘Wild’ fur is not cruelty free

While fur farms are intensely cruel, traps and snares – capable of crushing bone – do not offer a quick or compassionate end for animals caught from the wild.

In addition to being indiscriminate about which species they catch, some traps have been declared inhumane by veterinary associations.

Five steps to help protect animals from the fur trade:

  • Avoid all fur products: labels can mislead! Dog and cat fur is commonly described as ‘vintage’ or ‘faux’ to attract consumers. Beware of clothes with fur trim or lining. Tips for avoiding real fur >>

  • Be sure your favorite store is fur free: supporting stores that carry the Fur Free Fox logo sends a strong message. If your favorite store isn’t on the international list of approved retailers, write and ask them to join!

  • Vote in or enter Design Against Fur: this annual competition invites students from around the world to create artwork that exposes the cruelty of fur.

  • Learn more and educate fellow consumers: for more information on fur farming, fur-bearing animals and a guide to tell fake from real fur, visit the Fur Free Alliance website >>

  • Sign WSPA member society Humane Society of the United States’ fur-free pledge: your support helps lobby against the fur industry.


Page tools:
Share Share, Bookmark, Email or Print

Connect with WSPA on:


Help us help them

With your help, WSPA will continue to sustainably support member societies worldwide

Cats being transported by member society the Soi Dog Foundation, Thailand