Farmed Fur

Mink in the wild live near water and are excellent swimmers, spending a considerable amount of their time in and out of the water. They have a range of about 2 km along rivers.

Silver foxes travel great distances in the wild. They can run fast and are strong swimmers. They dig their own dens or sometimes use the dens of other animals.

Arctic foxes roam across a vast territory of around 30 square kilometres, frequently covering 10 to 20 km in a day. They are fast runners and strong swimmers. They are very solitary animals.

A Change of Heart

Read about farmers who recognise farm animals as friends, not food.

On fur farms, animals spend their entire lives in small, wire cages which are so small the animals can only take a few steps in any direction. Many go insane and behave in a demented manner all day long, circling and pacing in a frantic manner. Parasites and disease are commonplace. Roughly 85% of the fur industry’s skins come from farmed animals.

Killing methods vary around the world. A common method is to electrocute the animal by attaching clamps to its mouths and anus (sometimes rods are inserted into the anus). Another method is to poison the animal with strychnine. This paralyzes their muscles causing them to suffocate. Breaking the neck is another method used. They can also be gassed to death by either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide.

China, a country not renowned for its commitment to animal welfare, to put it mildly, is the world’s largest fur exporter. As well as mink and foxes, rabbits, cats, dogs and other animals are farmed for their fur.

Fur farms are extremely damaging to the environment, producing vast volumes of faeces. A dangerous component of this waste is phosphorus, which pollutes nearby rivers and streams. After an animal has been slaughtered, his or her skin is treated with toxic chemicals to keep it from rotting and decomposing in the buyer’s closet. According to The World Bank, the hazardous process of fur dressing is so problematic that the fur industry is now ranked as one of the world’s five worst industries for toxic-metal pollution.

Although most animals killed for their fur are raised on fur farms, millions of raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, beavers, and other fur-bearing animals are killed every year by trappers. The steel-jaw trap, which the American Veterinary Medical Association calls inhumane, is the most widely used trap. It’s been banned by the European Union and a growing number of U.S. states.


In July 2019, the then Minister for Agriculture announced that his department was to prepare legislation banning the farming of animals for their fur. This didn’t happen during that government’s lifetime. The current Programme for Government (agreed by FF, FG and the Green in June, 2020), contains a commitment to ban the farming of animals for their fur during the term of the government. Clearly, this is good news, however until legislation is passed, the fur industry in Ireland, though small, continues its handful of operations. Fur farming is banned in fourteen EU countries. While the banning of fur farming is to be welcomed, it needs to be accompanied by a ban of the importation and sale of all fur products.


Every year, around

100 million

animals are raised and killed for their fur. The main animals used are mink, foxes, raccoon dogs, rabbits and chinchillas.

In China, cats and dogs are bludgeoned, hanged, and sometimes skinned alive for their fur.

According to a United Nations report, approximately one billion rabbits are killed each year so that their fur can be used in clothing or for lures in fly fishing or trim on craft items. China (again), as well as Italy and Spain, are the main players. Unlike mink and foxes and other fur-bearing animals raised for their fur, rabbit meat is now big business in certain parts of the world.


In 2019, animal rights activists were successful in California with the passage of AB44, which takes effect in 2023 and makes it illegal to manufacture, sell (or attempt to sell), display, trade, and donate (or otherwise, distribute) fur products in the state. And in New York City, anti-fur activists pressured lawmakers to introduce bill number 1476, which is to prohibit sales of fur apparel and accessories.

24th November 2020

Gerry Boland speaks with Maurice O’Connor on Community Radio Kilkenny City .. Listen to the podcast here .