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Why 2019 Will Spell the Death of the Fur Industry

Animal Justice January 1, 2019

For years, animal advocates have been fighting to shut down the horrific fur industry. It’s been a long, hard battle, but major victories in 2018 for fur-bearing animals have proven that times are finally changing!

Over four million animals are killed for their fur in Canada every year, with global estimates reaching into the hundreds of millions. Most of these animals were confined on fur farms, where they spend their entire lives in small cages, and suffer both physically and mentally. Caged animals are known to cannibalize their cage-mates, exhibit stereotypic behaviours—indicative of mental distress, and self-mutilate due to the stress of confinement.

Animals are also trapped in the wild with extremely painful traps and snares. For example, leg-hold traps have been banned in 90 countries, but this bone-crushing device continues to be legally used in Canada. Animals caught in leg-hold traps are known to chew off their own limbs to escape, and can wait for hours or days before being brutally killed by the trapper Animals killed in snares often suffer slow and painful deaths by strangulation.

While the sheer number of animals affected by the fur industry is heartbreaking, 2018 was a landmark year for animals used for fur. Take a look at some of the legal and social achievements for these animals, and be inspired to believe that the days of the cruel fur industry are only getting shorter and shorter.

 

Legal victories

2018 was incredible year filled with legal victories to combat fur industry cruelty. In January, Norway— once the world’s largest producer of fox pelts—banned fur farms, with the new law going into effect in 2025.

Major American cities are also leading the way in banning fur sales. San Francisco enacted a ban in March 2018, joining other California cities Berkley and West Hollywood. Los Angeles is in the final stages of introducing a fur ban, too, and historic legislation has now been introduced in California that would usher in a state-wide fur ban.

Luxembourg banned fur farms in June 2018, with the legislation having taken effect in October of this year. In July, a new Belgian law banned fur farms in the country, including a five-year transition period. And now, lawmakers in Amsterdam and the UK are considering introducing legislation to ban the sale of fur as well.

Canada has seen legal progress, too. The first known animal cruelty charges against an Ontario fur farm were laid in May 2018, sending a signal that fur farm cruelty isn’t above the law.

2019 is off to a great start as well, with a fur farm ban in Serbia going into effect after a 10-year transition period!

Fur-free fashion revolution

Meanwhile, there has been an unstoppable domino effect of major fashion labels vowing to never again use fur in future collections.

In 2018, these fashion houses banned fur: Burberry, Diane von Furstenberg, Maison Margiela, Jean Paul Gaultier, Donna Karan / DKNY, Versace, Chanel, Coach, Belstaff, John Galliano, and Furla.

Ultra-famous pop culture and style icon Kim Kardashian announced in 2018 that she would go fur-free. Given her incredible influence, this move was an incredible signal that cruelty in fashion is no longer acceptable.

London Fashion Week was officially fur-free this year. This iconic event was the first major fashion week in the world to ban real fur from the runway. London Fashion Week was previously targeted by animal advocates and compassionate citizens for promoting animal cruelty. The event’s groundbreaking shift points to the fact that animal advocacy works!

 

Times are changing

The fur industry has been historically secretive about its horrific processes. But thanks to countless exposés, and the age of social media, society is waking up and gaining awareness of the cruelty of the fur industry.

And while many brands are making the compassionate switch to animal-free materials, some have been refusing to change.

Canada Goose as an example, still peddles parkas made with suffering, filled with down and trimmed with the fur of tortured coyotes.

But as consumer attitudes continue to change, fur losses its social acceptance, and legal victories for animals continue to be won, the brands that continue to torture animals for the sake of fashion will be forced to change their ways—or become irrelevant to an increasingly compassionate body of consumers.

 

 

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Criminal Charge Dropped Against Witness Who Filmed Fur Farm Cruelty

Animal Justice October 23, 2018

Prosecutors in Oshawa, Ontario have withdrawn a criminal break and enter charge against animal advocate Malcolm Klimowicz, who was charged earlier this year after filming severe neglect and cruelty on a mink farm. The charge had prompted massive rallies outside the Oshawa courthouse, significant public outcry, and even inspired the hashtag #MinkTrial.

Break and enter carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Initially, prosecutors refused to withdraw the charge laid by police, even though legal experts considered the case against Mr. Klimowicz to be weak.

In 2017, Mr. Klimowicz walked on to multiple mink farms in Ontario and filmed the heartbreaking conditions that he found. He documented injured and dead minks confined in tiny, filthy wire cages, with piles of feces, puddles of urine, and crawling maggots. Minks were frequently overcrowded in the barren cages, and many suffered from open wounds and displayed repetitive behaviours that indicate severe psychological distress.

The shocking video footage was submitted to authorities, but the fur farms escaped prosecution, despite evidence of unimaginable cruelty in violation of federal and provincial laws. The only charges laid were against Mr. Klimowicz himself.

Although the Oshawa charge has now been withdrawn, Mr. Klimowicz still faces similar charges in Collingwood and Kingston.

Police and prosecutors frequently pursue animal advocates for exposing animal suffering while ignoring the crimes of the animal abusers, including Save Movement founder Anita Krajnc, acquitted of criminal mischief for giving water to thirsty pigs. The Krajnc trial made global headlines and exposed millions of people to meat industry cruelty. If the remaining charges against Mr. Klimowicz go to trial, the prosecution will undoubtedly have the same effect, increasing public awareness of horrific cruelty inherent in the Canadian fur industry.

Fur farming is largely unregulated in Canada, with few, if any, standards for the conditions under which animals must be kept. Fur farm cruelty runs rampant, as documented by Mr. Klimowicz as well as during another cross-country undercover investigation in 2014.

Mr. Klimowicz is accepting contributions toward his legal defence on his crowdfunding page, and supporters are invited to stay tuned for details on future court dates.

 

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P.E.I. Ignores Calls to Restrict Fur Trapping, Extends Season Instead

Animal Justice, Cats, Dogs September 13, 2016

Prince Edward Island just bowed to the fur industry by giving hunters and trappers permission to kill even more animals this upcoming season. The move comes instead of heeding Animal Justice’s call to restrict fur trapping or even end the cruel practice altogether in the province.

Environment Minister Robert Mitchell announced in a news release that hunters would have an extra six weeks in total to kill snowshoe hares, and an extra month in the spring to trap minks. The news release indicates that the changes were made at the request of hunters and trappers.

Fur trapping is an incredibly violent practice. Canadian provinces allow trappers to use leg-hold traps, snares, and crush traps — cruel devices that often cause animals to suffer excruciating pain before they die.

Animal Justice met with Minister Mitchell last February to request a province-wide ban on fur trapping.

P.E.I.’s fur trapping industry has been under fire in recent years due to a rash of household companion animals being killed or injured in traps and snares. Companion animals in P.E.I. are at constant risk of dying in traps in part because provincial regulations allow traps to be set as near to residential homes as trappers wish, while snares can be set a mere 200 metres away. P.E.I. is the smallest and most densely-populated province in the country, meaning that pets aren’t safe so long as trapping is allowed.

Traps can also be set on Crown land, even though the provincial government encourages the public to hike on public land and bring their dogs along. Tragically, this leads to dogs dying in traps and snares, such as a dog named Caper who was killed last year in a baited snare set near a provincial trail.

The fur trade is on its way out, with pelt prices dropping drastically as many people refuse to wear fur. It is disappointing that the government has chosen to give special treatment to a dying industry, yet ignores Animal Justice and the countless P.E.I. residents who are asking the government to ban or restrict trapping. Expanding the killing season will allow many more animals to be brutally killed, and will further increase the risk that pets will become victims of traps.

Learn more about the cruelty of fur trapping here.

Animal Justice

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