Every year over half a million animals are locked in tiny wire cages on Latvian fur farms, beaten and killed.
Animals such as foxes, chinchillas or minks are often not properly anesthetized and, when fully conscious, experience their skin being torn from their bodies.
New photos by the Latvian organization “Dzīvnieku brīvība” of Latvia’s largest mink farm clearly show all the suffering during the mating season.
Female minks are torn apart by their male counterparts
In June 2020 the Latvian organization “Dzīvnieku brīvība” published recordings that were taken during the mating season on the largest mink farm in Latvia with 60,000 animals.
You can see how female workers grab minks and throw them into the cages of their male counterparts. The frightened animals fight back with all their might: They scream, urinate or bite into the gloves of the workers so hard that they can only get rid of the animals by force.
The female minks have no way of escaping in the tiny cages and can thus be severely injured or even fatally torn by the male mink.
The video footage shows female minks with severe head injuries, deep wounds or even torn out innards. Due to the intense mating pressure, the animals also suffer from painful inflamed genitals.
Immediately after mating, the male minks are thrown into the killing box and gassed. Because minks spend a lot of time in and under water in the wild, they can hold their breath for a very long time.
As a result, many animals fight for their lives even after ten minutes in the killing box.
Unreasonable working conditions in the fur industry
But not only the animal-torturing housing conditions, but also the inhumane working conditions to which the workers on the fur farms are exposed, are inextricably linked to the “fur industry” system.
For example, workers often suffer injuries due to inadequate occupational safety.
In her video, “Dzīvnieku brīvība” also refers to the psychological strain that this job brings with it: This work is inhumane, and the rotation among workers is not surprising, because no one can endure it.
Even the nicest people are inevitably dulled by all the suffering.
They have to get used to the violence in order to meet the requirements and speed set by the bosses.
Coronavirus can mutate dangerously on fur farms In Europe, more than 400 SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks are known on mink farms and an international risk analysis suggests that European fur farms could pose a serious public health risk.
Animals like raccoon dogs or mink are very susceptible to coronaviruses, and their immune systems are severely weakened by the conditions in which they are kept and injuries.
The large number of animals of the same species in a very small space offers ideal conditions for the virus to spread rapidly and mutate on fur farms.
If these mutants spread to humans, there is a risk that the effect of vaccines will be reduced and the pandemic will be given a new impetus.
Due to intense pressure from local activists and organizations such as PETA and our international partner organizations, many European countries passed a fur farming ban.
For example, Estonia became the first Baltic country to issue a fur farming ban in June 2021, joining many other European nations such as Austria, Slovenia and the Netherlands, where it is already forbidden to kill animals for their fur.
And I mean…After the anti-fur movement’s struggle in the 1980s and 1990s, fur had become unsustainable and practically disappeared from our streets.
Except in luxury resorts, hardly anyone dared to go outside the door in a fur coat.
Fur has been back for a few years, but no longer in the form of old-fashioned heavy coats, but as trimmings on hoods, hats, boots or gloves.
From a luxury product, it has become a cheap accessory that everyone can afford.
But the fur production has not become more animal-friendly, on the contrary: The short life of the animals on farms is torture, full of suffering and pain.
Instead of looking for food alone at night and spending a lot of time in and around the water, the mink walk back and forth on the grating floor day in and day out, the animals sit over their excrements.
Most develop behavioral disorders such as grid-biting, auto-aggression, or cannibalism.
Farm fur is produced under the same conditions worldwide. This industrial caging of wild animals is pure animal cruelty.
Especially because the production of fur has shifted significantly to Asia, where it can be produced more cheaply and animal welfare laws practically do not exist.
In the EU there are no laws for the keeping of fur animals, only “recommendations” or so-called “standards” and in China the keeping of fur animals is not regulated at all.
The video from Latvia makes it clear that the conditions for fur animals in Latvia are not much different than in other parts of the world, like this one from China, for example
There is no fur without animal suffering – everyone must be aware of that.
Everyone who produces, sells, or buys fur has blood on their hands.
We hope that the Latvian Parliament will soon decide to close the country’s fur farms.
Latvia can take a good example from its neighbor, Estonia, which became the first Baltic country to vote for a fur farming ban on June 2, 2021.
My best regards to all, Venus