Our new investigation in Poland: foxes confined to cages for fur production

© Essere Animali


Our new investigation in Poland: foxes confined to cages for fur production

Brenda Ferretti
Campaigns manager

The unedited images that we collected in Poland show the cruelty of fur farming in Europe, an archaic and cruel system that must be banned, as more than one million European citizens and dozens of organisations are calling for by means of the Fur Free Europe initiative.

Our investigation team has conducted a new investigation in Poland – the main European country for mink farming for fur production and second for fox farming, after Finland – gathering images inside a huge fur farm on which foxes are confined in narrow and dilapidated individual cages.

How foxes are kept in these farms

The images we collected in Poland show:

  • Foxes with repetitive behaviours that compulsively circle inside their individual battery cages, slamming into metal walls;
  • Battery cages that are dirty, bare and free of environmental enrichment;
  • Cages with the floor entirely composed of a wire mesh, totally unsuitable for animals and a source of additional pain for their feet;
  • Poor systems for watering and feeding the animals: in the cages, the only way to give the animals water is a single iron cup for each animal and almost all the cups were empty when we entered the farm;
  • A fox with health problems in its muzzle and mouth, with very swollen gums: a disease that significantly worsens their already critical conditions. This often leads to the premature killing of the animals.
The problem is due to hereditary gingival hyperplasia, a genetic disease that affects foxes selected for fur production.
© Essere Animali

The conditions we documented show the extreme and repressive confinement to which foxes are subjected, animals that in nature have a complex social life, form pairs and family groups and are used to digging burrows with numerous tunnels and covering a very wide radius (up to 20-30 square kilometres for Arctic foxes). Red foxes are able to walk up to 10 km a day, while Arctic foxes cover up to 100 km in a single period during migratory seasons. They are denied any opportunity to express these natural behaviours on fur farms.

Calling for a fur-free Europe

This investigation is part of the European Fur Free Europe campaign, promoted by more than 60 animal rights associations – including us – in 23 member states. In just over nine months we have collected more than 1.5 million signatures from European citizens – including Italians – who want to see an end to a cruel, superfluous and unethical production system.

In order not to ruin the fur, the foxes are killed by electrocution: one electrode is inserted into the mouth and one in the rectum and an electric shock is then given.
© Essere Animali

Fur Free Europe is already a record-breaking initiative. Although this demonstrates how sensitive people are to this issue, it is still important for thousands of citizens to sign the European Citizens’ Initiative, thus showing the European Commission how urgent it is to legislate to protect these animals and ban the production, import and trade of furs in Europe.

These farms deny the animals – who are no different from our companion animals – any opportunity to exhibit their natural behaviour. From an ethical point of view, we need to ask ourselves whether all of this is still acceptable. Our answer is obviously no: in a world in which we have many more sustainable alternatives to animal fur and numerous brands that have decided to abandon fur, it’s time to turn the page forever and also show producers a better way, free of animal exploitation.

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