An undercover investigation by Humane Society International/UK and Finnish animal campaigners Oikeutta Eläimille has revealed despicable conditions and distressing animal suffering on fur farms in Finland.
Finland has exported more than £11 million of fur to the UK since 2000 despite the same fur farm cruelty being banned in the UK.
Fox fur originating from Finland is used by brands including Fendi, Moncler, Yves Salomon, Woolrich, Herno and Max Mara. These brands can be found in stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and Flannels.
The fur trade claims that almost 100% of fox and raccoon dog fur farms in Finland, and 96% of mink fur farms, are certified by the fur trade’s SAGA Furs assurance scheme which promises “the highest level of animal welfare”.
The truth uncovered
The investigators visited three fur farms in the Ostrobothnia region of Finland, two of which are SAGA certified. They found foxes in small, barren cages suffering with deformed feet, diseased eyes, missing ears, and obesity.
Two of the farms held obese “monster foxes” which had been bred with huge pelts and rolls of fat folded over their body to increase the volume of fur that they produce.
In 2017 the fur trade stated it would put an end to the breeding of these oversized foxes, and yet their existence continues to be exposed by investigations such as this.
Veterinarian Dr Marc Abraham OBE, who joined the investigation, said: “As a vet and campaigner who has dedicated my life to animal welfare, it was not only truly depressing to seeing the appalling state of these foxes, but still worse to know that the UK is 100% complicit in this legal fur trade cruelty.
“What I witnessed first-hand was shameful from an animal welfare point of view. Row upon row of pitiful animals imprisoned in tiny cages, barely larger than the length of their body from nose to tail.
“Many of the foxes we saw had painfully swollen eyes, deformed feet with overgrown claws from having to stand on the wire floor, as well as poor body condition and obesity. Not to mention self-mutilation, the clear sign of psychological trauma they must suffer as wild animals without appropriate enrichment.
“It must be mental torture being denied the freedom to run and exercise in their natural woodland environment that they can clearly view surrounding their cages, which their instincts are telling them to explore 24/7, but to which, tragically, they will never have access during their short lives.
“The UK government assured us that after Brexit it would consider what could be done in terms of a UK fur sales ban, and observing such high levels of animal suffering on those Finnish fur farms, leaves me in no doubt that right now is the time to make good on that promise.”