Today, Born Free USA published a new report on the fur farming industry in the United States. The new research titled Silent Suffering in Our Own Backyard: Fur Farming in the United States highlights serious failings in animal welfare regulations, oversight, and a negligent disregard for public health in light of the recent outbreak of COVID-19 in multiple fur farms in Utah, Wisconsin, and Michigan.
As per the report, despite many countries around the world banning the cruel practice of farming animals for the sole purpose of skinning them to use their pelts for clothing, the U.S. has fallen behind and has taken no progressive steps to protect animals from this miserable fate in more than a decade. Some states were found to have no regulations at all to provide even minimum protection for animals in fur farms, while others could not even tell Born Free researchers which of their departments of state had responsibility for fur farm oversight and governance.
“In addition to the significant animal suffering involved in fur farming, the fact that we are now seeing concrete evidence of fur farms as a source of COVID-19 during the ongoing global pandemic makes the call to end this cruel industry in the United States all the more urgent,” Angela Grimes, CEO of Born Free USA, said in a statement. “There is absolutely no excuse to have fur in our closets in 2020, and the risk to animal welfare and public health absolutely cannot be justified for such a frivolous purpose as a fashion fad.”
Wearing animal fur as clothing has been steadily falling out of fashion for decades. As members of the public learned about the cruel conditions faced by animals on fur farms, they have turned their back on the practice in droves. A poll released in September 2020 confirmed that only one-in-four U.S. citizens are in favor of killing animals for their fur.
Concerns over cruelty and decreasing demand has resulted in many major fashion houses, including: Armani, Gucci, Michael Kors, Prada Group, and Versace implementing fur-free policies. They join designers such as: Diane von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney, and Vivienne Westwood, who are pioneering fur-free high fashion trends. Stores such as: H&M, Macy’s Inc., and Zara have also committed to going fur-free, while manufacturers such as Ecopel have filled the gap in the market left by the failing fur industry by creating high quality and sustainable fur substitutes.
Despite the industry downturn, fur farms still exist and millions of animals are still raised and killed globally; their lifeless bodies discarded and their skins used to make unnecessary coats, hats, or even trinkets. More than 85% of fur used in fashion is derived from animals in factory fur farms. Wisconsin is the leading mink producing state, generating more than one million pelts annually, followed by: Utah, Idaho, Oregon, and Minnesota.
In 2018, there were an estimated 245 mink farms in 22 states producing 3.1 million animal pelts valued at $82.6 million dollars. These numbers only include mink farms; no publicly available records are kept for other species. As such, these figures do not include farms that breed animals like fox, bobcat, rabbit, and chinchilla, Therefore, the total number of lives taken far exceeds these figures.
Born Free is calling for an end to fur farming in the United States via the implementation of state-level bans on the practice. In the short-term, transparency regarding the location of existing farms and number of animals held by them is being demanded in the interests of animal welfare and public health.
Sign the Petition to urge Utah, Michigan, and Wisconsin to address COVID-19 on fur farms, HERE!
You can help all animals and our planet by choosing compassion on your plate and in your glass. #GoVeg