Skinned foxes piled in mountains before their fur is sold in 'scenes from hell'

7 July 2020, 18:14 | Updated: 7 July 2020, 18:20

Thousands of foxes are killed for their fur and kept in horrific conditions
Thousands of foxes are killed for their fur and kept in horrific conditions. Picture: Humane Society

By Fiona Jones

Warning: GRAPHIC IMAGES

Humane Society International have released shocking footage from Asian farms which shows mountains of skinned foxes tossed into piles before their fur is sold on UK high streets.

Humane Society International UK chief Claire Bass told LBC that these animals have suffered "abject cruelty" and while these images are from Asia this "depravity" happens in the fur trade worldwide.

"In my role I see a lot of animal suffering...but this really is a new low from the fur trade and anyone who is thinking about buying or wearing fur should see this suffering and where it comes from," Ms Bass said.

More than 100 million animals are killed for their fur every year worldwide including mink, fox, raccoon dog, chinchilla and coyote – that’s equal to three animals dying every second, just for their fur. Additionally, rabbits are also killed for their fur, likely to be in the hundreds of millions.

Before being skinned many animals have to live their lives in cages which is the equivalent of humans spending their existence in a lift.

Ms Bass said that the animals experience a mental collapse and then after a year are "brutally killed in the most awful of ways, which including gassing and electrocution."

The poor animals are crammed into tiny cages
The poor animals are crammed into tiny cages. Picture: Humane Society

Even more alarmingly, foxes and raccoon dogs are known to be able to become infected with SARS-CoV-related viruses, with the potential to act as intermediate hosts to pass viruses to humans.

Raccoon dogs and foxes in wildlife markets in China were both found to have been infected with SARS-CoV. HSI is calling on governments to completely ban consumption and trade in wild animals, in order to reduce the risk of another pandemic.

Fur farming is not legal in the UK however fur is still being imported to this country which is something the Humane Society International aims to ban.

"It is still a very large trade but it is declining...major designers like Gucci, Prada, Versace has been dropping fur and that then has a trickle down effect to the high street," Ms Bass said, "fur is a deadly business and the quicker we can get it off our high streets the better."

Horrifying images of foxes being tossed into piles after being skinned
Horrifying images of foxes being tossed into piles after being skinned. Picture: Humane Society

Even more shockingly, the Humane Society International has exposed many retailers who have marketed their products as fake fur when in fact they are real fur as real fur can sometimes be cheaper.

"This means fur has been making an insidious come back through the backdoor," Ms Bass said, calling for people to be "really vigilant."

TV wildlife presenter and campaigner Chris Packham viewed HSI’s video and said:I am astonished at the depravity of the fur trade. This investigation is like a scene from hell and anyone who knowingly wears fur should not turn away from watching it.

"Aside from the unbelievable cruelty of their deaths, these foxes and raccoon dogs will have endured utterly miserable lives. In the wild they would roam and hunt for miles with all the sights and smells of their natural environment.

"Natural behaviours like digging for foxes are absolutely essential for their mental wellbeing, and yet on fur farms they are confined day in day out in barren battery cages.

"It is little wonder that that unrelenting deprivation can lead to the tell-tale signs of mental disturbance.

"There can be no place in British shops and wardrobes for fur, not when this is the price that animals pay, so I fully support HSI’s campaign to make the UK the first country in the world to ban this horrific and totally unnecessary industry."

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