Jaws of Death
There are various traps employed by fur trappers, but the most widely used trap is the barbaric device known as the steel jaw leghold trap. This particular trap has been banned in 63 countries, as well as in Florida, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Arizona. When an animal steps on the leghold trap spring, the trap's jaw slams shut on the animals limb. Animals caught in these traps will struggle to get loose, mutilating the foot and causing deep, painful lacerations.
In some instances, animals will attempt to escape by chewing or twisting off their trapped limb. A study conducted in Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge in Tennessee found that 28% of mink, 24% of raccoons, and 26% of trapped fox bit off their own limbs in hopes of surviving. Animals that remain in traps for long periods of time can die of blood loss, starvation, infection, frostbite, gangrene or be killed by predators. Victims of water-set traps, like beavers and muskrats can take up to 20 agonizing minutes to drown.
Pole traps are often used because many trapped animals are mutilated by predators before trappers return to claim their bodies. A pole trap is a form of leghold trap that is set in a tree or on a pole. Animals falling victim to these traps are lifted in the air and left to hang by the caught appendage until they die or the trapper returns to kill them.
If an animal survives in the trap, further torture awaits when the trappers return. The time between an animal being trapped and the trapper returning to claim their body can vary from 24 hours to one week, depending on the state. Four states have no regulations at all. To avoid damaging the pelt, trappers will bludgeon or stomp their victims to death. The most common stomping method is for the trapper to stand on the animal's rib cage, near the heart. He then reaches down, takes the animal's hind legs in his hands and yanks. "Fur Trapping: A Complete Guide" put it this way - "Hit the trapped animal just forward of the eyes with a stick. While it is unconscious, use your knee or the heel of your shoe to come down hard behind the front leg. This ruptures the heart and the animal never regains consciousness."
Each year hundreds of thousands of dogs, cats, birds, and other animals are "accidentally" mutilated or killed in traps. These animals are called "trash kills" because they have no economic value. Here in New York State, a woman named Susan Foster was walking her dog when he ran into the bushes and was caught in a body grip (conibear) trap. Conibear traps are considered more "humane" by the fur industry. She testified in a police statement that her dog was in agony for 20 minutes. The trap was too strong for her to open and her dog writhed in pain until he eventually died.
Some people mistakenly believe that animals raised on ranches do not suffer. Both trapping and ranching involve animal suffering. Neither is humane. Ranched animals, primarily minks and foxes spend their lives in close confinement under appalling conditions, only to be killed by cruel and primitive methods. Foxes are kept in cages only 2.5 feet square, with as many as four animals per cage. Minks and other species are generally kept in cages only 1 by 3 feet, again up to four animals per cage. Both foxes and mink are sometimes so stressed that they attack and cannibalize each other. This crowding and confinement is particularly distressing to minks, who are by nature solitary animals. Ranched animals live only a fraction of their natural lifespans, filled with fear and stress.
Pain and Suffering
Federal humane slaughter laws do not exist for animals on fur farms, and kill methods are gruesome. Since fur farmers are only interested in preserving the quality of the fur, they use slaughter methods that keep the pelts intact but which can result in extreme suffering for the animals. Smaller animals can be shoved into boxes, sometimes 20 at a time, where they are poisoned with hot, unfiltered engine exhaust pumped in by a hose from a truck. Sometimes engine exhaust isn't always lethal, and some animals wake up while they are being skinned. Larger animals, including foxes, are often painfully electrocuted by having rods inserted into their anuses. Other animals are poisoned with strychnine, and still others are drowned.
The fur industry claims it has "humane standards," yet it refuses to condemn even the most blatantly cruel killing methods of genital electrocution and neck-breaking. Genital electrocution in particular, deemed "unacceptable" by the American Veterinary Medical Association 1993 Panel on Euthanasia causes animals the pain of cardiac arrest while they are fully conscious.
And Now, The Pictures
Caged fox at a fur "farm."
Leftovers of your fur coat.
Dog caught in steel trap.
Ferret caugh in leghold trap.
Lynx caught in leghold trap.
Squirrel caught in leghold trap.
Farm foxes canibalized their cagemate.
Fox caught in leghold trap.
Tiger caught in leghold trap.
Dobie caught in leghold trap.
Wearing Your Best Friend
German Shep in China is stabbed in the groin.
A wire noose is tightened around the neck. The dog is still alive.
She is strung up. She may be alive and conscious at this point.
Caged domestic cats.
The "little helper" helps select cats.
A pile of strangled cats.
The cutting board.