Yesterday, my brother shared a link to footage of a fur farm in China. It came with a warning... Not for the faint - hearted. As usual, curiousity took over and I tentatively clicked on play. The first few seconds were showing thousands of cramped, caged animals such as Arctic foxes, rabbits and raccoons. Then, one of the farmers (not really sure what else to call them, without being abusive), opened a cage door and with a long pole and noose, slung the noose over the head of a little fluffy, white fox and began to pull. The farmer then put the little, innocent, petrified fox on to a block. The fox kept struggling and rolling, trying desperately to escape its fate. One of the farmers, without any remorse, held tightly, whilst the other one stuck two pins in to the fox's chest and rear. I believe these were electric shocks. The little fox became still. Soon to become a bag, scarf, pair of gloves or part of a coat.
More footage had me choked. I then pressed pause to breath for a moment and collect my courage for the next sequence. Large cages, again, rammed with animals such as dogs and cats. Some had collars on and had clearly been stolen off the streets. These were peoples' pets. Like my Otto... The cages were thrown off the backs of trucks, so carelessly that some of the animals were shattering, bones snapping and breaking. Then, scenes of live animals, being hung by their back legs in preparation for skinning. Animals were openly being bludgeoned to death, kicked and beaten. Absolutely no shame. A festival of slaughter - screaming, calling, yelping. Animals in sheer excruciating pain and unimaginable fear.
I pressed pause. The tears were welling and my stomach was tightening... I take a breath. Why am I allowing myself to endure this agonising film? I begin to suspect that this is part of the process of understanding and acknowledging the cruelty that continues. I have written about poaching, hunting, 'canned' hunting and this is an extension of that research. Some how, though, as much as it devastates to see an animal shot... nothing could have prepared me for what came next...
A pile of skinned raccoons... lifeless and raw. I felt nausea creeping up to my throat. Then... as the camera scanned across the bodies... there was a slight movement. One raccoon slowly raised its head to face the camera. Its last breath was taken. This little creature had survived being skinned alive. Although just for a moment. Who could possibly imagine the final thought going through its naked skull. So... at that moment, I literally gagged. Their tortured little souls left me deeply distressed.
This is not about culture or tradition. It saddens me beyond words to think of the killing of tigers, snow leopards and lions for their body parts. The suffering of elephants for their ivory or rhinos for their horns. The majority of this poaching is down to Chinese cultural beliefs. They insist on certain animal parts aiding good health and well being. Not so. It has not been scientifically proven. This is folklore. That said, the fur trade is business. Another day at the office. The demand is still overwhelming, beyond belief. As I mentioned in my 'Save The Lion' blog, where there is money - animals will die. This is supply on demand. The Chinese are the largest exporters of fur. Sadly, I feel that our efforts to preserve wildlife from the Chinese unethical and disgraceful murdering, could be futile, unless steps are taken to lay down laws which prevent people from buying fur. Boycott anyone who trades or farms. The farming of non - endangered species is thriving also, in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Holland. The government, here in the U.K., banned fur farming in 2003, but still allows importing of fur. The fur trade is worth up to £500 million a year to the U.K. - Mink and Fox amongst the most popular. So, this begs yet another question. Who is buying and why? How, in this day and age can anyone wear fur from any animal whether endangered or not? I wonder if they have seen the writhing of a hopeless animal, hanging by its hinds and screaching out in pain, whilst the farmer peels away its beautiful fur. Would the buyer still wear the coat with pride? Do they have a conscience? Clearly not. Ignorance is bliss.
CITES (Convention on International Trade In Endangered Species) of Wild Fauna and Flora, will give some hope. As a country, we could stop the importing of fur, but to ban International fur farming would take years. Let us not forget that the foxes, raccoons and rabbits are not endangered, but they still feel pain. Cat and dog fur is legally sold in the U.K. - It is all a shambles. These helpless little animals, our 'fine furry friends', are being slaughtered. Skinned alive.
I placed a photograph of one of my cats to make us think about the suffering. It is only by reaching in to emotional attachments, with our animals, that changes are ever going to occurr.
In recent years, furriers have reported a surge in sales. The International Fur Trade Federation says global sales have increased from £5billion in 2000 to £6.6billion in 2012. That is shocking! The BFTA say that sales have risen by a third in the past year, both support CITES and say... "As an industry, we are against any form of animal cruelty..."
So... As said before, I am a blip on this Universe. However, I have a voice, albeit quiet and unheard most of the time... but, I have passion, heart and faith. I am passionate about animal welfare, have a heart full of love for innocent beings and faith in the human race. The human race that wants to make a difference. The humans who have intelligence and the strength of will (just like the wilful little raccoon) to pass on this message and keep raising awareness. STOP THE KILLING, STOP THE FUR TRADE, STOP THE SLAUGHTERING OF INNOCENT AND BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS...