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Animals in Fashion

Fur, Cruelty and Live Skinning

By No Comments4 min read
Get a feel for fur:  Slam your fingers in a car door.

Some relish the wearing of the fur of a (tortured, suffering and painfully slaughtered) animal.  To our shame, in Namibia, lies the trade in Karakul, or astrakhan, also known as “broadtail” or “Persian wool”  Popularly known as The Black Gold Of Fur; this is the fur of newborn and fetal karakul lambs who are bred for the bloody fur trade. The majority is now bred in the east.

Namibia produces approximately 140,000 pelts per annum. These are sold under the name Swakara in Denmark. The dark colours comprising the bulk at 95% are exported to South Africa, while the lighter colours are sold on auction at the Pelt Centre in Windhoek.

Because their highly prized curly fur begins to unwind and straighten within days of birth, many karakul lambs are slaughtered immediately or the mother is slaughtered and she is slashed open to remove the unborn lamb. A sheep typically gives birth to three lambs before being slaughtered along with her fourth lamb, two to four weeks before it is due to be born.

As many as 4 million karakul lambs are slaughtered for their pelt every year.

The fur industry tries to justify karakul lamb fur as a byproduct but the mother sheep and her baby’s skinned carcass are usually regarded as waste. Besides this industry, about 30 million animals are raised in cages and killed worldwide for fur every year, a couple of million of which are cats and dogs.


Minks are the animals most commonly raised on fur farms, and are inbred for unusual colour; white mink are deaf as a result and another colour suffers ‘screw-neck’ due to a lack of gravity receptors in the ear.

Foxes, chinchillas, rabbits and other animals are also victims. Animals raised on fur farms live in intense confinement, and suffer psychologically. Neurotic behaviors include pacing, circling, self-mutilation, and throwing themselves against the sides of their wire cages. Caged foxes will resort to cannibalism.

Many of these animals will die from disease, stress, cannibalism and self-mutilation, but enough will survive to make the business profitable, and they will then suffer anal electrocution, suffocation, or poisoning, all to ensure the fur isn’t damaged.

Despite what the fur retailers will tell you, there is no such thing as ‘humane’ fur or cruelty free fur.

And these days you can buy a child’s or companion animals toy or an item of clothing with a trim without realizing you are buying the product of a Chinese fur farm—an animal that was once captive in a wire cage, eventually skinned alive.

85% of the world’s fur comes from fur farms and China is the world’s largest exporter of fur. The demand of the West, the absence of animal welfare and cheap labor makes China a breeding ground (literally) of terror and suffering.




Fur trim and toys together with a gullible or uncaring public has resulted in a fur boom. Most people wouldn’t dream of buying a full length fur coat, but will happily purchase a jersey with furry buttons, a jacket with a fur trim hood, even a wedding dress with fur detail! The animal dies just the same.

Rabbit fur is ‘real’ fur, despite many proclaiming the opposite. The fur IS the product, not the ‘waste’ from a food animal. As with leather, the skin is often the saleable item. And wearing a ‘by-product’ still perpetuates the demand.

These days it is easy to look glamourous and gorgeous without causing harm or suffering to another being. If you won’t wear your companion cat or dog, why wear anyone else?

What you can do:

  • Most of the fur trim these days, even though marked as fake, is real fur, and most probably cat, dog or rabbit. Please, don’t buy fur trinkets, key rings, watch straps, toys, trim, buttons, hair pieces or jewellery!
  • Don’t support suppliers who sell fur items.
  • Tell them why you won’t support them.
  • Write to fur suppliers and retailers and tell them why fur is unacceptable.
  • Attend fur protests in your area
  • It must be noted that Truworths and YDE have taken a strong stand against fur!


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