The fur trade is cruel and causes unnecessary suffering to animals, who are often skinned alive as it is believed that this makes the fur better. Investigators have found that many animals are struggling desperately when workers flip them onto their backs or hang them up by their legs or tails to skin them. Investigators have found that workers on these farms begin to cut the skin and fur from an animal's leg, the free limbs kick and writhe. Workers stomp on the necks and heads of animals who struggle too hard to allow a clean cut. When the fur is finally peeled off over the animals' heads, their naked, bloody bodies are thrown onto a pile of those who have gone before them. Some are still alive, breathing in ragged gasps and blinking slowly. Some of the animals' hearts are still beating five to 10 minutes after they are skinned. One investigator recorded a skinned raccoon dog on the heap of carcasses who had enough strength to lift his bloodied head and stare into the camera.
Before they are skinned alive, animals are pulled from their cages and thrown to the ground; workers bludgeon them with metal rods or slam them on hard surfaces, causing broken bones and convulsions but not always immediate death.
When investigators went into an animal market in southern China, they were horrified to find dogs and cats being bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and strangled with wire nooses so that their fur could be turned into trim and trinkets.
They found cats and dogs languishing in tiny cages, visibly exhausted. Some had been on the road for days, transported in flimsy wire-mesh cages with no food or water.
Twenty cats were forced into a single cage. Because of the cross-country transport in such deplorable conditions, the investigators were able to see dogs and cats with open wounds, dying cats and dogs inside the cages, and dead cats on top of the cages. Some animals were lethargic or terrified, and others were fighting with each other, driven insane from confinement and exposure.