Few people could force an animal to live its entire life in a cramped, barren cage suspended over its own feces.
Likewise, most humane-minded people would agree that puppy mills which keep dogs in precisely such conditions are abhorrent and should be shut down.
So what if the dogs were being raised solely as a fashion accessory? What if they were being raised and skinned for their fur?
What if the animals were not domestic dogs, but wild animals scarcely different from our own native wildlife running free in our forests and mountains?
Finally, what if this treatment were completely legal and virtually unregulated?
This is precisely the situation that exists for millions of animals raised on North American fur farms.
The frivolity behind such treatment makes it particularly repugnant.
Between 10 and 24 foxes and 36 to 65 mink are killed to make a single fur coat. While it may take fewer animals per coat to produce fur-trimmed garments, fur trim collectively may take more animal lives than do full-length fur coats due to its prevalence in today's fashion.
Globally the majority of fur used in fashion comes from animals raised on fur farms where they are forced to live in cramped confined conditions that fail to accommadate their natural behavior. Death provides their only release and is often precipitated by extreme fear, stress, illness and pain.
Conditions on fur farms worldwide are nearly identical. Standard industry practices focus on maximizing profit and farmer convenience and minimizing costs. Animal welfare considerations that do not result in substantial profit margin increases or hedge against profit loss are ignored. Exceptions to this rule are found only in countries that have passed legislation that specifically requires fur farms to comply with animal welfare provisions or that prohibits particularly egregious practices.
In North America, such laws are sorely lacking. While fox, mink, lynx and bobcats are tightly confined to their cages, fur farmers are virtually unfettered by government oversight despite industry claims to the contrary.
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