All across the world, animals are being subjected to rigorous captive breeding plans, where they are initially taken from the wild, to be bred for the use of certain products, for example ivory or animal skin. The two trades I will be focusing on in this article, will be the breeding of animals for their fur, and the breeding of animals for their medicinal purposes.

 Fur Farming


A whopping 85% of the fur industry’s skins come from animals being held captive in fur farms. Fur refers to ‘animal skin’ and can consist of two elements.

1.Ground hair – a dense undercoat

2.Guard Hair – the longer hairs extending beyond the ground hairs.

Both have been used commercially within the fur industry and have been used principally to fashion outer garments such as coats and scarfs. I’m sure most of you have witnessed fur coats being sold, most predominantly in the high end fashion business but more recently becoming popular with high street consumers. Examples of animals proving popular within the fur industry include minks, followed by foxes, chinchillas and lynxes, but seals and leopards have also been used.

These animals are often detained within fur factory farms which can hold thousands of animals at a time. The methods used within the factories are utilised to create maximum profit, often regardless of the treatments the animals themselves must encounter.


Living Conditions

  • Animals are often bed in inhumane, sickening conditions and housed in cramped caging, often barely even able to turn in a full circle.
    Fox shys away in cage being held captive for fur farming.

    Fox contained inside cage for fur farming. Attribution to: Network For Animal – Flickr.

  • The animals are usually confined in these small cages with each other for extreme periods of time, living in fear and stress.
  • Due to the close proximities and poor conditions of their enclosures, diseases and parasites spread like wild-fire, often wiping out the animals before being skinned. It seems out of the two ways to die, the former is more merciful.

The United Nations reported that at least 1 billion rabbits are killed each year for their fur. Minks are packed into boxed cages unable to move, far from the 2,500 acres of wetland they originate from. Their conditions drive them into insanity and vexation, leading to them to self mutilate which often leads to their deaths.

Slaughter methods

Sorry, it’s time to talk about slaughter methods, with a word of warning that this may not be for the faint-hearted. However, it is still a topic we have to address.

At current date, there is no federal humane slaughter law which protects these animals in fur factory farms. What does this mean exactly? Fur companies and employers can kill and seize their fur in anyway they so wish.Methods are gruesome and aim to preserve the quality of the fur, regardless of the amount of pain and suffering it may cause to the animal. Small animals are often crammed into small cages and collectively poisoned with hot engine exhausts. It seems Nazi-like procedures are still okay if the recipient is unable to talk or defend for its life.The worst part is that the exhaust fumes do not always kill the animal, so they are left to be skinned alive. Another common method, but for larger animals is to clamp them or force rods into their mouths, resulting in them being painfully electrocuted.Many other adversely cruel acts are performed within these factories, but quite frankly I’m feeling queasy so I’m going to leave it there.

If you are interested in finding out more about these methods, this website will inform you in greater detail.

More recently, tiger farming has become popular in China where they are being bred for their bones which is turned into tonic wine. The wine can sell to up to as much as £130 per bottle. It has been reported that more than 5,000 of these tigers are being held captive for breeding and as few as 3,500 tigers are actually living in the wild.

Medicinal purposes


Animals most commonly found to be used for medicinal purposes are rats and mice, due to them having many biological similarities to humans. Although other animals are also used and they are specifically bred and raised for research. Due to the high demand within the medicine industry, billions of animals are bred purely for the use of testing medicine and for parts of their body which  can be used in medicine itself.

Animal research has contributed to significant improvement in the length and quality of our lives, this is something we cannot ignore.

  • Cancer – thanks to animal based research, there is a new molecular and genetic understanding of tumour biology, leading to treatments that set out directly to kill cancer cells.
  • HIV/Aids – work with animal models is continuing to develop new medicines with fewer side effects.
  • Heart disease/Stroke – death rates are forever decreasing and this is with help from testing out certain medicines on animals themselves.

Many argue it is morally acceptable to harm a few animals if it is for the greater good for humanity. We have all either taken antibiotics, undergone anesthesia, or taken vaccinations and benefited from the fact they were all tested on animals beforehand. However, the treatment of animals during these practices has been argued by some to be inhumane and not fair to the animals.



A mouse being held with a syringe about to be placed inside the top of its head.

Mouse is tested on with needle – Attribution to ‘

In animal testing, millions of animals are caged and their lives are used purely for the use of advancing human beings. They have no say in how their lives pan out and are often treated in cruel ways and through painful and torturous practices.

  • Animals Killed – the animals after their use are often killed straight away when they can no longer be tested on or are not needed. The ways of killing them can often be brutal.
  • Useless Testing – some substances used on the animals may never see approval or public assumption. This is a major negative for anti animal medical research activists who argue the animals have just suffered and died for nothing.
  • Poor Conditions – the animals used for research aren’t in their natural habitats at any point, they are often just cooped up in cages ready and waiting to be tested on. They have no ‘life’ as such and the practices used on them can be distressing for them and extremely painful.

Many have differing views on whether animals should be tested on or not. They are hugely beneficial in advancing medicines and treatments for illnesses with huge death rates, however the treatment of these animals within the testing sites has been argued to be exploitative and hugely inhumane, despite the benefits the end result brings.



Stella McCartney, a celebrity animal activist and designer has worked with PETA to expose and provide the facts of the fur industries and leather trade. In an interview, Stella argued:

“There’s nothing fashionable about a dead animal that has been cruelly killed just because some people think it looks cool to wear. The continuing use of fur is still a real problem in the fashion industry and there is an issue with people out there assuming that fur trim is fake when most of it is real.”Stella McCartney