An investigation of fox farms in Finland supplying major UK stores — such as the prestigious Harrods and Fendi — has shown the life of misery and pain these beautiful animals have to endure to satisfy the extravagant fashion taste of cruel fur wearers.   

Conducted by the UK branch of the Humane Society International and the Finnish animal rights group Oikeutta Eläimille, the investigation into three Finnish fox farms in the Ostrobothnia region revealed foxes with deformed feet inside barren cages, some with diseased eyes and missing ears.

These fox farms breed abnormally big and fat foxes so they can grow big skins. After a life of misery in small cages, the foxes are killed, their skins are ripped off their dead bodies and then supplied to fashion brands such as Fendi, Moncler, or Harvey Nicholes. These can then sell them to humans to wear — once the blood has been removed and they are treated with chemicals so they don’t rotten on people’s shoulders.  

Kristo Muurimaa, of Oikeutta Eläimille, said: “I have visited more than a hundred fur farms across Finland and every single one is as horrific as the last.”

Renowned UK Vet Dr Marc Abraham, who also visited the farms with the investigators, said to Plant Based News: “It must be mental torture being denied the freedom to run and exercise in their natural woodland environment that they can clearly view surrounding their cages, which their instincts are telling them to explore 24/7.” 

Despite the UK banning fox farms in 2002, it still allows the selling of fur items, most of which come from fox and raccoon farms from Finland. There has been increased opposition to the fur industry (which kills 100 million animals a year) as many cities, regions, countries, stores, brands and designers are ditching fur. Recently, British Columbia’s officials announce their fur Industry will be abolished by 2025.  In 2021 Israel became the first nation to ban the trade of fur in the fashion industry

Claire Bass, Humane Society International UK’s executive director, said: “It’s time to stop being complicit in this cruelty. It’s a clear double standard that the UK is outsourcing to countries like Finland the very same fur farm cruelty we banned here two decades ago.”

The UK government had indicated they would consider a ban on importing fur, but so far very little has been done in this direction. A 2020 YouGov opinion poll revealed that 79% of Brits most closely associate fashion brands selling fur with negative words (such as ‘unethical’, ‘outdated’ or ‘cruel’). Perhaps this investigation added to these polls may nudge Government officials into action.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.