On 9 October Sébastien Arsac, co-founder of L214, appeared on one of France’s most popular investigative TV programmes, ‘Cash investigation’. The edition was devoted to the shocking behind-the-curtain reality of the luxury goods sector in France. Sébastien Arsac called on France to follow the example of 12 European countries and ban fur farming.
Cash investigation on France 2 TV channel, regularly gets reaches 2-3 million viewers. The programme is presented by Elise Lucet, famous nationally for hard-hitting investigations.
The team went to China, the world’s largest fur producer with 70 million animals killed each year for their skin. They managed to be allowed to visit breeding farms and slaughterhouses that supply some of the major fashion brands, including the Italian label Max Mara. Footage exposed animal suffering and deplorable hygiene.
The main rabbit farms are in the Linyi region of China. The team visited one with about 10,000 animals, huddled together in tiny cages. There are no laws to respect even basic levels of hygiene and excrement piles up beside the cages. The team saw rabbits with respiratory and behavioral disorders, abscesses and deformities. And it is the fur of these rabbits that is turned into luxury goods. When questioned about the origin of the fur it uses, Max Mara replied: “We confirm that the fur is from certified suppliers.”
The programme ended with an interview with Sébastien Arsac, co-founder of L214 joined by a fashion designer and a specialist researching the fashion industry. All three condemned the practices and conditions uncovered by the investigators.
Viewers were shown that twelve European countries have already ended fur production on their soil. Sébastien Arsac called on France to follow this movement. “Other countries in Europe have banned breeding for fur, so can we, even if this means helping breeders transition out of the fur industry by 2020-2025.”
“Farms do not respect the biological needs of animals at all,” said the animal activist. “For example, mink are semi-aquatic animals that need to go into water. In their natural habitat, they cover six kilometers along river banks.” Fur farms traditionally keep mink in small cages throughout their lives.
Elise Lucet asked if L214 is not afraid of jeopardising a sector that generated €300 million revenue in 2017, and employs 2,500 people in France? These figures are from the French Fur Trade Federation that declined the invitation to take part in the programme, noted Lucet. “It’s actually a very small sector,” replied Sébastien Arsac. “These farms employ very few people, and the country can help breeders to get out of this type of farming. It’s a collective responsibility.”
“There are only a dozen mink farms,” said Sébastien Arsac. “The furs go straight to Copenhagen, so there are few processors in France.”
Elise Lucet concluded that despite the fact that twelve European countries that had much larger fur sectors have already closed them, in France, it is still “non“.
Brigitte Gothière, Co-founder, L214
Biljana Lalic, Membership and Development Officer, Eurogroup for Animals