Animals such as minks, foxes and chinchillas are routinely bred and raised on fur farms and killed after their first moulting.
The animals in fur farms are not domesticated. They are fearful of humans and are fundamentally unsuitable for farming.
In contrast to domestication, the emphasis on fur farms has been to select for traits associated with pelt colour and quality, body size and litter size, with little attention paid to behavioural traits.
Keeping wild predators in small cages results in numerous serious stress-related health problems, including infected wounds, missing limbs and cannibalism, as shown in footage taken by an employee at a Lithuanian fur farm.
Scientific studies add further weight to the substantial body of evidence demonstrating that the needs of animals such as mink and foxes are not being met in current housing systems - and in fact cannot be met in any housing system.
In the wild, a fox would have a territory of several square kilometres, in a cage it has only a few square centimetres. Keeping typically solitary animals such as mink in close proximity to one another can be distressing. To cope with these unnatural situations, animals are known to fight and self-harm. Such conditions do not allow the animals to perform natural behaviours, such as swimming or digging.
Finally, having endured tough conditions during their short life, animals are slaughtered in a variety of violent ways, such as asphyxia through gassing, or by electrocution.
This makes it difficult to evaluate the exact source of all animals and thus the impact of their removal from the wild. The lack of proper regulations on the keeping and trade of exotic pets in many Member States, coupled with insufficient knowledge of some private keepers, undermines the welfare of the animals and pose a threat to human and animal health and biodiversity.