University of Waterloo Vegetarian Club

End Cruelty, Get Healthy, Save the Planet

Animal Welfare/Rights
Animal Agriculture

  • *Confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are farms or feedlots where animals are kept and raised in confined areas.

    *CAFOs cluster animals, feed, manure and urine, dead animals, and production operations on a small land area.

    *There are approximately 450,000 CAFOs in the United States. *Common types of CAFOs include dairies, cattle feedlots, and chicken and hog farms.

    *The federal Animal Welfare Act excludes farmed animals, and state anticruelty laws exempt standard animal agricultural practices. These practices include branding, castrating, dehorning, debeaking and tail docking. These procedures are often done without painkillers.

    *When problems are reported to the government they are often ignored: No action was taken against a Texas beef company despite 22 citations in 1998 for violations, including chopping off the hooves of live cattle.

    10 Billion animals killed for food in North America every year

    43.2 Billion killed world wide for food every year

    -the stress of transport causes all farmed animals to lose at least 3% of their weight from urination and defecation (most within the first hour).

    Very few people want to cause suffering, whether that suffering is in another human being or in an animal. Yet most people also choose to eat meat, even when alternatives are available. One way to explain this inconsistency is that people don’t know what goes on in factory farms (where most meat is produced).

    We all have the picture of the classic farm, where all the farm animals graze the fields and live happily with the other animals. This is not how the vast majority of meat is produced. Most meat is produced in factory farms. In factory farms, all types of farm animals are overcrowded. Generally they are not given enough space to turn around and spend the majority of their lives in these cramped conditions. Animals frequently show signs of extreme boredom and frustration, such as repetitive or self-destructive behaviour.

    Billions of animals are currently kept in conditions, which it isn’t hyperbole to call torturous. People eat meat generally unaware of these conditions, and are unknowingly supporting this torture.


    Wikipedia: Factory Farming

    The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer

    2. Animal Agriculture: Chickens


    *Broiler Chickens are bred to grow so large so quickly that their limbs and organs often can’t keep up, leading to organ failure and crippling. Their beaks are cut off with hot knives causing severe pain for weeks, and some birds are unable to eat after being debeaked, and starve.

    *Laying Hens are often deprived of food for up to 14 days to shock their bodies into producing more eggs. The average laying hen has less then half a square foot of floor space in which to live her entire life: these conditions lead to lameness, brittle bones, osteoporosis and muscle weakness. When they are unable to lay eggs, they are turned into soup or cat and dog food, since their bodies are too bruised to be used for anything else.

    *At slaughterhouses: chickens have their legs placed in shackles, their throats cut, and are placed in scalding hot water to remove their feathers. Many are still conscious when their throats are cut, and 20% of chickens are still alive once they reach the scald tank. Their natural life span is 15-20 years but their throats are slit after 7 weeks.

    *Male Chicks are useless in the egg industry. Live male chicks are tossed into a grinding machine, killed with carbon monoxide or thrown live into the trash to suffocate.

    200 million male chicks are killed per year at birth by suffocation, grinding or gassing

    Before factory farming laying hens laid 70 eggs per year, after factory farming 250

    30% of laying hens suffer broken bones in their cages

    -the average laying hen has less then half a square foot of floor space in which to live her entire life. Conditions like these lead to lameness, brittle bones, osteoporosis and muscle weakness.

    -Large numbers of chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese reach the scalding tanks alive and either boiled to death or drowned

    \every year in the U.S more then 8 billion chickens are slaughtered for food.

    \almost all of them spend their unnaturally short miserable lives crammed together in windowless sheds on factory farms, each one with less space then the standard sheet of paper

    \chickens are bred to grow so large so fast that often their legs cannot withstand their weight.

    \they live in a dark shed along with their own excrement and among corpses of birds who died of heart attacks, suffocation, starvation, or stress.

    \their natural life span is 15-20 years but their throats are slit after 7 weeks.

    \in the eggs industry they have no use for male chicks. They toss live male chicks into a grinding machine , killed with carbon monoxide or thrown live into the trash to suffocate.

    \after about 18 months of egg production the hens are packed in trucks and sent to slaughter. Their flesh is then made into dog food.

    About 14,000 chickens are slaughtered in the US a minute. Chickens and turkeys are debeaked at a young age. This is done so that the hens do not peck each other to death when confined to such a cramped and barren environment. The debeaking process is extremely painful – the beak has many nerves in it, as it is the birds’ primary way of interacting with the world. It would be roughly equivalent to having your fingers chopped off.

    3. Animal Agriculture: Cows


    *Cattle are castrated, have their horns ripped from their head, and are branded (causing third-degree burns), all without any pain relief.

    *Cows used for milk suffer physical and emotional trauma. They search and bellow for their children, who are taken from them 24 hours after their birth so that humans can drink the calves’ milk. Using genetic manipulation, hormones, and intense milking, the cows produce about 10X the amount of milk they should. This high milk production leads to udder ligament damage, lameness, mastitis, and metabolic disorders, and shortens their lifespan from about 25 to 4-5 years.

    -some BGH treated cows have produced more then 30 tons of milk a year

    In 1940 cows averaged 2.3tons of milk per year. After the Bovine Growth Hormone was approved in 1993, milk production skyrocketed. In 1999 the average was 8.9tons of milk per cow.

    *1/3 of Male calves are slaughtered immediately at birth, while 40% are slaughtered at the age of 4 months for veal.

    90% of calves are taken from their mothers within 24 hours of birth

    -veal calves are chained by the neck on a 2-3 foot tether so there muscles are unable to develop

    \when a dairy cows milk production wanes, their skin is made into leather

    \the hides veal calves are made into calfskin

    About 90,000 cows and calves are slaughtered every day in the US. Calves used for veal are taken from their mothers on the day of their birth, put in a crate so narrow that they cannot turn around or walk, deprived of staw and bedding, and kept anemic so that their flesh is kept in a condition that will get the highest price on the market.

    Cows raised for beef are arguably the best treated animals in factory farms. They are allowed, for the first six months of their lives, to stay with their mothers on pasture. When brought inside on feedlots, they usually have enough space to turn around. However, they are subjected to branding, dehorning, and castration, all without anesthetic. While being transported, cows are frequently kept without food, drink, or rest for 28 hours (or more) straight.

    4. Animal Agriculture: Pigs


    *70% of pigs have pneumonia, and 50% are lame, at time of slaughter.

    *Piglets are taken from their mothers at 1 month of age, have their tails and some teeth cut off, and males are castrated, all without pain relief.

    *Hogs are dunked in tanks of hot water after they are stunned to soften the hides for skinning. Some hogs are still conscience and kick and squeal as they are being lowered into the water.

    *Mother Pigs are artificially impregnated and imprisoned in a ‘gestation crate’ that is too small for her to turn around or lie down in comfortably. This intensive confinement can cause a mother pig to go insane, exhibited by neurotic chewing on the cage bars or obsessive pressing on her water bottle. After three or four years, when her body is exhausted and her mind pushed to or even past the brink of insanity, she is shipped off to slaughter.

    -hogs are dunked in tanks of hot water after they are stunned to soften the hides for skinning. Some hogs are still conscience and kick and squeal as they are being lowered into the water.

    Pigs, which are extremely intelligent animals, arguably suffer the most from the barren conditions they are kept in. Pigs are, believe it or not, considered to be one of the most intelligent animals on earth, beaten on intelligence tests only by primates, dolphins and whales. They are curious animals that love to explore their environments. Being kept in barren confinement where they are unable to even turn around would, of course, be extremely boring for them. They are, for the duration of their lives, constantly on concrete and are given no bedding.

    4. Animal Agriculture: Aquatic Animals

    -each year 80 thousand dolphins along with thousands of other marine mammals are snagged in fishing nets worldwide.

    -industrial fishing depletes marine food webs and seriously damages ocean ecosystems.

    \when dragged from the ocean depths fish undergo excruciating decompression, the intense internal pressure ruptures their swim bladder, pops out their eyes and pushes their stomach through their mouth. If this does not kill them, they are thrown on board and are crushed to death or suffocate. Others are still alive when their throats and bellies are cut open.

    5. Animal Agriculture: Culling wild populations

    -USDA APHIS’ Wildlife Services and livestock producers kill wildlife to protect farmed animals. Having eliminated native populations of wolves and bears, federal government hunters now kill about 100 000 coyotes, bobcats, feral hogs, bison and mountain lions each year. This is done by shooting them, catching in steel-jaw leg hold traps or neck nooses or they are poisoned with cyanide.

    According to USDA records, its Wildlife Services division shoots, poisons, traps or otherwise destroys about 80,000 coyotes a year on private and public lands nationwide


  • The horrors of animal vivisection

    An animal is killed in a Canadian laboratory every 16 seconds. Another 115 million are killed in US laboratories every year. This includes non-human primates, cats, dogs, rabbits, rodents, amphibians, birds, farm animals, marine mammals, and reptiles. It is time for us to consider the ethical repercussions of these actions.

    Animal experimentation is classified into three areas: research, testing, and education. Whereas animal research is used to test a theory or a principle, animal testing is used to determine the ‘safety’ of most consumer products, including cosmetics, pesticides, household products, and drugs. The education sector uses animals for a variety of reasons including introductory physiology in high school and University and practice surgery in University settings.

  • Research

Surveys clearly show that public acceptance of animal research is contingent on its perceived necessity for medical progress. Yet according to statistics released by the Canadian Council on Animal Care, nearly two-thirds of all animal research carried out in Canada has little or nothing to do with curing disease or advancing human medicine (see Figure 1).

Animals may be cloned, bred for their organs, addicted to drugs or alcohol, forced to inhale and/or ingest toxic substances, subjected to maternal deprivation experiments, purposely deafened with loud noises, made to suffer strokes, blinded, burned, stapled, given diabetes and cancer, and infected with horrifying viruses like Ebola. Most people are shocked to learn that such abuses, when "properly conducted" in the laboratory setting, are exempt from anti-cruelty laws.

Gene manipulation refers to the creation of new life forms through DNA manipulation. This research method can be particularly drastic results on animals because of the unpredictable nature of the research. The animals may end up with abnormal liver sizes, kidney function, lameness, or heart problems, among others. Xenotransplantation is also particularly cruel. This procedure involves genetically manipulating animals so that their organs can be transplanted into humans. Pre-clinical trials include the transplantation of an organ from one species to another, which cause severe stress on the animals. For example, researchers have been filmed transplanting the heart of a pig into the neck or abdomen of a monkey and watched the organ die from rejection.

  • How Animal Research Hurts Humans:

Scientific Fraud

The use of animals in research is a fundamentally flawed method of research. Human animals evolved from other species millions of years ago, and each species has it own unique biology. The simple fact is that non-human animals are NOT humans. Testing a drug, a toxin, or even a psychological model in an animal cannot provide accurate information on how humans will react to the same drug, toxin, or psychological stress.

Consider this information from M. Levine, CEO of Millenium Pharmaceuticals, presented at the Drug Discovery Conference:

Of 28 drugs tested for heptotoxicity: 17 were safe in rats. 11 were toxic in rats.

Of the 22 Advanced for testing in humans:

Of the 17 safe in rats: 8 were safe in humans. 6 were toxic in humans.

Of the 11 that were toxic in rats: 2 were toxic in humans. 6 were safe in humans.

This is not a unique case. Other drugs deemed ‘safe’ in animals but found to be toxic to humans are halothane (an anesthetic which caused liver damage in humans and 150 reported deaths), phenulbutazone and oxyphenbutazone (anti-inflammatory drugs that caused 10 000 human deaths worldwide) and isoprenaline (an asthma drug that caused 3 500 deaths). Another tragic example in which animal research actually harmed humans was the release of the drug thalidomide, a sedative that caused major birth defects such as missing limbs in thousands of children whose mothers were prescribed the drug. Testing on animals can also hinder scientific progress if, for example, a substance that is beneficial to humans is never tested on humans because it was found to be toxic in animals.

The irrelevance of scientific research performed on animals is not limited to drugs. Any animal model of physical or psychological phenomena is just that: a model. They are a heuristic analogy, and cannot empirically demonstrate anything about the physical or mental states of humans (Shapiro, 1998).

Misdirecting funds

We pour billions of dollars into animal research for diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, when these diseases are more related to human lifestyle than any other factor. The National Cancer Institute says 80% of cancers are preventable, with most cases related to environmental pollutants or lifestyle choices, such as diet, tobacco and alcohol use, stress, and lack of exercise. Heart disease is almost 100% preventable and a result of lifestyle choices. The money would be better served in preventive, rather than reactive (including animal-based research), health initiatives.

The current scientific method used also wastes the public’s funds. First, animal research is generally not passed on doctors, clinicians, or other applied researchers. Citation analyses show that animal research is less likely to be referenced than human or tissue research (Dagg, 2000) and that clinical doctors rarely refer to animal research (Shaprio, 1998). Unfortunately, since current researchers are simply rewarded for the number of publications they have, animal research continues out of ease, rather than utility. It is relatively easy to manipulate a variable on an already existing animal model to get a publication, despite whether this advances the field or not.

Animal research also diverts funds from more reliable research methods. Please see the alternatives to animal research section for a discussion.

So why are animals used in research?

Most people will agree that animal research is used to provide a means for medical advancement. But if you look at the data, most major advances did not come from medical research. For example, medical historians attribute the decrease in infectious diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia, influenza, cholera, typhoid, etc, from improved diet, living and working conditions, and sanitation, rather than animal research (Sharpe, 1988).

So if, as we have shown, animals produce unreliable scientific results, and there are better alternatives to animal research, why are animals used in research? There are two reasons. The first is financial benefits: animal vivisection is a multi-billion dollar international industry. The second is industry inertia: if you were taught to test on animals, then you will continue to test on animals. When your career is based on animal research, you will be reluctant to stop animal research. Obviously neither of these reasons is a valid argument for continuing animal research.

Alternatives to Animal Research

In-Vitro Research: Because most illnesses work at a microscopic level, these experiments are the best for studying the course of human disease. In-vitro tests show more accurate results: for example, toxicity using human cell cultures is two to three times more accurate than tests on rats or mice.

Advanced Technology/Computer and mathematical Modeling: These techniques can be used to examine the disease process without resorting to unreliable animal testing.

Epidemiology: This is the study and control of diseases within the human population. Animal experimentation has often shown contradictory results to these studies: for example, according to animal studies, cigarette smoke, alcohol, asbestos, arsenic and benzene are all safe for humans to ingest when epidemiological studies have proven all to be hazardous to humans.

And Others: Genetic Research, Clinical Research, Autopsies, and Post-Marketing Drug Surveillance all save resources while producing more accurate results.

  1. Testing

More than a quarter million of animals suffer and die as a result of testing experiments in Canada every year. This testing is considered mandatory for the marketing of new or reformulated products including pesticides, industrial chemicals, consumer products (including cosmetics and household products), pharmaceuticals, biologicals, and genetically manipulated foods. Rather than put resources into methods to reduce the use of toxic substances, public money goes into determining ‘acceptable exposure levels’ of these toxic substances. However, no animal based method of safety testing has EVER been proven to be a valid or reliable measure. The two most popular tests are the Draize and LD50 tests, and their validity is in serious question.

In the Draize Eye Irrancy Test, substances are placed into the eyes of rabbits, and the eyes’ progressive deterioration is recorded. Generally, the solution is dripped into the eyes of 6-9 albino rabbits that are immobilized. Their eyes are held open with clips, and rabbits can break their necks struggling to escape. The albino rat is the specimen of choice because their eyes are very sensitive and the structure of their tear ducts prevents tears from washing the substance away. This test is NOT required by law.

The LD50 Test determines how much of a substance it takes to kill 50% of the group of subjects. As many as 200 animals may be force-fed a toxic substance which can last from weeks to several years, depending on the material being tested. This test causes a great deal of suffering including pain, convulsions, weakness, and vomiting.

Many doctors agree that the Draize test and LD50 test are seriously outdated and tell us nothing about the safety of a toxic material for humans. Says Dr. Donald Doll (MD), “I can find no evidence that the Draize test and LD50 test, or other tests using animals to support the ‘safety’ of chemicals and cosmetics has any relevance to the human species. Such tests are outdated, insensitive, cruel, and provide no useful data for humans.”

This mirrors many medical doctors scepticism towards the results of animal testing. In 1980 Dr. Joshua Lederberg, Nobel Laureate in Medicine, wrote: “It is simply not possible with all the animals in the world to go through chemicals in the blind way we have at the present time, and reach credible conclusions about the hazards to human health.” Yet animals continue to suffer and we are no closer to eliminating the toxins from our environment.

Cosmetic and household products are of serious concern, since The Food and Drug Act does not specify any particular test(s) required to prove the safety of the products. Yet every year thousands of laboratory animals are subjected to pain and suffering in crude and unreliable experiments to test cosmetic products and their ingredients. Perfumes, shampoos, tooth-pastes, hair dyes, skin creams, make-up, deodorants: all of these and more are tested on animals. For example, in Acute Toxicity Tests, animals are administered a substance and the researchers then observe blood pressure changes, internal organ damage, breathing disturbances, convulsions, bleeding from the eye, tremors, coma and even death, among other symptoms. All the animals are killed at the end of test for autopsy.

Alternatives to Testing

Due to the reluctance of major companies, relatively few non-animal tests exist. The lack of tests is not because they are impossible to create, but rather, due to industry inertia. In-vitro tests have, however, been validated in Canada, such as the EpiDerm and EpiSkin skin tests, the 3T3 Neutral Red Uptake (NRU) Phototoxicity Test for phototoxic potential, and Pyrogen tests for fever-producing potential.

Although the cosmetics industry alone has the funding for alternative methods of safety testing, they lack the initiative to do so. It is time to place pressure on these companies: don’t buy products tested on animals.

  1. Education

Over 65 000 living animals are experimented on in teaching facilities, and countless others are killed at biological supply facilities. The animals may suffer tremendously before they are killed. For example, animals may be prodded into boxes to be grassed or injected with formaldehyde while still conscious. Some animals are caught from the wild, and others are not actually dead but ‘pithed’, a process where a sharp object is place in the brain and moved around to ‘scramble’ the brain so the animal can no longer feel pain.


Given that the use of animals in education makes no advancement to scientific knowledge, and better alternatives are available, we is totally unnecessary, we can eliminate the use of animals in education. Students can now learn from computer simulations, CD-ROMs, audiovisuals, and multimedia presentations. If you are asked to test on an animal you can demand an alternative method be provided for you: Canada’s constitution and laws entitle students to an education that is compatible with their ethical values.

Where are animals used for experimentation obtained?

Animals can be purchased from local pounds and commercial breeding facilities, or can be bred by the research facility. Class ‘A’ animals are those that are bred. Class ‘B’ dealers supply ‘random source’ animals whom can be purchased at auctions, ‘adopted’ from shelters, or stolen from homes. Some animals, such as non-human primates, must be obtained from the wild. In Ontario, the Animals for Research Act states that any impounded dog or cat must be surrendered by an animal shelter or pound if it is requisitioned by a research facility and the animal is not claimed during a seventy-two hour stray period.

Where does the funding for animal experimentation come from?

The public pays for animal research funding, either through taxes or by purchasing consumer products. The two major funding bodies in Canada are the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Even though you are paying for the research, you don’t have access to the laboratories or to information regarding current research activities – you must rely on animal care committees to monitor animal care and use.

Animal Research and the Law

The laws stated to ‘protect animals in research’ are seriously inadequate, and favour laboratories over laboratory animals. There are currently no federal laws regarding animal use in Canada. Ontario’s Animals for Research Act is currently the only provincial act that regulates animal care in laboratories in Canada. This act sets minimum standards regarding water, temperature, cage size, etc. You can look at the Ontario Animals for Research Act at:

The Canadian Council for Animal Care (CCAC) was created in 1968 to monitor the use of animals in research. However, this is a self-monitoring body, and 21 of the 22 members have vested interest in the continuation of animal research. This council has never laid charges against a Canadian research facility, since it encourages the use of ‘guidelines’ rather than laws, and although it states that if facilities do not comply with the recommended guidelines funding should be withheld, they have never used economic sanctions against a research facility.

The CCAC does not legally require the use of pain relieving medications. Thus, if the research believes that anaesthesia or analgesia will interfere with the experiment, or if the experiment requires the animal to experience pain or distress, pain reliving medication can be withheld from the animal.

Although the CCAC state that they are trying to reduce the number of animals used in research, their latest reports show that that the number of animals used in research in Canada is increasing (CCAC Survey of Animal Use, 2005).

What you can do:

  • Don’t buy products that have been tested on animals. You can download a list of companies that do and do not test on animals at

  • Don’t donate to charities that use animal testing. You can find a list of humane charities at

  • Refuse to experiment on an animal: demand an alternative method of learning.

  • Write your representatives in Congress to demand that humane alternatives to animal experiments be used. There are many guides on how to do so (please refer to handout).


Related Sites:

Cruel Science (Canadian Website):

Stop Animal

Alternatives to Animal Testing:

ECVAM (European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods):

FRAME (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments):

Alternatives in Education:

NORINA downloads:

NAVS (National Anti-Vivisection Society) Loan Program:

Ethical Science Education Coallition Loan Program:

Humane Society of the United States Loan Program:

Guidelines and Regulations:

Canadian Council of Animal Care:



\when you buy leather products you may be purchasing leather from Asian dog or cat tanneries (products are rarely labeled)

Millions of cows, pigs, sheep, and goats are slaughtered for their skin every year. They are castrated, branded, and dehorned and have their tails docked without anesthetics. Then they are trucked to slaughter, bled to death, and skinned.

Leather is not simply a slaughterhouse byproduct—it’s a booming industry. The meat industry relies on skin sales to stay in business because the skin represents the most economically important byproduct of the meat-packing industry, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Visit for more information on the leather industry.

2. Wool

Shearing sheep involves more than just a haircut. Sheep need the wool that they naturally produce to protect themselves from temperature extremes.

Because shearers are usually paid by volume rather than by the hour, they often work too fast and disregard the animals’ welfare. Sheep are routinely punched, kicked, and cut during the shearing process.

Much of the world’s wool comes from Australia and New Zealand, where almost 140 million sheep each year undergo a gruesome procedure called mulesing, in which shears are used to slice dinner-plate-sized chunks of skin off the backsides of live animals without anesthetics.

Millions of sheep raised for wool in Australia and New Zealand are shipped to the Middle East for slaughter. These animals are placed on overcrowded, disease-ridden ships with little access to food or water for weeks or even months. During their grueling journeys, they suffer through weather extremes, and temperatures on the ships can exceed 100F. Many fall ill when they become stuck in feces and are unable to move, and many others are smothered or trampled to death by other sheep.

Intensive sheep farming, especially in Australia, is responsible for the degradation of natural waterways and land habitats and for the emission of greenhouse gases, such as methane, into the atmosphere.

When you buy wool products, it is likely that you are buying wool from sheep who were raised in Australia or New Zealand, and since most wool is routed through China or Italy for processing, product labeling rarely indicates where the wool originated.

Visit for more information on the wool industry.

3. Silk

Silk is the fiber that silkworms weave to make cocoons. To obtain silk, manufacturers boil worms alive in their cocoons.

Humane alternatives to silk include nylon, milkweed seed-pod fibers, silk-cotton tree and ceiba tree filaments, and rayon.

Find humane alternatives to silk ties and other silk items—including such fabrics as nylon, polyester, rayon, Tencel, milkweed seed pod fibers, and even silk-cotton tree and ceiba tree filaments—online and in stores for a fraction of the price of silk.

4. Down

Down—which is used to fill comforters, pillows, parkas, and other products—is the soft underfeathering of geese.

Down is plucked from geese either after slaughter or while they are being raised for meat or foie gras (“fatty liver”), which is produced by force-feeding geese through a funnel until their livers balloon to seven to 12 times their normal size.

Plucking birds causes them considerable pain and distress; one study found that the blood glucose level, an indicator of stress, of geese nearly doubled as they were being plucked.

Down is expensive and loses its insulating ability when wet, while the insulating capabilities of cruelty-free synthetic fillers persist in all weather conditions. Look for “synthetic down,” “down alternative,” “polyester fill,” or a high-tech fabric like Primaloft, a soft, washable, downlike fiber that is often used in coats, gloves, and comforters and that stays warm even when wet, unlike down.

5. Cruelty-Free Shopping

ALWAYS READ THE LABEL – and if it doesn't say then ASK.

Take a pass on pashmina, angora, cashmere, shearling, camel hair, and mohair, too—all made from animals.

Look for synthetic fabrics, such as polyester fleece, acrylic, and cotton flannel—they wash easily, keep their bright colors, cost less, and don’t contribute to cruelty.

6. Fur

See for chart from Statistics from Skin Trade Primer by Susan Russell, published by Friends of Animals)


Some fur comes from animals caught in horrific traps. Leghold, Conibear traps and snares are non-selective devices, which means that there are many 'non intended' animals who get caught in these barbaric contraptions. These traps are banned in 88 countries, but leghold traps are still widely used in the United States and Canada.

Legholds are spring-loaded steel jaws that clamp shut on an animal's foot once it's sprung. It causes injuries and loss of circulation. Conibear traps are square or rectangular "scissor-action" traps in which an animal passing through the middle is caught as the two sides are snapped together. Snares are wire strangulation noose that tightens around an animal's neck or body. It is usually used on fences to hang animals or under water to drown animals. There is no other description for these than barbaric!

The animals are stuck in the trap for hours or even days before the trapper comes to pick them up. Some animals try to chew and bite their own limbs off just to get out of the trap.

When the animal finally is killed, it's not quick and painless. The trapper's main priority is the fur, so the objective is to kill the animal without damaging the fur, which can lead to especially cruel methods, such as suffocating the animal.


Fur also comes from 'fur farms'. Millions of animals are killed each year in these farms. The animals are kept in small, cramped cages. Beavers are made to live on cement floors instead of in the water. The foxes, who normally roams over 2,000 to 15,000 acres is forced to stay in a tiny cage. Minks are solitary animals by nature, but in the farms they are forced to live in extremely close contact with other animals.

This lifestyle causes severe stress that can lead to cannibalism and self-mutilation. The only peace the animals will have will come after death, but even death is torturous. Killing is not quick and painless...methods including gassing, poison, electrocution, suffocation and neck breaking are common place on these farms. Remember that 60 of these animals will have to suffer a horrible death...just to make one coat.

The HSUS has published "How Do Fur Animals Die?"

I am soooo fake pre-loading this image so the navigation doesn't skip while loading the over state.  I know I could use the sliding doors technique to avoid this fate, but I am too lazy.