Quotes > Scientists, Designers and Politicians

Scientists, designers and politicians explain why the fur trade is cruel and unnecessary:


Quotes > Scientists

Some who reflect upon this subject for the first time will wonder how such cruelty can have been permitted to continue in these days of civilisation, and no doubt if men of education saw with their own eyes what takes place under their sanction, the system would have been put to an end long ago.
Charles Darwin, Essay on Fur, 1878

The Council believes that the systems employed in the farming of mink and fox do not satisfy some of the most basic criteria … for protecting the welfare of farmed animals. The current cages used for fur farming do not appear to provide appropriate comfort or shelter, and do not allow the animals freedom to display most normal patterns of behaviour.
Farm Animal Welfare Council Press Notice 4 April 1989

Mink and fox are by nature solitary animals. Keeping them packed together in close confinement is an even greater torture than that inflicted on herbivorous group-living animals. That this should be done to provide human beings with luxury seems indefensible.
Sir David Attenborough, C.B.E, F.R.S.

Stereotypies are repetitive, invariant behaviour patterns with no obvious goal or function. Their occurrence is often associated with barren and restrictive conditions, or environments which might be considered sub-optimal, and they develop in animals faced with insoluble problems of frustration or conflict. They are not seen in wild mink. Dr AJ Nimon.
'Report on the welfare of Farmed Mink and Foxes in relation to Housing and Management'. Cambridge University Animal Welfare Information Centre, 1998

These sort of stereotypies, if you saw them in humans, would suggest that they had severe psychological problems. Perhaps you'd say that they were psychotic.
Donald Broom, Professor of Animal Welfare at Cambridge University and Chair of the European Union's Scientific Veterinary Committee. BBC Wildlife, June 1997.

To me the most important aspect is the question of whether keeping mink and foxes, given the serious nature of welfare problems is ethically justifiable. Answering this question should take into account the necessity and the reasonableness of the aim, the level of disturbance of animal welfare, and the intrinsic value of the animals. As far as I am concerned there is no need for keeping these animals; it does not fulfil an essential human need that could not be met in another way. Keeping these animals means that their species-specific behaviour can only partly be exercised because they are relatively unadapted to humans. To me the absence of a need is sufficient reason to terminate these developments instead of waiting for more research.
Dr H Verhoog. Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, State University of Leiden, The Netherlands

The result of this degree of confinement is that the animals exhibit all the typical reactions of wild creatures to a restricted and deprived environment. They perform stereotyped patterns of movement and various forms of self-mutilation. These are clear signs to any objective observer that the captive animals are under stress. Bearing in mind the fact that the size of their natural living space in the wild is approximately 12,000 times as great as their captive living space, this is not entirely surprising.
Dr Desmond Morris. 'The Animal Contract', Virgin Books, 1990

Fur farms have more in common with concentration camps than normal farms. It is the worst form of factory farming. These factories are bloody appalling places with tiny cages. Consequently they can suffer from stress-related conditions and that, together with poor hygiene, can damage the pelts.
Prof Stephen Harris, professor of environmental science at Bristol University and chair of Mammal Society. Quoted in the Express, 31 July 1998 and 11 August 1998

The conclusion cannot be different than that foxes and mink are not suitable for confinement in cages, and even further, that they are not suitable to be kept at all. The suffering of these animals goes beyond the aim for which they are kept, more so because there are excellent alternatives to the use of fur.
Prof FJ Grommers. University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

There is no justified reason for killing animals or keeping them under restricted conditions in cages only for the purpose of luxury and no fur farming system recommended or practised so far meets the physiological or ethological needs of the animals.
Veterinary Associations of the Federal Republic of Germany

In fur farms today, the animals have no possibility of a natural life.Fur farms are rife with cannibalism and self-mutilation... Wearing fur was something that humans used to do during the stone ages. That people still do it is a little strange.
Ingvar Johansson, former mink fur farmer in Sweden. (translation of an article in a Swedish magazine)

Mink farming is a disgusting industry... Mink are wild animals ... Kept in barren cages they go mad... The argument that Britain should allow mink farming because if we did not someone else would do it is completely irrelevant... keeping mink in cages is a cruelty that only debases our humanity.
Editorial, The Independent, 24 February 1999

When you go on the sort of expeditions I do, warmth is very important. I never use fur. There are many more suitable, practical and warmer man-made alternatives available.
Sir Chris Bonington, CBE, Mountaineer, in a letter to CAFT-UK

Quotes > Fashion Designers

Top fashion designer Wayne Hemmingway to Fur Education Council's Jan Brown:
I expect you could conjure up a conclusion that fur is the height of fashion in the way that the Sunday Sport can prove that 'Aliens can turn your children into fish fingers'.

Referring to a paint 'attack' on the home of the fur-promoting editor of American Vogue, Hemmingway tells Brown:
I have got a pot of paint in my hand and I will be round your house tonight FUR HAG!
Guardian, 6 December 1997

Considering what animals endure there is nothing fashionable about fur. Please shun it.
Fashion Designer Stella McCartney

Although it was a fabulous hit with the fashion world at the time, I realised later, with sorrow, that a quarter-million leopards had been killed in order to enable this fashion trend. … [animals] continue to be needlessly slaughtered to satisfy the demands of thoughtless people who themselves remain entrapped in unnecessary fashion.
Oleg Cassini, the designer who put Jackie Kennedy in a leopard-skin coat in the 1950s. New York Post 13 May 1999

Quotes > Politicians

As we approach the new millennium, it is up to the House [of Commons] to set the standards that we want for the next one … I hope that the House will take this opportunity to say, as the Farm Animal Welfare Council did some 10 years ago, that keeping wild animals in small barren cages simply to obtain an unessential luxury product is unacceptable. … Let us put an end to the cruel and barbaric practice of fur farming.
Maria Eagle MP in fur farming debate. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 5 March 1999

Last week, I took part in a radio programme with a representative of the British fur industry, who described in detail, with great relish and glee, his recent visit to a fur farm. He said that he had found mink that were 'relaxed, inquisitive, lively, even cheerful'. I think that one of the rather fairyland phrases he used was 'mink all lined up in their little cages'. I do not know which mink farm he visited, but it struck me that, when he drove up the M1, he must have taken the turning marked 'Fantasy Island', because his is not the sort of description that one readily associates with a mink farm, on which animals live in wire cages.
Tim Loughton MP in fur farming debate. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 5 March 1999, col 1369-70

Public and political awareness has been heightened by the tireless work of campaigners, who have exposed the conditions in mink farming through video footage and photographs … I make no apology, and no excuses, for not wanting to visit a fur farm. That video footage and those photographs clearly illustrated how awful fur farming is. They brought into sharp focus the secret side of a business that many of us had not seen, and that is a discredit to Britain.
Angela Smith MP in fur farm debate. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 5 March 1999, col 1149

The Bill [to ban fur farming] is extremely welcome as it will finally kill off the remnants of a sick and discredited domestic industry in Britain. It will also send important signals to the international fur trade that there is simply no place in decent, modern society for fur farming - an unnecessary industry that is completely indifferent to the animals that it exploits. Mink farming is cruel and vicious at many levels.
Gareth Thomas MP in fur farming debate. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 5 March 1999

The issue of cruelty as far as it attends fur farming is underlined by the fact that we have been told by those who oppose the Bill that fur has been farmed in the same way for 80 generations. It strikes me that if we were unable, in 80 generations of farming, to come up with a more humane method of doing so, that is a logical argument for moving straight to a ban, rather than filtering that process through some from of regulation.
Desmond Swayne MP in fur farming debate. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, 5 March 1999

Why are we keeping them [mink] in such appalling conditions? Is it so that prune-like little old women and flashy, spivvy types can wear mink coats?
Tony Banks MP. Hansard, 8 December 1992

Nobody really needs a mink coat … except the mink.
Glenda Jackson, actress and MP

Even if their cages were enlarged a hundred times they would still fail to satisfy the basic needs of these inquisitive carnivores lacking, as they would, all the complex factors of their true, natural world. And why are these creatures so confined? For human vanity and profit. The time is long overdue for these deplorable places to be banned, and I, as a Member of Parliament, would be proud if this Parliament took a firm moral stand on this issue.
Andrew Bowden MP, Agscene, summer 1991