Before you slip into your mink, read this

"The stench of ammonia filled the air. Trees and bushes downwind of the farm were covered in thick moss - feeding off the nutrients carried downwind from the animals' waste.

As an Independent on Sunday investigator drew nearer to the collection of sheds and dilapidated farm machinery at a clearing in Norway, it was plain that the conditions at this mink farm rarely come under scrutiny. It was a scene of squalor, just days before the animals were to be skinned for sale as evening wear.

Animal welfare campaigners question whether people who buy fur would still do so if they saw the conditions under which the animals live, and die.

Kate Moss and Madonna have come under fire for wearing animal furs. Yesterday, Sharon Stone became the latest celebrity fur wearer to attract the attentions of animal rights activists. The 48-year-old Hollywood actress was photographed wearing a full-length mink coat during a visit to Norway last week, where she attended a Nobel banquet at Oslo's Grand Hotel.

A spokeswoman for the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) condemned the star, saying: "Sharon craves attention, any kind of attention. She likely flaunts fur to ensure her photo makes the papers."

The campaigners point out that more than 60 mink would have been killed to make a coat like the one Stone was wearing.

The conditions in which those animals may well have lived before they were gassed, strangled or electrocuted are not pleasant. At the farm near Oslo we found a collection of five long sheds about three yards wide and 50 yards long. The sheds were crammed with animals. Cages were stacked next to each other on each side with just a narrow walkway in the middle. The cages were tiny - about 18 by 40 inches - and did not have any bedding material, just an open mesh bottom.

Some of them had up to four animals in each one, maddening for animals such as mink, which are highly territorial. Mink in the wild like to roam along waterways, something they are unable to do in the confines of a cage. Furriers stress that the animals they farm are 200 generations removed from their wild ancestors.

While the place was called a farm, many are really more like animal warehouses, where the animals are there for one reason only - to be killed for their coats.

The floor below each row of cages was piled with excrement, up to half a yard deep in places. There was mess and rubbish everywhere. Cages were covered in old food and fur and the corrugated iron roof was rusting and full of holes.

The smell inside was nothing like a normal farm smell, bad enough to induce gagging. All around was the sound of mink biting on the bars of their cages, the same cages shaking. Any movement made the cage rattle and the animals claws scrape constantly on the bars that they perch on. Other animals jump around, repeating the same movements over and over again.

There was no evidence of food. The mink had water troughs but there had been a frost that morning and some of them were still frozen over.

Some of the animals just lay there; they'd had enough. In one dimly lit cage in a corner of the shed was a large mink. Hanging down from the wire mesh of the bottom of its cage was a mixture of rotting food, excrement and bits of fur.

The animal could barely move; it seemed to have resigned itself to its fate and lay still, its eyes swollen from the ammonia fumes from its urine and faeces and a large open wound on its head.

Sunday, 17 December 2006

Norwegian Fur Farms Revealed  -

During the summer of 2008 activists from The Network For Animal Freedom traveled the country to see how the farm animals are actually treated. We inspected more than 100 randomly chosen fur farms in every county where such farms exist, covering over 20 percent of the fur farms in Norway.

What met us was shocking. Our investigation reveals systematic animal abuse.

Norwegian fur animals are suffering

We found violations and indefensible conditions on all of the farms. The hygienic conditions were miserable on many farms - the animals were often living in their own manure. Dead animals in the cages and carcasses dumped right outside of the farms were not unusual. The animals showed clear signs of stress, and at times an extreme fear of human beings. Spending their whole life in a cage has given many animals behavioural disorders.

Too small cages, broken cage mesh and lacking protection against weather and wind was a usual sight. In addition to such shocking conditions, almost every farm visitied were violating fire safety regulations and environmental regulations. A lack of waste management was the rule rather than the exception.

Ban Norwegian fur farming

The Network For Animal Freedom has filed police reports against each of the inspected farms. We demand that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority investigates the entire industry. However, this will in no way be enough. The illegalities of the fur farming industry is so severe than no amount of control will be enough.

Our inspections show that fur farming is animal abuse, whether or not if the proper legal regulations are met. This is why The Network For Animal Freedom demands a prohibition against fur farming as the only possible solution.

Norwegian Fur Abuse Revealed

Norway remains one of the world's foremost fur producing countries with about 500 fur farms (fox and mink) in the country. The fur industry often tries to portray Norway as an example of more humane fur farming practices, and has been trying to push the idea of so called ethical or humane fur as an alternative to an outright ban on the trade. This investigation completely undermines these claims.

Throughout Summer 2008 the group Nettverk for dyrs frihet, (Network for Animal Freedom) travelled the country to see how the farm animals are actually treated. We inspected more than 100 randomly chosen fur farms in every county where such farms exist, covering over 20 percent of the fur farms in Norway. At each farm, we took pictures, filmed and made reports about the general conditions (in addition to any specific animal welfare issues). The investigation revealed widespread and systematic animal abuse, some of the worst fur farm footage yet.

On Monday 10th November, a documentary based on these findings was aired on Norwegian TV at  the same time we are launching our website (alternatively in English; Other fur producing countries such as Finland will also be showing the documentary on TV.

You'll find everything on the website, info, pictures, our documentary and so on. 

The group has produced their own video about our investigation that will be subtitled in English, Swedish, Norwegian and Finnish.

This video is the result of recent visits
to 50 Norwegian Fur Farms
"The second year running independent inspections have uncovered shocking conditions on Norwegian fur farms. The organisation Nettverk for Dyrs Frihet (Network for Animal Freedom) has uncovered extensive animal suffering on nearly 50 fur farms, this just two months after the Norwegian minister of agriculture and food said fur breeding animals were treated well."
Anti-Fur Society
Protest at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington DC, Nov. 27th, 2009.
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The Anti-Fur Society protest at the Norwegian Embassy
If you live in the United States, please write a polite letter to the Norwegian Ambassador.  protesting the cruel suffering inflicted on defenseless fur bearing animals in Norway. Ask him to make Norway fur farm free, following the example of civilized countries in Europe such as the United Kingdom. 

His Excellency Wegger Chr. Strommen
Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington
2720 34th Street NW
Washington, DC  20008
Tel:  (202) 333-6000
Fax:  (202) 337-0870


If you do not live in the United States, you will find the nearest Embassy in your country by clicking on this link: