Fur industry : Synonym for animal cruelty

Animals have been kept in captivity for the sake of their fur since the end of the 19-century. In Norway however, this tradition is rather young, and the fur farming was not established until in 1920-30. [1] 31 million animals are raised and killed on fur farms each year. Mink account for 26 million, fox 4. 1 million. Chinchillas, racoon dogs (not to be confused with the North American racoon), fitch and sable make up for most of the other ranch-raised furbearers. Mink and fox are genetically wild animals that are not adapted to a life in captivity.

Whereas a wild mink would range a territory that is approximately 3 square kilometres in size, a ranch-raised mink is confined to a cage that is 0,5 m2. The intensive confinement leads to self-mutilation, cannibalism, and a high level stress which breaks down the animals immune systems. The animals are denied adequate space, normal social interactions, and free movement. As a result, the animals often exhibit distressed neurotic behaviour, pacing frantically back and forth in their cages.

Scandinavian countries account for 80% of world fox production and 54% of world mink production. [2] The Norwegian law for animal rights claims that the natural instincts and natural needs of the animal should be taken into consideration. While other European countries like Great Britain and Austria has forbidden fur farming, Norway has not taken any major steps towards limiting the suffering of these animals. I 1998 the Norwegian organisation Dyrebeskyttelsen Norge claimed a lawsuit against the fur-trading business for braking the dyrevernsloven.

They achieved that Lagmannsretten in 1999 made a statement that the fur industry was unethical and that fur farming of mink and fox is done in a way that is in conflict with the animals original and basic needs. Even so, the court would not forbid fur farming. [3] 1. 2 Trapping ” It is almost impossible to overstate the suffering, fear, acute pain, aggrevated by thirst and useless attempts of escape” Charles Darwin about the leghold trap, 1863 [4] 10 million animals are trapped for their fur each year.

The United States, Canada, and Russia account for most of the world’s wild fur production. In Norway the number of skins from trapped animals is about 50. 000 (NOAH). Approximately two non-target animals are caught for every one furbearing animal. These non-target animals include squirrels, opossums, dogs, cats, and even endangered species and birds of prey that are attracted to baited sets. The steel jaw leghold trap is the most common trap used by the fur industry, followed by the wire snare, and the Conibear body-gripping trap that crushes the animal.

88 countries and 5 states have banned the leghold trap because of its inherent cruelty and because it is non-selective and traps whatever animal steps into it. Norway is one of these countries, the leghold trap has been forbidden since 1932. The leghold trap is legal in China, USA, Canada, Korea, France, Spain, Russia, and Eastern Europe. [2] 3 1. 3 The fight against the fur industry ”Miljovernundersokelsen 1995” establishes that 50 % of the population in Norway think it is important to work against the fur industry. More and more European countries have got a strong opinion against the fur farming.

This has gradually got political consequences and many countries have already agreed to legal framework that makes fur farming impossible. A new trend has also grown up in the fashion industry; an ethical consumption, where respect for animals is an important ingredients. A number of designers have taken distance to the use of fur. Among these are Georgio Armani, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Donatella Verace and Stella McCartney. Many supermodels have also participated in anti-fur campaigns. Among these are Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Christy Thurlington and Emma Sjoberg. [2] 1. 3 Concept and assessment of animal welfare

According to the Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare the welfare of a commercial farm animal depends upon its biological features and the housing and management conditions to which it is subjected [21]. It is said that the welfare of an animal will become poorer if it cannot successfully adapt to the conditions in which it is kept. At the behaviour level, for instance, the animal can be prevented from developing or performing species specific behaviours because of the lack of trigger, restricted space or simply because of the impossibility to perform species specific activities.

Lack of trigger, restricted space and the lack of appropriate outlet for specific activities often induce suffering, the extent of which depends on the importance of the behavioural activity for that specific animal[22]. Welfare therefore has been defined as the state of an animal as regards its attempt to cope with its environment [23]. Welfare varies from ease of coping to difficult coping or some failure to cope. Pleasurable mental states will often accompany good welfare and unpleasant states are generally associated with coping failure [21].

The Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare further states that environmental conditions that significantly depart from an animal’s ecological and behavioural repertoire can be the source of welfare problems. The extent of welfare problems depends on appearance, duration and intensity of the environmental conditions and on the animal’s ability to adjust to them [21]. Assessing welfare problems in, for instance fur farm animals, can be done by taking a combination of measures on their physical health, biological functions and behaviour into account.

In general, high premature mortality, high morbidity, high risk of body injury, the inability to express valued species specific activities including social interactions, grooming, exploration and play, and the occurence of abnormal behaviour and of physiological signs of stress, including alterations in immunity, indicate that there are major animal welfare problems. 4 1. 4 Aim and perspective In this project we are looking at the fur industry from the animal right organisations point of view. The fur industry consists of fur farming and trapping of wild animals.

We have chose to focus on fur farming. This is because we think that this is a bigger problem than the trapping. In the case of trapping, at least the animal has lived a hopefully good and meaningful life in the wild. The trapping it self is a horrifying experience for the animal, and the traps which really hurts the animal (like the leghold trap) should be illegal in every country. Anyway, the animals at the fur farms suffer their whole life, and the killing of these animals must be a relief for them. At least the suffering comes to an end.

We have chose to divide the subject into 4 parts. First we are looking at the economical aspects of fur farming. Then we go deeper into the laws that deal with fur farming and the keeping of animals. Finally we discuss what impact the caging and holding of originally wild animals has to the animal itself 2 INTERNATIONAL FUR TRADE 2. 1 Producers The majority of animals reared in cages for fur are mink and fox. Most of the world’s farmed fur is produced in Europe, accounting for 70% of global mink production (EU = 64%) and 63% of fox production (EU = 47%).

North America and Russia/the Baltic States account for 13% and 11% respectively of global mink production, while Russia/the Baltic States and China account respectively for 11% and 27% of fox production. In the EU fur farming is concentrated in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands. Denmark and Finland are the world’s largest producers and exporters of mink and fox skins respectively. [5] 2. 2 Furbearers used for fur production Technically, the term furbearer includes all mammals possessing some form of hair. However, the term is often used to identify mammal species that are used for fur production.

Fur is obtained from both farmed and wild species of fur bearing animals. 85% of the world’s fur 5 trade originates from farmed species that have been domesticated (Note: farmed fox and mink are considered domesticated), while 15% are wild species. The main farmed species are: mink (Mustela vison) silver fox (Vulpes vulpes) blue fox (Alopex lagopus) sable (Martes zibellina) black fitch/polecat (Mustela putorius) white fitch/polecat (Mustela eversmanni) finn raccoon (Nyctereutes procyonoides); chinchilla (Chinchilla lanigera) nutria (Myocastor coypus).

Many wild fur species are used in the trade: grey fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus and Pseudalopex griseus) red fox (Vulpes vulpes) nutria (Myocastor coypus) (mainly from South and North America) beaver (Castor canadensis) coyote (Canis latrans) marten (Martes americana) mink (Mustela vison) raccoon (Procyon lotor) musquash (Ondatra zibethica) russian sable (Martes zibellina) russian and Chinese squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris) ermine (Mustela erminea) kolinski (Mustela sibirica) weasel (Mustela nivalis) Opossum (Trichosurus vulpecula) Fisher (Martes Pennati) Long Tail Weasel Short tail Weasel Mink Badger Striped Skunk Skunk (Mephitis Mephitis) Otter (Lutra Canadensis) Bobcat (Lynx Rufus) Lynx, (Lynx lynx) Gray Wolf Red Wolf Wolverine Skins from goats and sheep also enter the fur trade (ex. karakul lamb, Ovis aries). [5] [6] 6 2. 3 Business Demand for fur garments exists worldwide, but the largest consuming markets are China, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, Russia and many of the former Soviet Republics, Spain and the USA. Markets for fur garments have greatly expanded in the prospering economies of Japan, Korea and China only in recent years. Producing over 12 million mink skins, fur farming was worth Euro 514 million to Danish farmers in 2002, making it the country’s third largest agricultural export product after bacon and cheese.

In Finland, where over 2 million foxes were produced in 2002, the annual value of fur production at Euro 250 million is greater than that of beef. Fur farming is also important in the Netherlands where 3 million skins were produced in 2002, and in some of the Central and Eastern European countries that have applied for EU membership – Latvia, Poland, Lithuania and Estonia. In Poland, the production figures for mink and fox skins in 2002 were 600,000 and 260,000 respectively. In Canada and the United States, there are 1135 fur farms producing mainly mink, but also some fox and chinchilla. In Canada, approximately 1. 5 million mink pelts are produced by fur farms annually. In the United States, some 330 mink farms across 28 states produce around 2.

6 million pelts annually – worth around US$86 million. The majority of American mink farms are family-run, depending exclusively on fur farming for their livelihood, with everyone from the grandparents to grandchildren providing the labour. In South America, both mink and chinchilla continue to be farmed in Argentina, producing approximately 10,000 mink and 27,000 chinchilla skins per annum. It is estimated that China produces over 1 million mink and fox skins respectively, while the production in Russia in 2002 was 2. 7 million mink and about 400,000 fox skins. [5] 2. 4 Employment The fur trade world-wide employs full-time over 1 million people.

In Europe, there are 6,000 fur farms providing full-time employment to 30,000 individuals. The fur sector as a whole provides some 214,000 full and part time jobs in the European Union. In North America there are 760 mink and fox farms (400 in USA and 360 in Canada). Most farms are small family- run businesses. The fur sector as a whole provides 255,000 full and part time jobs in North America. Revenue from fur farming allows many farmers, particularly in Europe, to supplement income from other agricultural activities. Fur farming also allows farming to remain economically viable where climatic conditions limit the options open to farmers in terms of what they can produce and market profitably. [5] 2.

5 Animal by-products Manure becomes organic fertilizer for other agricultural sectors, while mink fat can be recycled as an important ingredient in hypoallergenic soaps and hair products. [5 7 3 FUR FARMING – REGULATIONS IN EUROPE 3. 1 Council Directive 98/58/EC PROTECTION OF ANIMALS KEPT FOR FARMING PURPOSES. (Full text attached) In the European Union, the Directive lays down minimum standards for the protection of animals bred or kept for farming purposes, including fur farmed animals. Parts of the Directive are presented as follows: Article 3: Member States shall make provision to ensure that the owners or keepers take all reasonable steps to ensure the welfare of animals under their care and to ensure that those animals are not caused any unnecessary pain, suffering or injury.

Article 4: Members States shall ensure that the conditions under which animals (other than fish, reptiles or amphibians) are bred or kept, having regard to their species and to their degree of development, adaptation and domestication, and to their physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, comply with the provisions set out in the Annex. Article 6: Member States shall ensure that inspections are carried out by the competent authority to check compliance with the provisions of this Directive. Annex 7: The freedom of movement of an animal, having regard to its species and in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge, must not be restricted in such a way as to cause it unnecessary suffering or injury. Where an animal is continuously or regularly tethered or confined, it must be given the space appropriate to its physiological and ethological needs in accordance with established experience and scientific knowledge. 3.

2 Council Directive 93/119/EC PROTECTION OF ANIMALS AT THE TIME OF SLAUGHTER OR KILLING (Full text attached) This Directive shall apply to the movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter and killing of animals bred and kept for the production of meat, skin, fur or other products and to methods of killing animals for the purpose of disease control. Some parts of the Directive are presented as follows: Article 3: Animals shall be spared any avoidable excitement, pain or suffering during movement, lairaging, restraint, stunning, slaughter or killing. Annex F: Methods for killing fur animals 1. Mechanically-operated instruments which penetrate the brain. 2. Injection of an overdose of a drug with anaesthetic properties. 3. Electrocution with cardiac arrest. 4. Exposure to carbon monoxide. 5. Exposure to chloroform. 6. Exposure to carbon dioxide. 8

The competent authority shall decide on the most appropriate method of killing for the different species concerned in compliance with the general provisions of Article 3 of this Directive. …However, for foxes, where electrodes are applied to the mouth and rectum, a current of an average value of 0,3 amps must be applied for at least 3 seconds. 3. 3 Recommendation of the Council of Europe, 1999 The Council of Europe adopted a Regulation, designed to ensure the health and welfare of farmed fur animals. The Recommendation deals comprehensively with matters of animal care, from the farming environment to stockmanship and inspection. New scientific evidence when adopted by the Council of Europe is enshrined in Recommendations on minimum standards.

It can then be applied in member countries if it is considered to further improve existing animal welfare standards. The Recommendation is legally binding in Germany, has been incorporated into national law in Finland and Norway and is expected to be national law in Denmark. In addition, fur farming is covered by the same EU environmental laws that apply to all EU agricultural sectors. 4 Legislation and subsidies 4. 1 Legislation in Norway The Norwegian fur farming industry is principally regulated through the Animal Protection Act (“Dyrevernsloven”) of 20th December 1974, no. 73 [7]. This law applies to living mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish and crustaceans (§1).

The parts that concern the fur farming industry are for instance the statement that “Animals should be well taken care of, and their instincts and natural needs should be regarded so that it does not suffer unnecessarily” (§2). People who holds animals in captivity are also obliged to make sure the animals are allowed enough living space, and with temperatures and access to fresh air, light and water according to each species’ needs (§4 and §5). In general, whether the fur farming industry of today is in conflict with this Act, boils down to how one interprets words like “unnecessarily”, “sufficient”, “enough” etc. By its very nature, an Act like this is relatively broad, and contains few specific demands. To rectify this, Norwegian legislation system also contains a number of regulations (“forskrifter”) in addition to the Acts themselves.

These are formulated by the bureaucracy with warrant in the corresponding Act, which, of course, is given by the Parliament (Stortinget). Thus, there is one central regulation governing fur farming in Norway from an animal welfare perspective, and that is the Regulation of Fur Farming (“Forskrift om hold av pelsdyr”) of 20th September 1998, no. 901 [10]. This regulation applies to the most common species of Norwegian fur 9 farming; the red/silver fox (Vulpes vulpes), blue fox (Alopex lagopus), hybrids between these, mink (Mustela vison) and ferret (Mustela putorius). The Ministry of Agriculture can also expand this regulation to apply to other species as well.

The regulation is quite specific in some areas, defining minimum areas of cages for each species and ages, methods of sedation/killing and skinning of the animals. However, in other areas, the regulation is rather vague, especially when it comes to the general welfare of the individual animals. Here also, one finds phrases like “satisfactory hygiene” (§3), “sufficient feeding” (§8) etc. , without quantifying this any further. The conditions in the fur farms does not seem to meet all the demands in the legislation, and the legislation also seems to have a potential for improvement. This is also stated in the white paper “Husbandry and animal welfare”, St. meld. nr. 12, 2002/2003 [8].

Here, the Ministry of Agriculture explicitly states that the conditions regarding animal welfare in the fur farming industry have to be significantly improved during the next few years, and also that the legis- lation should be examined to rectify that. The Ministry sets a deadline of ten years, when the fur farming industry has to fulfil these demands, otherwise the authorities will consider phasing out fur farming in Norway. From an animal welfare perspective it seems odd, to say the least, that as the Animal Protection Act states that animals kept in captivity should have “enough space [… ] to fulfil the needs of each species”, the regulation on fur farming still defines minimum sizes of cages that seem to be far from the phrasing in the Act itself.

Thus, one has the situation in which the regulation warranted in the Act is inconsistent with the Act itself. This is unacceptable, and the Ministry also points out that the possibility of movement of the animals has to be significantly improved. Still, the Ministry also praises the fur farming industry for actually having stricter internal standards than what is demanded in the legislation, something that the industry itself also points out in its action plan for animal welfare. [9] 4. 2 Subsidies The state budget for 2004 proposes to allocate 81. 86 mill. NOK to animal breeding, and this also includes fur farming. This is 1 mill. NOK less than the previous year.

In addition, there is a post in the budget for subsidy for fur animal fodder, where the government proposes to allocate 27. 2 mill. NOK, 6 mill. less than in 2003 (Finansdepartementet 2003). There are also a number of other forms of agricultural subsidies, which also benefit the fur farming industry. Hence, the complete picture of subsidies to this particular industry is complex and difficult to assess. However, it seems clear that the fur farming industry in Norway is dependent on government subsidies, and thus the Norwegian authorities subsidise an industry which the themselves say is far from fulfilling the legislative demands [](Landbruksdepartementet 2002).

A removal of these subsidies is therefore believed to mean the end of fur farming in Norway. 10 5 The Economic side 5. 1 Summary In earlier times, man used coats of fur bearing animals for his own protection, to be kept warm. This is no longer a necessity for man, but still an industry of “farming” fur has developed. Today, this industry is dominant in Canada, America, the Scandinavian States, China and Russia. Fur farming started at the end of the 19th century in North America and spread to Europe in the beginning of the 20th century. Today, it is an important branch of animal husbandry in many countries1. Today, fur trade is an international business, adding value to many different economies on its

journey from its origins to luxury shops of North America, the Far East and Europe [17]. Markets for fur garments have traditionally existed in North America, Europe, Russia and the Nordic countries and these remain important. But in recent years sales of furs have greatly expanded in the prospering economies of Japan, Korea and China. Supply and demand fluctuates and can be cyclical, like that for most manufactured products, the main factor being levels of economic confidence – though periods of successive warm winters can also depress sales. 1996 and 1997 saw a major revival, with many markets showing an increase in retail sales [17]. 5. 2 Europe European farmers produce most of the world’s farmed fur.

It is a thriving agricultural community. Except for Portugal and Luxemburg there are fur animal farms in all European Union (EU) members states2. Here fur farming is concentrated in Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands[13]. However, when it comes to garment manufacture, the most important member states are Greece, Italy, Germany and Spain. The European Fur Breeder’s Association (EFBA) reports on the existence of 8,000 fur farms in its member states, providing full-time employment to 30,000 individuals. These farms are responsible for an average annual production of 19 million mink and 2. 8 million fox skins at a total value of 625 million Euros.

The fur sector as a whole provides some 214,000 full and part time jobs in the European Union. Revenue from fur farming allows many farmers, particularly in Europe, to supplement income from other agricultural activities. Fur farming also allows farming to remain economically viable where climatic conditions limit the options open to farmers in terms of what they can produce and market profitably [12]. 5. 3 The Scandinavian states Fur farming was worth 332 million Euros to Danish farmers in 1998 and fur was that country’s fourth largest agricultural export product. In Finland the annual value of fur production is 250 million Euros (bigger than that of beef) [12].

There are some 1 800 fur farms in Norway housing approximately 585 000 fox and 395 000 mink. Since the 1980s, the Government, especially in areas needing rural development, has promoted fur trade. In 1992 the fur farming industry received 70 million 11 Norwegian kroner in subsidies. The leghold trap has been forbidden in Norway since 1932, but a variety of other traps are permitted and some 50 000 trapped animals go to the fur trade. Norway is responsible for 19% of the world’s fox and 1% of the world’s mink production. It also imports fur for tens of millions of Norwegian kroner from countries that permit the use of the leghold trap [16]. Fig.

1 – Worldwide farmed pelt production 5. 4 U. S. A. The fur industry is one of North America’s oldest and most historically significant industries, supporting thousands of jobs. The fur sector as a whole provides some 255,000 full and part time jobs in North America. Here there are some 760 mink and fox farms (400 in USA and 360 in Canada), being most of them small family-run businesses2. In 1994, family fur farms in North America produces approximately 3. 3 million mink and fox pelts with a value of nearly $113 million. The U. S. produces about 10% of the world’s mink supply, while Canada accounts for another 4 percent. Much of this fur is exported to other parts of the world.

Many more mink are raised than foxes, and mink farms are generally larger operations than fox farms [15]. In all, fur farming is an integral component in North America’s diversified agricultural economy, making $ 250million contribution to the economy, while providing needed for thousands of farm families[18]. 5. 5 Hong Kong Hong Kong is the world’s major source of quality fur garments and accessories. Major export items include apparel made of mink and fox fur, as well as accessories such as hats, stoles, muffs, scarves and cuffs. The majority of Hong Kong’s furriers have set up production facilities on the Chinese mainland as a result of seeking relatively lower production costs there.

Still, many major sub-sectors of the fur industry, particularly sales and distribution, remain in Hong Kong. In addition, more than 700 companies are engaged in the trading of fur in Hong Kong [14]. After rising year-on-year by 7% in 2001, the growth of Hong Kong’s fur exports slowed down in the first six months of 2002. During the January-June period, Hong Kong’s total exports of fur only edged up year-on-year by 1%. Japan, the US and the EU are the three leading fur markets of Hong Kong. They altogether take up more than 80% of all Hong Kong’s fur exports [14]. 12 5. 6 Russia Fur farming in Russia is a relatively young branch of animal husbandry, started in the twenties of the XXth century.

After World War II farming became an essential part of the agricultural production of the country and continued to develop successfully until the beginning of the nineties [20]. In 1998, Russia experienced an economic crisis that brought their fur trade to a halt. This is significant because in 1997 Russia consumed half the worlds fur skins. The curent situation in Russia is characterised by considerable changes caused by the reform of economic relations in general, including the agro-industrial sphere. The increased of production costs exceeded the growth of the market prices. As a result, the number of animals on the farms and the production of skins have fallen [20]. 5.

7 Worldwide WORLD PRODUCTION OF RANCHED MINK increased by 7% in the 2001. According to figures compiled annually by Oslo Fur Auctions, 2001’s crop amounts to 29. 4 million, compared with 27. 5 million in 2000. This would make it the largest in more than a decade and reflecting encouragement from increased demand and resultant higher prices. The biggest increase in terms of numbers was shown by Denmark, which is also the world’s largest mink producer. That country produced 12. 3 million animals (2001), compared with 10. 9 million (2000), an increase of 13%. Nearly all of the major producers showed increases, or at least maintained last year’s levels.

The United States was the only one of the majors to come up with fewer mink, which would confirm earlier reports that its crop would be down about 5% because of abnormal weather conditions and other factors. WORLD PRODUCTION OF RANCHED FOXES also rose in 2001, even more than the mink sector, according to Oslo Fur Auctions. Here, too, the increase was in response to greater demand, mostly from the trimmings sector and particularly from Russia and China. The total world fox output went up 8% to 4. 3 million, compared with just fewer than 4 million in 2000. Scandinavia produced about 60% of this crop, those countries accounting for most of the difference from the year 2000. Finland again was by far the largest producer, its crop up 10% to 2. 1 million, or about half of the total world production.

Norway was up 4% to 370,000 and China, the next largest producer, was estimated to be up 11% to 1 million [19]. 5. 8 Economic Impact [17] The fur industry extends widely, and here are some examples of its global economis impact: Over 1 million people are employed full-time by thr fur trade worldwide; Fur sales worldwide totalled some US$ 11 billion in 2001/02; Some 117,000 enterprises exist worldwide – retailers, dressers, brokers… ; Annual retail fur sales for the US alone were US$ 1. 5 billion in 2001/02. The US fur industry comprises approximately 1,400 retailers and 100 manufacturers; In Canada, the entire fur industry adds some Can$ 800 million to the Canadian economy annually, employing some 75,000 Canadians in total; 13

Hong Kong is the world’s leading exporter of fur clothing to the value of more than US$ 230 million annually; In Denmark, fur farming was worth 514 million Euros in 2002, the country’s third largest export after bacon and cheese; In Finland, the annual fur production value is 514 million Euros, greater than of beef, with over 50 % of fur farmers relying on fur farming as their sole source of income. Every year, a well – organised fur trade spends millions to glamorize the fur coat and to mask the real price of fur – pains, mutilation and death for millions of animals. 6 Animal welfare on fur farms 6. 1 Housing The Norwegian fur trade industry has set up guidelines for cage size and animal density inside the cages [24]. The guidelines recommend cage sizes for the mink being 30 x 40 x 90 cm, and for the fox being 60 x 102 x 75 cm. Mink can be held pair wise but the minimum cage size for the foxes is meant for 1 fox only.

New Norwegian welfare regulations that are effective by 2009 prescribe 75 x 100 x 75 cm for single foxes[25]. Norwegian fur farmers are visited annually by quality assurance groups of Norwegian Fur Breeders Association (NFBA) who record statistics on housing conditions and management procedures in relation to animal welfare and the environment [25]. The report of NFBA for 1999 included 690 of a total of about 900 Norwegian fox farms and showed that 26% of the farms the cages were in agreement with the new welfare regulations that are effective by 2009, while on 40% more than half of the cages complied with them. Too small width was the most common single problem (35%).

Because of disease control and warranty of fur quality, mink and foxes are kept under clean conditions, most times on mesh floors, higher up away from the ground surface, and with limited water supply. Food, in a form of pasta that contains debris of the slaughterhouses and fishery industry, are given on a regular basis, preferably twice a day, to minimize stress. According to the NFBA report for 1999 only 43% of the farms showed good cleanliness. Only 5% of the farms had watering systems which were protected against freezing. When females, both mink and fox, give birth, they are allowed to take care of their offspring for a relative long period which is positive according to their natural behaviour. For example weaning off mink kits, when the mother is taken away from the kits, is in generally between the 7th and 9th week a