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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dying for Fur - Inside the Chinese Fur Trade

China flaying animals alive
Investigation reveals images so graphic, nightmares rampant among probe team

By Bob Unruh
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

Editor's Note: The descriptions and video of China's fur industry in this story will be disturbing to some readers.

Animals rights activists have documented that China's fur
industry skins animals alive for their fur (Photo courtesy of
Swiss Animal Protection)

The newest controversy over exports from China has caused nightmares for researchers documenting the abuse inflicted on animals bred and raised in tiny cages and then skinned alive for their fur.

WND has reported multiple times on problems with exports from China, with poison found in pajamas, consumers warned against using ginger, an alert about the dangers from China's pickled vegetables and even the dangers from honey and fireworks.

Now comes word from an extended investigation into the fur trade that China is estimated to produce approximately 85 percent of the world's fur products – and it has virtually no regulations or rules for the treatment of the animals.

According to Mark Rissi, a spokesman for Swiss Animal Protection, which has documented abuse of animals raised for their fur as early as 1983, the China project has been going on for several years.

The organization's report has been made available online, with dramatic images and descriptions that researchers found more than disturbing.

"As animals are considered objects in China, there is little or no awareness for the suffering of these sentient beings," Rissi told WND from his European base of operations via e-mail. "The cruelty found was beyond our expectations, and it was hard to document without interfering. It caused nightmares to the team, especially in the editing room, because the scenes had to be replayed and replayed to be edited from six hours down to 20 minutes."

Rissi said the actual onsite investigation was done by his organization's staff members as well as trusted Asian animal protection supporters, but as fur production was not a controversial subject, "people willingly showed their farms to the team."

He said he's glad other organizations, such as the U.S.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, have joined in his group's campaign.

Testimony from witnesses to a dog slaughter:

Dogs are picked up by workers using a metal tongs and
their tails prior to being slammed to the ground and skinned.
(Photo courtesy of Swiss Animal Protection)

Once pulled out from its cage, the raccoon dog curls up into a ball in mid-air. … One woman in a headscarf is first to grab hold of the raccoon dog's tail and the others drift away peevishly. The woman in the headscarf swings the animal upwards. It forms an arc in the air and is then slammed heavily to the ground, throwing up a cloud of dust. The raccoon dog tries to stand up, its paws scrabbling in the grit. The wooden club in the woman's hand swings down onto its forehead. The woman picks up the animal and walks toward the other side of the road, throwing it onto a pile of other raccoon dogs. A stream of blood trickles from its muzzle, but its eyes are open and it continues to repeatedly blink, move its paws, raise its head and collapse to the ground. Beside it lies another raccoon dog. Its four limbs have been hacked off but still it continues to yelp.

The report then graphically describes how the dogs are skinned, sometimes while they are living.

Rissi noted that the Humane Society of the United States also has worked on the investigation, citing well-known U.S. companies, including J.C. Penney, Burlington Coat Factory, Bloomingdale's, Sak's Fifth Avenue and Macy's, for selling Chinese-produced fur products, sometimes labeling them as "faux fur" or raccoon when the actual product is from a raccoon dog.

The Swiss Animal Protection report said slaughter methods range from beatings with a metal or wooden stick or swinging the animal until it slams to the ground.

Then they are skinned.

"They struggle and try to fight back to the very end. Even after their skin has been stripped off breathing, heart beat, directional body and eyelid movements were evident for five to 10 minutes," the report said.

The process is repeated millions of times, as China processes up to 100,000 pelts in a day at times.

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