An international animal welfare group has launched a campaign against the British luxury goods brand Burberry to stop it using real fur in its fashion collections.
The campaign is being led by FOUR PAWS, an animal rights group that says it wants to raise awareness of the existence of fur farms where animals are killed in order to supply the fashion industry with fur.
The campaign centres around a fox cub called Kimi, which currently lives on a fur farm in Finland but is likely to be slaughtered in November during the so-called “fur harvest”.
An online petition to save the fox, set up by the animal welfare organisation has so far garnered over 125,000 signatures, while a further 35,000 hard copy signatures have also been collected by the group.
FOUR PAWS UK Country Manager, Julie Sanders, said: “If the British public knew the horror of what goes on behind the scenes on Finnish fur farms that provide fur to companies like Burberry, they would be shocked. Our campaign to save Kimi aims to show them this by focusing in on the experiences of just one specific fox, Kimi, who is being farmed on one of these Finnish farms for his fur.”
The organisation's website provides updates of the Kimi campaign under the headline: “When I grow up, I’m going to be a fur collar”
In response to FOUR PAWS’ campaign, Burberry said: “Animal welfare is a key consideration when sourcing animal-derived materials, including fur, and have an on-going programme of work to improve the traceability system so that we are able to link the individual fur skin to the farm where the animal comes from.”
“We work closely with our suppliers, including SAGA, to improve animal welfare standards beyond legal compliance and to adopt third-party monitoring systems.”
Finland’s lucrative fox fur industry accounts for almost half the millions of foxes bred every year for the fur trade. In 2010, Finland bred 1.8 million foxes for the industry, with China breeding 1.4 million.
Other countries active in the fox fur trade are Norway, Poland, and Russia, which collectively bred 400,000 that same year, with a further 100,000 accounting for all other active countries around the world.
Thomas Pietsch of FOUR PAWS said: “Kimi is the beating heart of our campaign. He represents the 100 million animals killed for fashion every year around the world. The little fox lets us put a face to the living being behind the fur collar."
Fur farming is largely concentrated in EU-15 countries, mainly Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands. Denmark is the largest producer of mink pelts globally, with 14 million bread for pelts in 2010.
In EU Member States there are 6,000 fur farms, with the industry creating up to 60,000 full-time jobs, the total value amounting to €1.5 billion.
EU fur-farmed species cover minks, fitches, foxes, finn raccoons, and chinchillas.