The images in the following program are highly sensitive and may be as disturbing to viewers as they were to us. However, we have to show the truth about cruelty to animals, praying that you will help to stop it.

This is the Stop Animal Cruelty series on Supreme Master Television. This week’s program features excerpts from a short documentary by Mark Rissi, a film producer and the communications officer for Swiss Animal Protection, an umbrella organization comprised of 69 animal-welfare groups from Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein.

For 150 years Swiss Animal Protection has been at the forefront of animal advocacy, speaking for and defending our defenseless fellow beings. By conducting public awareness campaigns and working to enact animal-welfare laws, Swiss Animal Protection has prevented the suffering of countless numbers of our animal co-inhabitants.

One area of special concern for the noble organization is the gruesome fur trade, much of which is conducted in China. Eighty-five percent of fur used in the fur industry is produced on horrible, filthy, utterly inhumane fur farms, where thousands of wild animals are imprisoned in tiny, barren cages. Approximately 100 million animals are in fur factory farms worldwide.

Mink, Raccoon Dogs, Red and Arctic Foxes and Rex Rabbits are just some of the many animal species kept under absolutely appalling conditions. Having no social interaction or mental stimulation, the animals, which are used to roaming great distances in their native habitats, become immensely frustrated and go insane. In addition, inadequate food, water and shelter from extreme weather conditions causes agony to the helpless beings, often leading to horrific injuries and disease.

What’s even more unbelievable is the manner in which these innocent ones are killed. In 2005, a group of Swiss Animal Protection investigators traveled to China to uncover the truth about how fur is produced, and what they discovered is truly shocking. The following documentary film, entitled “Fun Fur?” is based on the group’s findings and provides insights into the abhorrent fur trade.

Is it real or is it fake fur? The (fur)industry calls it “fun fur.” In the last few years China has become the world’s largest exporter of fur clothing and according to the industry sources, the biggest fur production and processing base in the world. It is also a country without any legal provisions for animal welfare; and correspondingly, it has a poor track record.

We have an animal wildlife protection law just to protect rare animals, rare species which have economic value. We treat them as natural resources; but we don’t have any protection or welfare laws about animals.

The Chinese law, wildlife protection law, doesn’t protect wildlife in captivity. It only protects wildlife in the wild. And the law only protects against actions causing death to wild animals in the wild. But if you torture an animal, short of death, you are not prosecutable.

Chinese customs statistics indicate a net volume of fur exports of nearly US$2 billion in 2004, and Zhang Shuhua, deputy chairman of the China Leather Industry Association, told reporters that fur exports were up 123% year over year from 2003. More than 95% of fur clothing produced in China is sold to overseas markets, exported to Europe, the US, Russia and Japan. According to the Sandy Parker report, China exported a staggering US$1.2 million in fur trimmings to the US in the month of January 2005 alone.

Our team set out to examine the situation on location. We chose Hebei Province, as this province plays a major role in the retail market. Many small companies take part in the processing of fur. On the streets of Liou Shih and Shangcun, you find people washing pelts, stretching or drying them. The pelts are dyed, sheared, or even knitted, and the consequences to the environment are grave.

Environmental protection regulations are minimal in China. Highly toxic chemicals are used to tan or color the pelts. Because of the lack of stringent legislation, many western countries are exporting their pelts to be processed in China. Our investigators went to document various fur farms in the Hebei Province. What they found would shock even the most seasoned observers.

They uncovered and documented unimaginable acts of systematic brutality and animal cruelty on a colossal scale. A Chinese fox farm. The animals are kept in single battery cages on a surface of just 54 square centimeters. There are no objects to play with. One cage row is located right next to the other. Our film team visited various farms containing between 500 and 6000 animals.

A farm with raccoon dogs. China breeds and raises approximately 1.5 million raccoon dogs per year for the fur industry. Raccoon dogs have great difficulty moving on the wire mesh floor. Large mink farms have been constructed in China as well. Scandinavian breeders have sold live breeding stock to their Chinese colleagues. Mink live near the water; they are very active and curious animals. But in these narrow cages they develop extreme stereotype behavior.

As a consequence of the fur boom, many farmers have opened up a fur farm in their backyard. China is the second largest producer of fox pelts. The Chinese fur industry breeds approximately 1.5 million foxes each year. Again, the monotony of the cages leads to stereotype behavior. Natural ground is lacking. They try to flee but never succeed.

Foxes on the whole are frightened of humans and that causes some welfare problems. So it’s not just it’s a matter of adapting to the environment in which they are kept, but also to the contact with humans. And for foxes in particular, there is a problem of having a lot of foxes close together. It’s very frightening for a fox to be very close to other foxes.

Foxes communicate with scent. They use gland secretions and urine marks to signal occupancy of a territory. In the farms, they are forced to live above or near the excrement of row upon row of their peers. Our investigators also found caged dogs in these backyard farms. In the fall or winter, the animals are taken out of their cages. The workers use a capturing pole with a noose at the end. They then grab the animal by the tail or the hind legs.

Animals are slaughtered adjacent to wholesale markets or farmers bring them for sale. To get there, animals are often transported over large distances and under terrible conditions. After the buyers agree on the price, the farmers grab the animals, in this case it’s a raccoon dog, and slam them head first against the ground. This is intended to stun the animal.

The raccoon dogs struggle or convulse, then lie trembling or barely moving. Next, the dogs are taken to the adjacent slaughter area, where unfortunately for them, these same animals regain consciousness. So, they are clubbed repeatedly on their head with a wooden rod. This method is used in order to avoid damaging the fur.

After a short interval, the same animals regain consciousness a third time. Specialists start the skinning procedure while the animals are still alive. Skinning begins with a knife at the rear. Then the raccoon dog is hung upside down by its hind legs from a hook. Starting from the hind legs the worker wrenches the animal’s skin from its suspended body until it comes off over the head.

Our investigators were able to observe and document that a significant number of animals remain fully conscious during the skinning process. Even after their skin has been stripped off, breathing, heartbeat, directional body movement and eyelid movement are evident for between 5 and 10 minutes. Time after time our investigators found animals panting and blinking or fighting back as they were skinned alive. This fox had to endure the horrific procedure for six minutes before he was finally choked to death by the butcher stepping on his neck.

Please keep these images in mind the next time you are tempted to buy a coat with fur trim. And don’t be deceived by labels, since raw fur pelts often move through international auctions before being sewn in other countries. Fur from China may also end up on a final product that says “Made in Italy” or “Made in France.” Buying anything with fur, even if it is just trim, supports one of the most gruesome industries on the planet.

This documentary deals with the 85% of fur-trade animals raised on farms; the remaining 15% are obtained through trapping and hunting in the wild. In trapping, metal traps with razor-sharp teeth are used to capture the animals, who invariably sustain ghastly injuries. Moreover, many non-target animals such as dogs and cats and even children inadvertently fall prey to these vicious devices.

However, there’s a way that these cruel, sickening practices can be stopped. Like all businesses, the fur trade exists solely because it is profitable, but if people become informed about the barbaric methods used to obtain fur and refuse to buy fur clothing and accessories, the trade will cease. So please inform your friends and loved ones about the immense cruelty behind fur and avoid purchasing jackets, boots and other items containing fur.

Faux fur is an excellent alternative and involves no killing. Swiss Animal Protection and Mr. Mark Rissi we thank you for allowing us to air your important documentary and all your benevolent efforts to protect animals. May Heaven continue to bless your life-affirming work.

For more details on Swiss Animal Protection, please visit:

Thank you for joining us today on our program. May we all soon understand that the animals are our beloved brothers and sisters.