More than 95% of fur sold within the United States and internationally comes from farmed animals including foxes. These foxes are raised in miniscule cages on factory farms where they are unable to act as they would in the wild. Traditional farmed animals, like cows and pigs, are more domesticated than foxes, and the lack of domestication results in separate welfare issues than those of other farmed animals. The confinement of wild animals in small spaces leads to a variety of welfare problems as a result of being unable to exercise their natural behaviors like running, hunting or foraging for food. Some of the problems that foxes are subject to include health problems like stress and anxiety.
Red foxes and Arctic foxes are the two most common species used by fur farms. Foxes are desirable to fur farmers because of their pelts and their independent lifestyles.
While certain foxes are able to be domesticated, this process is incompatible with fur farms. Fur farms determine which foxes are bred based on their colors and fur patterns while domestication depends on personality and positive interactions between the animals and humans. On fur farms the animals are not raised in a way that emphasizes positive human interaction because they are not raised in close contact with humans that would promote positive experiences.
Foxes on fur farms suffer from impaired biological functions and negative emotional states. The foxes on fur farms exhibit behaviors such as fur-chewing, tail-biting, and avoidance and aggression towards humans. These behaviors indicate failing biological and emotional states for foxes. Fur farming operations fail to meet any of the internationally recognized “Five Freedoms” framework for farmed animal welfare.
Foxes on fur farms are killed through inhumane methods that prioritize the preservation of pelts. Methods include electrocution in which an electrode is placed in both their mouths and anuses, gassing, or injections of anesthetics into their hearts in order to preserve their pelts.