I'm not sure how to state the topic of thus subject, as I'm pretty sure it will raise some hackles. However, its something thats been on my mind for quite some time and thus, I must get it off my chest.
So lets have it out, then. Fur farms.
Where did your pelt come from? Do you know? Chances are, if its a genetic color mutation, it was raised on a farm. I have done some research FOR and AGAINST fur farms, so my findings aren't completely biased. The things I will bring up have been equally identified in both For and Against documents (ie: no rumors, just facts). I will also cover the energy difference between a captive bred pelt and a wild caught pelt.
It is not a lie that the first hint of deteriating health comes out through the animal's pelt. The quality of fur is based on the quality of health in the animal. A healthy animal will have a healthy pelt, and an ill animal (even if all that is present are parasites) will be less than desirable. So the simple truth remains that in order to make any type of profit off of an animal's skin, the animal first needs to be healthy. This includes but is not limited to health care for parasites and prevention against diseases as well as the aftercare for when an animal is injured or ill. I am not sure if animals are vaccinated. Another measure taken are the cleanliness of cages. An animal can not be brought up to it's optimum health in a dirty cage with dirty water, rotting food and unclean bedding. So in essence, the farms who want to make sure their pelts go for the highest amount will put a lot of effort into keeping the animal healthy, clean, well hydrated and fed. This is FACT.
I have gone over an animal's basic needs at the farm. Lets talk about mental health.
It is stated that the animals which are contained are not under any negative mental stress and has informed that studies have been run to see if there is a difference between an animal who has a larger enclosure -vs- one with a smaller enclosure. The study reveals that the behavior between the animal with a large enclosure is similiar to that of the smaller enclosure, so cage dimentions aren't a concern. Due to this study, farmers will use the smallest cage permitted for their animals.
What they do not cover in the tests are the behavioral problems that they are watching to see if a larger cage is better than a smaller one. Any person who has ever owned a pet can identify an animal under mental stress. Pacing is a very common disorder, as well as paw lickin/chewing, cage gnawing, self mutilation, etc. These traits are very commonly observed on farms and its apparent that the size of the enclosure does not help (large vs small). It is obvious that these types of animals can not experience an equal quality of life than that of their wild counter parts. The best physical care in the world is not a good substitute for poor mental care. Are the cages too small? Yes. Why? Because any size cage a farm will put them in will result in poor behavioral disorders due to lack of mental stimulation and denial of their most basic instincts. This is FACT.
(Put Fido in a similarly sized cage and give him nothing but food and water day in and day out. Have your pet confiscated by the humane society)
Lets jump over to reproduction.
Animals are put in a nesting box for baby making and the female is kept with her young until they are weaned. It does not state when the weaning takes place. Whether its sooner or later than what is natural for them, I can't know. I am unsure of whether mom is rebred immediately following the weaning process. However, if the animals are harvested by their 9th month (as stated in a FOR document), I can only assume mom goes straight back into the breeding box. The kits are kept in pairs until a specific age until they are then separated into individual cages, as the farmer is trying to mimic their wild upbringing as best he can. I've learned all of the above from a document who was FOR fur farms, so this has to be at least semi-accurate.
Hopping straight from birth to death, since we already covered the middle.
Death can be humane. Death can not be humane. It is not regluated how an animal dies, however most farmers will gas a mink while foxes are either injected or shocked (as stated on AGAINST sites and confirmed on FOR sites). Gassing an animal is a practice done by humane societies around the world and is a very common procedure to end an animal's life. We consider gassing humane (though there are people who disagree) and is wildly accepted as a way to dispatch most unwanted small domestic animals. Lethal injections are also considered humane and are reserved for the most beloved pet or the most hardened criminal, whichever way you look at it. Basically, if its good enough to put a human to death, its good enough for an animal. Electrical shock, however, is not. No matter how you twist, turn, flip or view it, electrical shock is a cruel practice. We have outlawed it in the death penalty and I have no actual reference that this method is used in any other creature to put an animal down. If this method is not typically used in regular animal euthenasia, it can not be as humane as we want to believe. I know for a fact that facilities will use a lethal injection for their animals, but no one has actually come forth and publicly announced that they electrocute the animal to death. However, a FOR site will concur that this process is used more than not due to it's availability and cost efficient effects. If this was a decent way to end an animal's life, would people hide it? No.
Now to the afterlife.
The pelt of the animal has two different types of energy. The life and the spiritual. The spiritual energy is the part of the pelt which gives us the remarkable help that we call upon when asking for assistance from a specific animal. For instance, Caribou might make himself known during a particular part of your life. Caribou tells you that you need to journey, and he is there to help with endurance. This is spiritual energy - the purpose of the animal and the fuel in which he operates. Different animals hold different energy that may be helpful for different aspects of our lives. The fox is good for dreamwork, for cunning, and to help you around tricky situations. The list of animals and their spiritual guidence is unending.
Life energy (its what I'm calling it, anyways) is the energy left behind from the animal's life. The experiences it went through and how it lived. This energy can be felt as strongly as the spiritual energy and can have a major impact on whether it is positive or negative. When I recieve a pelt, I pick it up for the first time and immediately get a flash of that animal's life. Mostly from the point of view of the animal on the ground. I see through grass, or look down at a nose rooting through snow. This is very common for my first encounter with a pelt. I am picking up on where that animal lived and what it experienced. How the animal died is another strong emotional energy that remains with the pelt itself.
One of the very first things an animal wants to share with me is how it died. This can be a rather depressing topic as I know we don't want to dwell on that, but how it lived and died reflects its life energy and the energy we willingly surround ourselves with when buying a pelt. This is WHY it is SO important to know where your pelt came from and what kind of life it had. This energy WILL come with the pelt.
I've felt the way my pelts have died through what the want to share with me about it, and it can leave the pelt itself in a rather sad state. In which case, I do some spiritual work for the pelt itself to try and help the animal's actual spirit heal from it's ordeal. My lynx, Nenana, was extremely confused and upset when she arrived. She had been snared and died in the snow due to strangulation. I did a healing ceremony for her and she is now calm and quiet. A good energy to have. However, if I hadn't helped her in some way, that negative energy would have remained and influenced the things around her. She is the only pelt that I've had to do ceremony for just out of the fact that she was a cat and cats can be very emotional.
The others I have will share their life and death experiences with me freely. I don't have a farm pelt, but I've held them and I dislike the energy so much that I will never buy one for my personal collection. They can be restless, upset, restrained, maloncholy and sometimes downright depressed or angry. This was simply not a death experience, it was their life experience. This energy radiates from them whether we want to admit it or not. Some people don't feel the energy conciously, but its always there.
I feel for the people who squee over which ranch fox they've gotten this week because of the color and price. I feel for their foxes, too. I know most people don't or can't read energy the way I do. I know most people never do ceremony to heal a hurting spirit. Thats alright. But these are the reasons why I won't buy a farmed fur, and I think it would turn off most people if they could actually read and feel, too.