Finnish government urged to end breeding of severely obese foxes for fur

The recently revealed selective breeding of super-sized foxes on Finnish fur farms has caused an uproar in the international press. The shocking footage, that shows Arctic foxes so large they can barely move, has alarmed citizens and animal rights organizations across the globe.


Member organizations of the international animal protection coalition Fur Free Alliance urges Finland to use all measures available to end the cruel breeding of the extremely overweight Arctic foxes.


Veikka Lahtinen, the Campaign Coordinator of the Finnish animal rights organization Animalia, says: “The industry has been aware of the problem for a while. A study published in 2014 showed that during autumn as many as 86 percent of the animals had bent feet and a shocking 20 percent were morbidly obese. Officials need to take action and the Finnish Animal Welfare Act needs to grant officials a stronger mandate to ban selective breeding that causes significant damage to the animal.”


The Arctic foxes that are fattened up for the fur trade sometimes weigh 5 times their natural weight. As a result of the overweight, the foxes suffer from severe welfare problems such as loose skin and bent feet.


Member organisations of the Fur Free Alliance encourage companies in Finland and worldwide to give up fur products entirely and go fur-free.


Brigit Oele, program manager of the Fur Free Alliance, says: “Serious animal welfare problems are inherent to fur production. There is simply no way to keep animals in tiny battery cages without causing extreme suffering.”


In 2015, Respect for Animals published the comprehensive scientific report, ‘The Case Against Fur Factory Farming: A Scientific Review Of Animal Welfare Standards and WelFur’. You can read it here. Representing the very best animal welfare science, the report proves how fur farming is incompatible with basic animal welfare standards and concludes that fur farming must be banned on animal welfare grounds.

Here is a relevant section from the report, found on page 24:

As with mink, blue foxes have been bred to be larger than their wild counterparts to increase pelt size, which has favoured fast-growing and fat individuals. Obesity in farmed blue foxes is associated with high levels of bent feet, difficulty in moving and diarrhoea. Welfare assessments carried out on ten Finnish fox farms (71% blue foxes) in 2011 found that 54% of foxes had slightly bent feet and 23% had severely bent feet, 43% of foxes had some difficulty in moving, 2.7% had major difficulties in moving and 1% did not move; and 45% of foxes had diarrhoea.


We are writing to Finland’s Ambassador in the UK, urging Finland to BAN FUR FACTORY FARMING once and for all.  The suffering of arctic foxes is reprehensible and unjustifiable.

The embassy will have to pass on our letter to the Finnish govenrment, so we need as many signatures as possible.

Just add your details to the form below: