Lithuanian animal protection organisation, and colleagues of Respect for Animals in the Fur Free Alliance, “Tušti narvai” today publishes shocking footage that reveals the cruel reality for animals killed for their fur. The new undercover investigation into fur farms in Lithuania reveals animals punched, thrown, and suffocated in gas chambers, and for the first time includes clear footage from inside a killing box.
The published images from eight fur farms in Lithuania (filmed in 2019, 2022 and 2023) show gross violations of animal welfare. They were recorded on farms located in the districts of Mažeikiai, Prienai, Panevėžys, Ukmergė, Kelmė, Šiauliai and Kaunas. The footage shows fur farm workers throwing and beating mink, with desperate animals grabbing onto the cage with their claws only to be aggressively handled or beaten. Heartbreaking images of animals being killed from inside the gas chambers have also been made public. Mink are seen jumping, scratching and trying to escape. Eventually, the bodies begin to spasm and the animals slowly suffocate.
“When editing the images, we had to change the people doing it several times. The shots are simply too cruel, so it was too difficult for the people watching emotionally,” says Gabrielė Vaitkevičiūtė, executive director of “Tušti narvai”.
“Such treatment of animals is unfathomable and unforgivable. Fur farmers call this process “putting animals to sleep”. Does it sound like making someone sleep? What most people can’t even look at because of how horrible it is, is a standard practice on fur farms. On all of them, the killing season looks the same.”
The killing of mink on Lithuanian fur farms takes place during spring and autumn. In the spring, after mating, the males are gassed because they are no longer needed, and in the autumn, all the animals selected for their fur are also gassed.
“The images show how fur farm workers intentionally cause pain and suffering to animals by using excessive force. Therefore, law enforcement will be contacted in order to bring to justice those who behaved in this way with animals. But now the most important thing is that such activities should be banned altogether. It is no longer necessary to torture animals for the sake of fashion,” emphasises G. Vaitkevičiūtė.
A fur farming ban is currently being discussed by the Lithuanian Parliament (Seimas). On 24 May, the Environmental Protection Committee of the Seimas considered amendments to the Law on Animal Welfare and Protection, including a ban on fur farming in Lithuania. During the meeting, a majority of parliamentarians voted in favour of banning fur farms. The draft law will now be considered at the full Seimas, with a vote expected on 6 June. After this stage, there will be one more vote left before the bill can be adopted.
Mark Glover of Respect for Animals says: “This investigation has highlighted the suffering of mink as they are gassed to death on fur farms. The only option to prevent this is to ban fur farms all over and to ban the import and sales of these cruel products in the places where fur production is already banned. The United Kingdom is perfectly placed to do this. A fur ban is popular and morally right. Our politicians must act to make fur history.”
Currently, fur farms have been banned in 19 European countries. Bans have already been adopted by two other Baltic countries, Estonia and Latvia, as well as Austria, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and many others. Earlier this year, the scale of public opposition to fur farming in Europe was shown by the success of the ‘Fur Free Europe’ European Citizens’ initiative, which closed early with over 1.7 million signatures.