OK, so here’s the deal with wearing clothing made from fur or other animal-derived materials: It’s gross. With all the faux fur and other cruelty-free fashion available these days, is it really worth it to wear something that someone had to die for?

[peta-gif gif_id="4372" width="250"] Animals are often skinned alive for their fur, like this.

Yeah, we don’t think so, either. Here are 12 animals you probably didn’t even realize that people actually wear:

1. Cats

Not even cats, like the ones we share our homes with, are safe from the fur trade. In fact, millions of cats and dogs in China are beaten, hanged, bled to death, or strangled with wire nooses so that their fur can be turned into trim and trinkets. Their fur is often mislabeled and then sold in the U.S. and around the world.

Cat fur trade china

2. Dogs 

Dogs are also used for their skin. A PETA Asia eyewitness investigation revealed that dogs are bludgeoned and killed so that their skin can be turned into leather shoes, gloves, belts, and other accessories, which are sold all over the world. There’s no easy way to tell the difference between skin from dogs and skin from other animals.

dog leather slaughterhouse

3. Ostriches

If you’ve ever seen purses or other accessories with round bumps on them, they were probably made from the skin of intelligent, sensitive ostriches who suffered and were killed for fashion. The recognizable bumps on ostrich leather are actually the follicles where the ostriches’ feathers were ripped out. PETA investigators went inside the largest ostrich-slaughter facilities in the world and saw workers hit ostriches in the face, force the terrified birds into stun boxes, and then slit their throats, all while those next in line to be killed watched helplessly as their frightened flockmates were murdered right in front of them.

ostrich slaughterhouse

4. Minks

Minks are semi-aquatic animals, but on fur farms, they’re denied the opportunity to swim or do anything that makes them happy. Instead, they’re forced to live in cramped wire cages for their whole lives—all so that their fur can be turned into coats and collars. A PETA eyewitness exposé of a massive fur farm in Wisconsin revealed that workers grabbed terrified, screaming minks by their sensitive tails, crammed them into a metal drum, and pumped it full of gas to suffocate them. The farmer broke the neck of one mink who had survived the gassing. Another mink survived for 20 minutes before finally dying.


5. Foxes

At the same fur farm, an eyewitness also saw foxes who were kept in rows of filthy cages until they were gassed to death. Foxes are highly intelligent animals, and if left alone by humans (their sole predator), they can survive for up to nine years in the wild. But on fur farms, they only know a lifetime of misery before they’re killed far short of their natural life expectancy. Foxes not raised on fur farms are often caught in steel-jaw traps in the wild. These traps slam shut on their legs, leaving them in excruciating pain until trappers arrive to beat them to death hours or days later.


Fur-Bearer Defenders 

6. Rabbits

Much like minks and foxes who are killed for their fur, rabbits on fur farms typically never experience kindness from humans and aren’t given proper veterinary care, a comfortable place to lie down, or the opportunity to explore. Workers kill rabbits by breaking their necks, slitting their throats, or beating in their skulls. Then they string them up and skin them—sometimes while they’re still alive.

Rabbits Being Slaughtered

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals 

You may have heard of angora or “angora wool.” It’s actually fur taken from a specific breed of rabbit. Angora wool is used to make sweaters, scarves, winter hats, and other clothing and accessories. Unlike other rabbits, angora rabbits aren’t typically skinned for their fur. Instead, about every three months, their fur is ripped out by the fistful without pain relief and while they’re fully conscious.


7. Raccoons

Raccoons’ lives are tragically and violently cut short in the fur industry. Raccoons used for their fur are sometimes hunted by dogs or suffer in steel-jaw traps, where they endure hours—or even days—of agony before they’re killed. Animals caught in traps may even chew off their trapped limb in an attempt to escape.


8. Chinchillas

The demand for chinchilla fur has resulted in the animals’ near extinction in the wild. If given the opportunity, chinchillas would live in herds of over 100 animals, but on fur farms, they’re usually kept alone in small cages until they’re killed for their fur. On a fur farm in Midland, Michigan, PETA investigators observed that chinchillas suffered from painful seizures after workers electrocuted them or broke their necks while they were still conscious.


And at another breeding and fur farm in California, the owner admitted to amputating chinchillas’ injured limbs with “wire snips,” not giving the animals proper anesthetics, and using crude and painful methods, such as electrocution, to kill them.

chinchilla electrocution

9. Beavers

Beavers are extremely gentle, family-oriented animals who mate for life and remain close with their offspring. Beavers today are in constant danger of being caught in traps. The body-gripping traps used to capture and kill them for their fur cause these sensitive animals immeasurable suffering. In many cases, the traps fail to catch them quickly or on target. If the traps don’t kill them immediately, they can drown while trapped underwater.


10. Seals

Actually, almost no one wears seal fur anymore, but during the annual Canadian seal slaughter, tens of thousands of seals are still beaten or shot and then skinned so people can sell their soft fur for profit. The U.S., the European Union, and Russia have all banned seal-fur imports, and even though there’s virtually no market for seal fur anymore, the Canadian government still allows the slaughter to continue.

Seal Slaughter 2

11. Bears

Bears are cruelly killed for their fur, too. They are often shot during terrifying hunts or ensnared, sometimes for days, in painful traps. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry reports that during hunts, as many as one in seven bears isn’t killed immediately after being shot, and some escape wounded, often dying later from blood loss, gangrene, or starvation.

black bear

For nearly two centuries, Britain’s Ministry of Defence has waged a war on black bears, allowing the slaughter of hundreds of them in Canada and using their pelts to make headpieces for The Queen’s Guards.

queen's guards bear hats

12. Coyotes

Wild coyotes killed for fur-trimmed jackets, like those sold by Canada Goose, can suffer for days in traps. They face blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. Mothers desperate to get back to their starving pups have been known to attempt to chew off their own limbs to escape. Animals who don’t succumb to the elements, blood loss, infection, or predators are often strangled, stomped on, or bludgeoned to death when the trapper returns.

All that for a coat? No, thanks!

No clothing is worth someone else’s life. Always shop cruelty-free! Stores like Forever 21, H&M, Wet Seal, Charlotte Russe, and Target have tons of cute (and cheap) fur-free and skin-free finds. Just check the labels before you buy. Still not sure if an item is cruelty-free? Ask us. We’ll help you out!

Fill out the form below to order a free How to Wear Vegan shopping guide. Bonus: You’ll get some awesome free stickers, too!*

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