A Typical Day in the Life of a Fur Farm Worker

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur


Animals & Humans alike suffer on fur and skin farms.

Many of us are well aware that the conditions are horrible for the animals on fur farms. But have you considered how inhumane the conditions are for the workers as well in this shameful industry. Filth, toxic chemicals, and tons of waste. This is what surrounds humans and non-humans on the farms that breed and slaughter animals for their fur and skins.


A Typical Day in the Life of a Fur Farm Worker

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur

Christopher wakes early and drives a few miles to the bobcat ranch where he works. He nods to John and Diego, happy they were both able to come in to work today. Diego missed the last two days of work because he had been bitten by a bobcat on his forearm and needed to get twenty-five stitches to close the deep cut. His doctor told him to keep the wound clean and stay home for a week. But Diego really needs the money. His daughter’s doctor bills are adding up. She has recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. She’s been having trouble breathing for a few months. Christopher also understands the need for work. His son hasn’t been feeling well lately either and knows he is need of a doctor as well.

The three men head over to the barn. When they open the door, they are hit with the intensity of deafening sounds that nearly makes them stumble. They look at one other and shake their heads. The barn holds about three hundred bobcats, each in a tiny cage where they can barely move. The cages are stacked on top of each other three cages high. This causes the waste from the upper cages to drip down through the lower cages.

They spy Bob, the owner, over by the office and walk over to get their duty assignments for the day. Bob tells the men that they have a lot of work to do today. A number of animals died throughout the night and their bodies need to be moved to make way for more bobcats. Bob isn’t sure why the animals died, and he doesn’t really care. They are easier to “process” if they are already dead. He also tells them that he received a big order for pelts that morning so they will be processing( slaughtering) animals late in to the afternoon.

The men decide that Christopher and Diego will walk through the barn and remove any dead animals they find from their cages while John gets ready to feed the ones that are still alive. The cats are in terrible condition physically and mentally. Christopher notices that many have infected wounds, eye infections, and missing limbs. He tells Diego not to handle any of the animals with infections so that his wound can stay sanitary.

Christopher and Diego find ten dead bobcats in cages. They casually remove the bodies and throw them in a wheel barrow. They make a few jokes about the bobcat that have chewed off their own limbs in a fit of mania. They continue down the row of cages until they reach the end.

John walks quickly down the rows, casually throwing scraps of food into each cage. Christopher and Diego bring the wheelbarrow over to a door in the back of the barn and leave it there. They then get two water hoses and walk through the stacked cages, spraying water nonchalantly toward the water bowls in each cage, perhaps not filling all of them as they spray. John starts to cough and Christopher looks at the dust and fur floating through the air. He slaps his head and remembers that they are supposed to be wearing masks over their mouths and noses to protect them from the allergens in the air. They decide it’s too much hassle to go retrieve the masks from the office and finish feeding and watering the animals. Christopher scratches at a rash on his arm which seems a little bit worse than yesterday. He reminds himself to get some cream on his way home tonight.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur

The men break for lunch and eat at the staff table at the front of the barn. They open the big front door and the wind coming in stirs up the dust and animal fur. Diego laughs as a clump of fur lands on his face, covering his eyes, and finishes his lunch.

After lunch, the men drag twenty live bobcats out of their cages and slit their throats. The rest of the bobcats howl as they watch in terror and agony. The now-dead, or almost bobcats are brought into the back room to be skinned and processed whether they are dead or still alive.

The sky is dark as the men prepare to go home. They count and compare the bites and scratches they got, laughing and recounting how they retaliated against each bobcat who dared to fight back. They punch out and go home.

Bob smiles as he knows it has been a productive day on his fur farm. He is well aware that the local groundwater is contaminated from the chemicals he uses to process the bobcat fur. Bob is nearing retirement.

A Brighter Future for Fur-Bearing Animals and Humans

Christopher, John, and Diego's story is common in the fur-farming industry. Illnesses due to unhygienic working conditions, injuries received from terrified, abused animals and environmental contamination are part of the industry. Humans and non human suffer. Both get sick, are treated inhumanely and are shown no compassion. It’s tragic. Their future is without hope unless WE MAKE CHANGE!

STOP buying fur and leather products. START buying vegan and faux alternatives. The use of fur and skin products is unnecessary in fashion, accessories and household goods. In your home and office, replace animal skins and furs with:

  • Hemp
  • Cotton
  • Linen
  • Bamboo
  • Rubber
  • Canvas

Faux options are typically hypoallergenic and are made without blood or tragedy. Many synthetic fabrics are now manufactured with recycled materials such as plastic bottles and even thrown out TV monitors. Going vegan in your lifestyle not only saves animals, but humans and the planet.

Look for designers, stores and brands that don’t offer fur or skins in their collections. If we demand humane products, the fur and skins farms and tanneries will cease to exist. Become an ethical consumer! Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk!

We are making progress. Designer Stella McCartney is known for being a pioneer in humane fashion and others are following. Gucci, Armani & many other luxury designers are no longer selling fur, cars are offering vegan options in their interiors, and more and more of the population is choosing a vegan lifestyle. The world is becoming more compassionate. We must help the animals and the workers who, due to lack of education and choices, are forced to take on these type of jobs. They are as voiceless as the animals they slaughter.  We must make change. There are no more excuses. It’s your turn to do something! TAG YOU’RE IT!!