Rabbit Fur

We all know about the adorable aesthetics of rabbits. At present, eight genera of rabbits are to be found in the world, of which the Amami rabbit of Japan already faces extinction. They are known for having fuzzy pelts and fine hair that may be commercially used to create fur products.
In addition, rabbits are known for being extremely meek and relatively slower mammals that can hardly protect themselves from the various attacks that are posed on them. Their essential harmless nature makes them an easy victim of the worldwide animal fur industry. In fact, it has been accurately surmised that rabbit fur constitutes the fastest growing part of the worldwide fur trade. This proves to be a deplorable statistic end to one of the most playful and innocent animals that nature has on offer.
In the wild, rabbits frequent the meadows, grasslands, and other landscapes that have ample provisions for their survival. This makes rabbit warrens very easy to locate. Their underground burrows also alert hunters about their nesting extent. Since they usually live in packs, situating a single rabbit hole proves to be very lucrative for these hunters, as they can capture multiple rabbits from a single warren or interconnected ones.

The majority of the rabbit population is found in North America. This makes this continent one of the major producer and exporter of rabbit fur in the world. Along with North America, many European nations also pride themselves with the vain statistics of being a major player in the global rabbit fur industry.
Since a rabbit has a petite anatomy, about 30 to 40 rabbits need to be slaughtered to produce an average fur coat. Such a despicable fact places much pressure on wild-rabbit hunters. Consequently, extensive rabbit fur farms have cropped up in several parts of the world. Herein, rabbits are especially bred in torturous circumstances, just so that they can whet the cruel appetites of some superficial fashionista.

As far as commercial fur farming is concerned, the genus of rabbits that is most in demand is that of the Rex rabbits. Rex Rabbits may be of two kinds. While the Castor Rex exhibits a brownish color, and is the more expensive variety, the Chinchilla Rex provides the cheaper alternative. Other than these, another breed that has also proved to be highly popular is that of the Orylag rabbits, which are especially farmed in France for their fur as well as their meat.

This is a truly horrid instance of animal cruelty at its worst. In fact, mortality rates in rabbit farms happen to be very high. While the Rex rabbits exhibit a mortality rate of 10 to 15%, the mortality rate among Orylag rabbits is as high as 25 to 35%.
Countless ordeals and traumas are in store for these harmless rabbits in fur farms. In a rabbit fur farm, breeding rabbits are managed for 3 years. During this time, they are forced to reproduce at least twice a year. After the birth of their kits, the mother rabbits are forcibly separated from their offspring within 4 weeks. Such separations are continued for lengthy periods of time. In fact, mothers are only permitted to enter the nursing area during unstable feeding times. Such malicious partitions, which go against the natural course of mammary nursing, put the mothers under a great deal of stress. As a result, it is not uncommon for mother rabbits to show symptoms of derangement that might at times manifest itself in the form of cannibalism, wherein the mother may eat her young.
The fate of the children is also as horrible as that of their mothers. Whatever be their kind, all breeds of this helpless mammal are kept in abominable conditions. They are restrained in bare wire mesh cages that are too small to allow them the liberty to move about freely - something that they are instinctively programmed to do because of their natural reflexes. In fact, the cages for single rabbits have the measly dimension of about two shoeboxes. Sometimes as many as 12 rabbits are crammed into an enclosure that is only a third larger than the aforementioned single-rabbit cage size.
Owing to such poor and inhuman living conditions, many rabbits develop spinal deformations, broken bones, and appalling skin lesions. Further, the mesh flooring of the cages creates sore hocks, and other infectious paw injuries. Many of them are also afflicted by respiratory diseases, caused by poor ventilation. As a result, a considerable percentage of the rabbits lose their lives, much before reaching the slaughterhouse.

The slaughterhouse, in itself, is the representative vortex of inexcusable animal cruelty. These animals are often killed by incurring blows with heavy sticks before their throats are slits. At other places, these naturally docile and helpless animals are stunned by electric instruments. In view of the horrific way in which multiple rabbits are restrained in vertically piled crates, as they watch their brethren being slaughtered, while they, themselves, writhe and bleed in rabbit excrements, these fur farms can be rightly equated with modern day animal torture chambers.
While the Rex variety of rabbits are more common in the world, the more exclusive and expensive rabbit furs that adorn the wardrobe of the rich and famous are actually extracted from Orylag rabbits. These rabbits are the products of 15 years of genetic engineering endeavor that was undertaken by the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA).

The fur of these rabbits is known for being softer, shinier, and more resistant to the ravages of natural elements. Owing to this, these rabbits are only bred in a select few farms in France that maintain strict standards of quality. From here on, they are often transported to the design studios of some of the biggest fashion labels in the world.
The Orylag mothers are known for producing 7 - 12 babies at a time. After she has reproduced, she goes through forcible artificial insemination after only a few days.

Though such rabbits are considered to be bred in ethically acceptable conditions, they are, in fact, subjected to the very same kind of ruthless treatment that their Rex counterparts experience. Like the Rex rabbits, the Orylag rabbits are also separated from their mothers at four weeks. From this time until till their seventh week, they live with their siblings. Finally, they are placed in solitary cages, so as to prevent fighting (a physical manifestation of their psychological distress) and damage to their pelts. Once they are about 20 weeks old, they are slaughtered in cold blood.

There is little awareness among people about the conditions at rabbit fur farms. Even if many people know about the consequences of their fur purchases, very few of them have the conscience to say 'NO' to such products. This is evidenced in the fact that the rabbit fur sales have grown over the years.
While traders continue with their mad lust for money, countless rabbits are being killed to satiate the growing demands of this industry. With a gradual decrease in the production costs, it is estimated that rabbit fur sales are only going to escalate. This can only project a grim future for these social and endearing mammals.

Animal Rights: The Cognitive Dissonance of Arrogance


This is a time in our history in which numerous dynamic changes and possible truths have come forward. There are things now possible that we have only been able to dream of in the past, and there is knowledge abound that can help save us all. At the apex of these wondrous breakthroughs, there is another idea that should not be so revolutionary: The idea that human beings and animals share the same rights, and that all species should be treated equally. The basic tenants of what we consider our basic rights as human beings should, in turn, be given to other sentient beings. After all, we consider these rights inalienable to us simply because we are sentient beings ourselves.
Our fellow beings share many of our characteristics, yet we conveniently ignore these shared characteristics when using the flesh of animals for our meals and skins of animals for our clothing, among other heinous purposes. Our fellow mammals also breastfeed their young, feeling the same loving connection to their offspring as we do to ours.

Other animals also feel pain, which we inflict on them with no thought, but avoid religiously for ourselves. The point of this article, however, is not to enumerate the ways in which animals and human beings are similar. In fact, many know that humans are often the lesser animal to many species, as we are the cause of climate change, deforestation, etc. We human beings are animals, too, and far more destructive than almost any other species on this great, green Earth.
Another common practice which stands in opposition to animal rights is the use of animals in medical and product testing. There’s a popular saying about this: “Don’t test the animals, they don’t have the answers.” Perhaps this is somewhat silly, but the sentiment carries the truth. In fact, all drugs and products tested on animals still must undergo human trial. Using non-human animals to search for drugs for humans is a colossal waste of time and resources for many reasons. Most every drug that passes through preclinical trials, tested on animals, are deemed useless or harmful when tested on human individuals, negating all the time and effort and resources on the part of the researchers and causing needless pain and suffering to innocent creatures. In spite of all this testing, major diseases such as cancer and diabetes have remained incurable. Despite all of the animals that have endured torturous circumstances and vivisection, there is little to nothing to show for it, for those that tout its importance.
We would be less likely to fall to deadly diseases associated with high levels of cholesterol, fat, and excessive protein. We would be kinder, showing more appreciation for our fellow beings. We would have a steadier supply of clean water to drink, and would lose less topsoil to atrocious farming practices. So very much is to gain from granting animals their rights, and so very much to lose from remaining stagnant, stuck in our current, destructive ways.

We begin with the vital question: What exactly is meant by the term “animal rights”? Does it mean that a dog can run for public office, or that a cat is responsible for paying taxes? Of course not. Animals do not share the same social responsibilities as we do. We are their guardians, their wardens, charged with conserving their territories and caring for them. Animal rights simply refers to the rights we, for the most part, deny to animals and fight for ourselves.

We would consider it universally sickening and disturbing if even one human being was raised from birth to have his or her body hair harvested to create coats, their skin used to make clothing or sporting items, and their flesh cultivated in order for others to consume. How, then, do we, as a collective society, find it acceptable that an unfathomable sum of animals we often think of as ‘cute and cuddly’ are killed by the minute for these very purposes?
As keepers of the planet and investors in the welfare of other creatures who also inhabit this Earth, it is our duty to bestow the esteem and respect we owe to our fellow creatures. It is our charge to do what we would consider right by other humans and grant animals rights that protect them from harm and exploitation. With this in mind, there are acts that cannot continue, in the name of animal rights and the sanctity of life for all creatures.Human beings do not require animals in their diet in order to thrive, let alone live. As obligate omnivores, we could exist exclusively as herbivores, taking no meat and living on a plant-based diet, and live healthy lifestyles. In fact, it has been studied in numerous cases that those who do abstain from the consumption of meat have lower instances of dreaded diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. The instances of these illnesses in vegan individuals are even fewer. It is also true that raising animals for food has led to such atrocities as deforestation to raise cattle, the loss of topsoil, befouling of water sources, and overall contributions to global climate change. We have the means and technology to keep the entire world healthy and fed on a plant-based diet. For the sake of animal rights, as sacred and important as human rights, the consumption of their flesh must end.
We simply do not need to harm other creatures in order to live, thrive, or even have productive lives. No being deserves to be abused for the benefit of others; this is something that civilized persons have accepted for a very long time. Why has this not been extended to animals? We have no right to take advantage of our fellow beings and exploit their reactions to pain and chemical, possibly hazardous, materials; it is their right to be protected as we are protected by law from such treatment.
It is erroneous to assume that those involved in the Animal Rights campaign, who hold the values expressed in this article dear to their hearts, care nothing for the suffering of human beings. This is a false statement, presumptuous and harmful in its very nature. Denying that humans have dominion over animals is not equivocated to denying human rights. Animal rights activists simply believe that animals should enjoy the same freedoms from threat of injury and exploitation that we do. Most individuals that champion animal rights are in favor of fundamental rights for human beings as well, because empathy knows no barriers, not sex, race, class, or species. By showing respect toward all life, the lives of human beings are not devalued. In fact, human beings stand to benefit from giving animals their fundamental rights. We would have better medical practices for research, leading to possible cures and improved treatment for diseases. We would have enough arable land to feed the world population, and help it to thrive.