Animal rights organizations are upset after investigators uncovered a Chinese operation that shows individuals skinning raccoon dogs alive. The fur is then sold to develop fake imitation Ugg Boots that is sold to millions around the world.
A new animal cruelty video has sparked outrage among many animal rights organizations and YouTube users. A video uploaded by YouTube user animalwelfare1 and produced by Swiss Animal Protection, shows a horrific scene of raccoon dogs being skinned alive.
The raccoon dogs – an East Asian animal that is a mixture of domestic dogs, foxes and jackals – were being bred on a Chinese farm. Animal rights investigators filmed farmers taking a raccoon dog out of the cage, slamming it on the ground and beginning to skin the animal alive.
A boot is firmly pressed against the dog’s neck in order to avoid struggle. After the animal is skinned, it is thrown onto a pile of carcasses. As the heart continues to beat for five to 10 minutes, the pain and sadness can be seen in the animal’s slowly blinking eyes.
Many media outlets have decided not to publish the video footage on their websites because of its graphic nature, but some of them have provided snapshots for their readers.
The fur is later passed off as Australian sheepskin and used to produce counterfeit Ugg Boots that are sold all over the world. The boots originally come from Australia and cost upwards of £200 ($265).
The counterfeit trade continues to grow, though. According to a Sun interview with Lena MacDonald, an executive at Ugg Australia, many bogus firms “even cut off ‘Made in China’ tags and put on an ‘Australian made tag’.”
Humane Society International (HSI) director Verna Simpson told ABC Radio Australia in an interview that dozens of products use raccoon dog fur and in some other cases use dog fur.
“Well, basically there's no care at all, but apart from the raccoon dog which has been slaughtered alive and the footage is pretty horribly graphic,” said Simpson. “There's also domestic dogs coming in under the radar of this and a lot of the products we had tested over here, not the ugg boots, but a lot of the products actually had domestic dog in them too, and our estimates is around 10 million domestic dogs are being killed for this market as well.”
Governments around the world, such as Australia, have banned the importation of cat and dog fur, but raccoon dog fur persists in countries around the world.
“HSI has been informed that once these fur items have made it past the border, Customs has little power to take further direct action,” added Simpson. “Further, upon requesting action from the ACCC, HSI has been notified that the matter was not of significant and widespread public detriment to warrant further action being taken.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has launched an information campaign that teaches people about Chinese Fur Farms.
“The globalization of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from,” writes PETA. “China supplies more than half of the finished fur garments imported for sale in the United States. Even if a fur garment's label says it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere—possibly on an unregulated Chinese fur farm. “
The video can be seen below. Due to the explicit nature of the published content, viewer discretion is advised.