Facts & Reports

Rabbit Fur: The Facts

There is a common misconception that rabbit fur is a ‘by-product’ of the meat industry. It is not.

The same ethical and moral considerations that surround other types of animal fur also apply to rabbit fur.

Rabbit fur is central to the fur market and is cheaper to produce than many other furs. Fur farming has been banned in the UK since 2003, due to its inherent cruelty so no rabbits are farmed for their fur here.
Rabbits bred for their meat are usually killed around the age of 10-12 weeks when their flesh is a paler colour and more popular with consumers but their skin is still thin. By contrast, ‘fur' rabbits are killed at several months old by which time they have developed a thicker skin and coat.

Like other animals raised and killed for their fur, rabbits are kept in small, barren wire cages where their lives are bleak, cramped and short. Confined to these tiny cages, they spend their entire lives standing on thin wire, their movement is severely restricted and they are prevented from acting out their most basic instinctive behavior such as digging or jumping. This causes them tremendous suffering and leads to poor development and abnormalities.Wire flooring can cause pain, injury and suffering for rabbits and it is particularly unsuitable for rex breeds (one of the main breeds used in the fur industry) as they only have very thin coverings of fur on their feet. Rabbits are naturally very clean animals but are forced to be surrounded by their own waste which can lead to health problems. The mortality rate for farmed rabbits is very high.

Slaughter methods include neck-breaking, throat slitting or smashing the rabbit's skull. They are then strung up and have their heads cut off and fur removed.

Rabbit fur is used in a variety of products including fur coats and jackets, fur trimmed garments, hats, gloves, decorative accessories, footwear, blankets, stuffed animals and ornaments, pet toys and toys.

There is an increase in the number of garments being made from or trimmed with rabbit fur. Many shoppers are either unaware that the fur on these garments is real or are led to believe that rabbit fur is a by-product of the meat industry and therefore acceptable.

What can you do?

  • Check labels and garments carefully before buying anything - if you are not completely certain that it is fake fur then do not buy it.
  • Complain to any shop or business you see selling or marketing rabbit fur and ask them to stop.
  • Support Respect for Animals, the only UK organisation solely devoted to bringing an end to the cruel and unnecessary international fur industry.

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Respect for Animals led the succesful campaign which saw fur farming banned throughout the United Kingdom.