While folktales portray them as sly tricksters, red foxes deserve our respect for their intelligence and adaptability.

Unfortunately, foxes have suffered from centuries of persecution by humans. Even today, they are routinely shot as nuisances, hunted for sport and killed for their fur. Contests award money and other prizes to the hunters who kill the most animals (typically coyotes and foxes). Another sickening blood sport known as “fox penning” pits packs of dogs against foxes and coyotes in fenced enclosures from which the animals can’t escape.

A lone Arctic fox in a winter scene
Josef Pittner
Alamy Stock photo
Truth in labeling?

In recent years, investigators with the Humane Society of the United States have uncovered numerous instances of popular retail stores selling fur-trimmed garments that were incorrectly (and illegally) labeled as “faux.” Make sure your fashion purchases don’t inadvertently reward animal cruelty by learning to distinguish fur from faux: Examine the material the hair comes out of to make sure it is woven fabric and not skin, and look at the ends of hairs—they should not be tapered (animal), though blunt ends could be either faux or sheared animal fur.

fox at fur farm
Jo-Anne McArthur
SPCA Montreal
Did you know?

Distinguishing between the red fox and the gray fox isn’t as straightforward as their names imply. Coat colors can vary widely among individuals, so it’s not always a sure bet that a red-colored fox is a “red fox” or that a gray-colored one is a “gray fox.” There is one easy way to tell them apart: Only red foxes have white-tipped tails.

A male mink at a fur farm

By taking a stand against the fur industry in refusing to purchase its products, you’ll encourage designers to stop using fur and other animal skins, retailers to stop selling them and style writers to stop touting cruelty as fashionable.

Jo-Anne McArthur / We Animals