This week, we released footage from the most recent undercover investigation of five fur farms, this time in northern China, the source of most of the world’s fur. What we see is what we’ve come to expect with fur farm investigations: foxes, raccoon dogs and mink pacing their cages frantically, a repetitive behavior associated with mental decline, and filthy, feces-encrusted cages packed so close together that the risk of zoonotic disease spread was nearly palpable. 

Investigators visited five fur farms in December 2023 in the regions of Hebei and Liaoning. Each farm kept between 2,000 and 4,000 fur-bearing animals in small cages so cramped and crammed together that in some cases the mink or raccoon dogs could touch one another through the wire walls, meaning that diseases can spread very easily. The animals were kept in close proximity to poultry, yet, despite the many hundreds of COVID-19 and avian influenza cases confirmed on fur farms globally since 2020, the fur farmers told the investigators that they don’t routinely sterilize the premises because of the expense.