Disturbing Video Shows Chinese Fur Farm Where Raccoon Dogs Are Electrocuted

Activists have released disturbing images showing "extreme animal suffering" on several fur farms in China, including instances of raccoon dogs being electrocuted.

Humane Society International (HSI) said investigations had taken place at 13 fur farms in the country between November and December 2020, revealing breaches of China's farming regulations on animal housing, welfare, slaughter and epidemic control.

On one farm, investigators filmed raccoon dogs being electrocuted using a double-spiked lance attached to a high voltage battery in such a way that experts say they would still have been conscious—albeit paralyzed—while experiencing a slow, agonizing death.

Alastair MacMillan, HSI's veterinary adviser, said in a statement: "The animals in this video are being subjected to violent and chaotic electrocution in the body and not in the brain, which means they are highly likely to have experienced several minutes of extreme physical pain and suffering, like heart attack symptoms."

"Instead of instant death, they are likely to have been immobilized by the electric shocks but remain conscious and feel the intense pain of electrocution," he said.

Investigators also captured images of foxes repetitively spinning and pacing in tiny, barren cages—classic signs of severe mental health issues.

Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International-U.K., said in a statement: "This is the sickening reality of life and death for animals on fur farms, a million miles from the glamorous image the fur trade tries to portray."

The investigation also documented one farmer admitting that meat from slaughtered fur animals was being sold to local restaurants for human consumption.

"In addition to the cramped conditions, our investigators also witnessed an almost total lack of disease control and health protection measures on fur farms, which is extremely worrying considering that mink, raccoon dogs and foxes are all capable of contracting coronaviruses," Bass said.

In fact, the HSI investigation found that none of the fur farms followed basic biosecurity measures, with disease control regulations routinely ignored. The non-profit said it had provided evidence of its investigation to Chinese authorities.

The country is home to the largest fur industry in the world, which reared 14 million foxes, 13.5 million raccoon dogs and 11.6 million mink in 2019. But extreme suffering on fur farms is not just confined to China, according to the non-profit.

"Although this investigation took place in China, similarly distressing scenes of mentally ill animals being kept in small, barren, factory-farm style cages can also be seen in fur farms across Europe and North America," Bass said. "Factory farming animals for fur inherently results in appalling suffering and an unacceptable public health risk."

Raccoon dog
A raccoon dog filmed at a fur farm in China.