Farm housing and trapping

Sables in captivity

Sable fur production and sales are highly profitable, which is why Russia has prohibited the export of living animals in order to maintain its monopoly. In 1928, the first sables could be bred in captivity. Sables are held in a similar manner to minks, i.e. in standard wire cages with surfaces of 0,27 m² (90 x 30 cm) and heights of 30 to 40 cm. These tight cages make it impossible for the sables to satisfy their natural need to move. In addition, the wire mesh floors lead to injuries and deformations to the paws. The cages are equipped with small wooden nesting boxes, usually with mesh wire roofs, that do not provide the security of the animal’s natural, shady hiding.


The unstructured cages give the animals no possibility to climb or to discover. This inability to behave naturally – more of a rule than an exception in fur production – leads to the sables walking back and forth endlessly in their cages, chewing or „digging“ at the cage walls. The sables often also chew their own fur or injure themselves, sometimes; they bite off their own tails. After having been separated from their mothers, the young are kept alone or in pairs. This is not in line with their natural conduct either, because they never live in pairs in the wild. Furthermore, on fur farms, hundreds of cages are lined up next to each other. Thus, masses of animals are forced to live penned up in tiny spaces, unable to withdraw from conspecifics and suffering from this closeness (odor and noise). For sables, loners by nature, this means tremendous stress that often leads to self-mutilation, mutual injuring or even killing.


As for all wild animals, contact with human beings is stressful for the sables. However, they are regularly taken out of their cages for breeding, for their fur to be measured, for medicating or for cages to be switched. The animals react to such activities with fear.


Sable trapping

A large part of sable furs stems from trapping. The traps are set up where the sables preferably dwell, for instance where they cross streams, or along wild paths. Sometimes, the traps are treated with special chemical attractants, e.g. urine or odor secretions. Animals that trigger the traps are clamped up painfully. Often enough, traps will clamp down where the animals hurt the most, i.e. in the area around their snouts or eyes. Confused, scared, and in pain, the animals will desperately try to free themselves, thereby dislocating their joints and injuring themselves seriously. In order to free themselves, they sometimes bite off their own limbs. Even if an animal is able to free itself, it hardly has the chance of surviving and will die of infections, starve to death, or become easy prey. Animals unable to free themselves die a long and painful death – provided they are not beaten to death by trappers or eaten by predators.


An additional severe problem is that often, other animals are caught in the traps. Amongst them, protected wild animals or domestic animals, such as cats and dogs.


Trapping for fur is to be rejected for animal protection reasons. It has nothing to do with sound wildlife management – although this is claimed by the fur industry.


Factory farm of wild animals

© Net for Animal Freedom /

Additional information

  • The «Humane Society of the United States» and its Fur free campaign

  • The Canadian environmental protection organization «Global Action Network» and its extensive anti-fur campaign.