Q & A

31.1.2017

Why are fur animals kept in cages?

Cage housing and the currently applied cage sizes are based on research. The Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry defines the minimum size of cages. Even though the wild animals move around a lot, their movement is always based on a specific reason, such as finding nutrition or a mating partner. At farms, these needs are met within the cage. Smell is the most important sense for all fur animals, and an open shelter building gives them the opportunity to observe the surrounding scents.

Why are the cages net-based?

Originally, fur animals were housed in ground-based cages, but net bases were introduced for reasons related to the animals’ health. The ground base forms a foundation for various disease sources and parasites, and it becomes dirty quickly.

What do fur animals eat?

The feed of fur animals mainly consists of by-products of the fish and meat industries, as well as from coarse fish from the Baltic Sea and lakes. The consistency and energy content of the feed vary based on the animals’ development phases and seasons. The needs of small kits and full-grown breeding animals are very different. When the weather is cold, the energy content is increased and, correspondingly, during hot weather it is decreased.

How do fur animals survive cold winter days?

Fur animals are acclimatised to the Finnish winter. The so-called low critical temperature for blue foxes during rest is -40 C. Mink have a thinner undercoat than foxes, and they dig into the straw in their nest boxes when the temperature drops really low.

How do fur animals survive hot summer days?

Mink feel more discomfort in hot temperatures, because they cannot cool themselves by means of panting like foxes do. 
When the weather is really hot, mink are helped by showering with water and providing sunshades.

At what age are fur animals euthanized?

A fur animal born in the spring becomes full-grown and ready for pelting at the end of the same year, i.e. at the age of 6 to 8 months. The precise pelting time is determined by breed, colour variant and individual.

In the autumn, before the pelting season, the farmer chooses animals for breeding. The most calm and healthy individuals are used for this purpose. Individuals of different ages can thus be found among both pelted animals and breeding animals.

How are fur animals euthanized?

Fur animals are euthanized in their own living environment. To minimise stress, animals are not transported. Foxes are euthanized using electricity and mink using gas. Both methods are very quick, painless and stress-free for the animals. These methods are outlined in legislation.

How are the manure and carcasses of fur animals utilised?

The composted manure of fur animals is a valuable, nutrient-rich fertiliser for organic fields. 
The carcasses of fur animals are recycled and used, for example, as biofuel and animal feed.