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For Immediate Release: 12/09/09

Wisconsin tops list of "Worst Fur Farming States" in the U.S.

Unregulated farming practices and regulatory confusion raise serious animal welfare concerns

Sacramento, CA — Born Free USA, a leading national wildlife advocacy organization, today released Cruelty Uncaged: A Review of Fur Farming in North America. The 44-page report, which reviews statistics and legislative oversight of animals raised for their fur, names Wisconsin as the worst state for cruelty to “fur farmed” animals.

“The fur industry and its apologists want us to believe that fur farming is a humane, environmentally-friendly, and highly regulated industry,” said Monica Engebretson, senior program associate with Born Free USA. “As this report demonstrates, nothing could be farther from the truth.”

Wisconsin has the greatest number of unregulated fur farms in the country, numbering more than 100. In fact, the lack of oversight or regulation is so extensive, it is not known exactly how many fur farms there are in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin is also one of a handful of states with government regulatory agencies that are apparently unaware of the lack of regulation of this industry in their state, despite the potential impacts on other agriculture and other wildlife. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources both erroneously implicate the other as having regulatory oversight of fur farms.

“The Department of Natural Resources regulates fur farm in Wisconsin”
— Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

“[Fur farms are] regulated by the Dept of Ag & Consumer Protection”
— Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Born Free USA is additionally concerned by the potential external impact of fur farms whose animals can spread dangerous diseases to native wildlife and whose animal waste, if unregulated, can cause environmental pollution.

“The lack of oversight Born Free USA’s investigation has uncovered should have all citizens, state legislators and other officials sincerely concerned about the welfare of animals, wildlife and the environment in Wisconsin,” said Engebretson. “We hope legislators take this information seriously and work immediately to regulate this environmentally and morally toxic practice.”

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Born Free USA is a leading national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to conserve and protect wildlife in the U.S. and globally, including operation of the Born Free USA Primate Sanctuary, which provides sanctuary to primates formerly kept as pets in private homes.

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