By Ana Mengotti
Miami, Aug 2 (EFE).- Thousands of foxes are killed every year in the United States on what are known as fur farms, but some of the animals discarded because of defects enjoy a life of ease at a shelter in the Florida Keys.
Nicole Navarro, founder and president of Pawsitive Beginnings, treats the foxes to air conditioning and other comforts at the modest refuge in Key Largo, roughly an hour’s drive from Miami.
Despite living in captivity, the foxes “are happy,” Navarro tells EFE with human-friendly Reef and Coral at her side, while the other residents go about their business indifferent to the visitors.
Each of the foxes at the shelter was deemed unsuitable for commercial purposes, whether as breeding stock or as a source of fur.
Two of them, one male and the other female, showed no interest in breeding. One fox was discarded for a deformed ear and another was born without a tail, while a male named Ridley had his tail chewed off by his mother.
Worldwide, roughly 100 million animals – minks, foxes, rabbits, chinchillas, etc. – are sacrificed annually to supply fur to the fashion industry, according to figures from Humane Society International.
Jasper, a 7-year-old white fox who dozes on a cushion during EFE’s visit, receives laser acupuncture once a month to treat his arthritis. And Louie gets his malformed ears cleaned regularly to prevent infection.
Pawsitive Beginnings, a nonprofit, depends on donations to care for the foxes sent to Key Largo by another rescue organization in Minnesota.
Slaughtering animals for their fur is “cruel, anachronistic, and barbarous,” Navarro says, especially given the existence of alternatives.
“Fake fur is a great thing and besides, now that fake fur is completely biodegradable,” she says.
Navarro is encouraged by indications that the fur industry is in decline amid greater awareness among consumers.