By OLIVER PICKUP
Brutal: Workers in China skin a raccoon dog, but the animal is still alive and suffering
These sickening images show raccoon dogs being skinned alive to make cheap imitation Ugg boots bought by thousands of Britons.
The original footwear is made from high-quality Australian sheepskin, taken from animals slaughtered humanely, but this footage shows the brutal treatment of creatures in China whose fur is used to make the fake boots.
The raccoon dogs are shown skinned, but still alive and moving, in the distressing scenes filmed by animal rights campaigners. Thrown on a pile, they can take up to three hours to die.
The raccoon dog is indigenous to Asia and related to dogs and foxes. Ugg boots, right, are made from Australian sheepskin and cost up to £200 - but cheap imitations have flooded the market
The terrified animals are beaten with sticks and are seen kicking and writhing as the men cut them open and skin them.
The skinning process is agonisingly slow and begins from the feet up. The workers are filmed standing on the animals' heads if they struggle too much.
Pitiful: A bloodied and dazed creature is shown still alive but helpless on a pile of corpses
The video, uploaded on to YouTube by animalwelfare1 and associated with Swiss Animal Protection / EAST international, then shows the skinned animals being tossed alive on to a pile of dead and dying raccoon dogs.
The MailOnline has chosen not to include the video, as it is too shocking.
One raccoon dog - an indigenous Asian species related to foxes and dogs - is shown lifting its head to the camera briefly before falling back down on the mound of corpses, still breathing.
The shocking footage, published in the Herald Sun, has sparked outrage and has led activists to demand a ban on the raccoon dog trade.
Agony: A raccoon dog is beaten to stop it struggling so it can be skinned alive
In Australia, where Uggs - which cost up to £200 - originate, there has been a ban on the import of domestic dog and cat fur since 2004, but raccoon dog fur is still brought in.
An investigation by the Humane Society International (HSI) found a pair of imitation Ugg boots to contain raccoon dog fur, even though they were labelled 'Australian sheepskin'.
Cruelty: A raccoon dog is beaten on the head in an attempt to stun it. Another dazed animal lies on the right-hand of the image
'Labelling laws in Australia are a little bit grey and we have seen companies cutting off tags saying "made in China" and the Australian made tag put on it.'
An Australian customs spokeswoman said the government took the importation of illegal fur seriously but was awaiting further information before stating its position on the importation of raccoon dog fur.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
By OLIVER PICKUP