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The Welfare of Farmed Foxes Vulpes Vulpes and Alopex la Gopus in Relation to Housing and Management: A Review

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Abstract:

Foxes have been kept in captivity in Europe for the purpose of fur production for 70-80 years. In comparison with the main domesticated animal species, this is a very recent intervention. This paper reviews available evidence concerning the welfare of farmed foxes in relation to housing and management. The bulk of the literature relates to early handling of cubs, with the intention of reducing their subsequent fear of humans, and to simple changes in the cage environment that may provide environmental enrichment for foxes. Fear of humans appears to be a significant and pervasive problem, and the barrenness of cages is also a cause for concern. The extent of abnormal behaviours and reproductive failure, both indicative of quite severe welfare problems, is not sufficiently documented. Some housing and management practices are less detrimental than others; nonetheless, the evidence suggests that the welfare of farmed foxes is poor.

Keywords: ANIMAL WELFARE; ENRICHMENT; FEAR; FOXES; HOUSING; MANAGEMENT; REPRODUCTION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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