Friday, 29 April 2016

Reggie Yates Unzips The Fur Trade

In a shocking expose for the BBC, presenter Reggie Yates finds out what conditions are like inside a Siberian fur farm.

As part of his latest documentary, Inside The Billionaire's Wardrobe, Reggie travelled to Russia to explore the fur trade. It's big business: sable and mink coats trade for six-figure sums, and the market is expanding. Despite protests and shifts in public attitudes, there's been a 70% increase in fur sales over the last decade.

The show is wide and broad in its remit, travelling with Reggie to Indonesia, Australia and Siberia to examine the skin trade in all its forms, from python skin to all sorts of fur. But it's in Siberia that we see the most affecting footage.

Reggie, on a visit to a Siberian fur farm, is shown the conditions in which the mink and sables are kept. Racked in cages that are clearly too small, they constantly scamper and wheel about. "They need to keep moving to stay warm," the breeder tells Reggie, oblivious or uncaring to the fact that the cages are open to the brutal Russian winter outside. Reggie's insistent questioning that perhaps the cages aren't humane are met with glib excuses – "the cages are sufficient for their needs." One look at the footage, which clearly shows how distressed these active, intelligent animals are in captivity, will persuade you otherwise.

Reggie Yates keeps a proper journalistic distance from the subject, allowing us to judge for ourselves. The fur trade is notorious for its callous attitude towards the creatures it exploits for profit, and Inside The Billionaire's Wardrobe puts a bright light on that gilded, brutal world.

Broadcast on Tuesday, you can watch the show through the BBC iPlayer until May 25th. It's well worth a look, if you want some perspective on why so many people are angry about fur.

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