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A PETA investigation—the first of its kind—into China’s badger-brush industry reveals that “protected” badgers are illegally captured in the wild using snares and other cruel methods and that others are bred and confined to small cages on farms before being violently killed for paint, makeup, and shaving brushes.
After PETA shared the video footage, L’Oréal Group, Procter & Gamble’s The Art of Shaving, Beau Brummell, Olivina Men, Caswell-Massey, The New York Shaving Company, Morphe and many other companies made the compassionate decision to ban badger hair.
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Driven Insane in Tiny Cages
PETA eyewitnesses visited multiple badger farms across China, which exports badger-hair brushes to countries worldwide. On every farm, they documented hellish conditions for the animals, including being confined to cramped wire cages and often suffering from severe, untreated injuries. One's leg had even been chewed off by another badger in a nearby cage.
Badgers are extremely social animals who, in nature, construct elaborate underground burrow systems called setts. Some setts are centuries old and have been inhabited by many generations of the same badger clan. These fastidious animals have separate rooms for sleeping and giving birth, as well as designated "bathroom" areas outside the setts.
But on badger-hair farms, these animals are deprived of the opportunity to dig, forage for food, choose mates, or do anything else that would make their lives worth living, causing many to go insane—continually pacing back and forth and spinning in circles inside their cages.
Bashed in the Head and Left Bleeding
To kill them, workers bashed the badgers in the head with whatever object was handy. One was hit in the head with a chair leg. Because he was too frightened to leave his cage, workers hit him again, causing him to fall onto the wet floor, after which they cut his throat and left him to bleed out in excruciating pain, just like all the other badgers who were killed before him.
One badger was still moving for a full minute after his throat was cut.
Other badgers who are killed to make brushes are hunted illegally, using snares and other cruel methods—even though they are a protected species.
When PETA's eyewitness asked how farms obtain badgers, company representatives blatantly advised the eyewitness to lie to potential buyers, saying, "Sometimes foreigners ask if the hair was from captive or wild animals—they have animal protection organizations there, don't they? You can just tell them that most are from captive badgers, but actually most come from the wild."
Is There Cruelty in Your Makeup or Shaving Kit?
If you buy animal-hair brushes, there's no way to know who was killed for them. Many of these brushes are manufactured in developing countries where there are few penalties for abusing animals—or none at all, such as in China.
PETA eyewitnesses also found that brush factories don't hesitate to abuse humans, either, just to turn a profit. One eyewitness was told that factories employ workers who are paid as little as U.S.$4 for an eight-hour workday—far below even the local minimum wage, which is U.S.$2.47 per hour, or U.S.$19.76 per day.
You Can Help Stop This!
There’s no reason to use animal-hair brushes—whether for makeup, men’s grooming, or art supplies—especially when there are so many high-quality, animal-free alternatives available. For the sake of badgers suffering on fur farms, please buy only synthetic brushes.
Please also urge stores and companies who are still profiting from this abuse to drop badger-hair brushes immediately in favor of cruelty-free vegan options.