Early Days

The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals began in the 1930s as The Canadian Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. It was founded by Charles D. Niven, a Scottish physicist living in Ottawa. He recruited members of humane societies from across Canada, including Clara Van Steenwyk of British Columbia. At that time, the goal of the group was to promote humanely-obtained furs and to develop a humane trap to replace the common leg-hold trap.

In post-war Canada, Niven and his group desired a clearer mandate for themselves and, in Ontario, became the Canadian Association for Humane Trapping 1953. The B.C. core chose to retain the original name and under the leadership of politician Edward Ernest Winch (photographed above), became The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals (The Fur-Bearers) in 1944. The Association was was incorporated as a Society under the “Societies Act” on February 7th, 1953. Van Steenwyk was a founding member and remained one until her death.

The Fur-Bearers provided financial assistance to Frank Conibear when he developed his body gripping trap as early signs showed it to be an effective quick kill trap. The patent was later sold to an American corporation.

In the 1970s, when evidence of non-target animals being caught in the Conibear traps was shown to The Fur-Bearers leadership, they withdrew their support. At this time, long-time Directors/President(s) George and Bunty Clements joined the Society and began to steer the organization away from “humane trapping”, and began to oppose the commercial fur industry as a whole. The Clements believed (and actively promoted) that there is no such thing as a “humane” trap. They believed that the trapping and the killing of wildlife for the fashion fur trade was inherently cruel and should be stopped entirely.

In 1999, due to our advocacy work, our charitable status was annulled by Revenue Canada (now Canada Revenue Agency, CRA).

Today, we are commonly known as “The Fur-Bearers” and have updated our constitution to protect the environment by preserving urban and rural ecosystems and the wildlife therein; and to advance public education as it relates to fur-bearing animals.

logo furbearer

1970’s-2010, logo


2010 – Present, logo

Our Films:

1975 – “Canada’s Shame”, narrated by Beachcombers TV personality, Bruno Gerussi.

1980 – The Shame and The Shame, narrated by Beachcombers TV personality, Bruno Gerussi.

1982 – Cry from the Wild, narrated by famous Canadian, Dr. David Suzuki.

1986 – “Time to Care”, narrated by Loretta Swit, actress from the TV show, M*A*S*H.

1990 – “America’s Shame”, narrated by Academy Award winner, Kim Basinger.

1995 – “Shameful Scheme”, voice over by Dana Still.

2001 – “Crying Shame”, voice over by Ross Huguet.

2003 – Beaver and Muskrat anti-trapping video is released.

2006 – “Silent Screams, Dogs and Cats of the Fur Trade”.

551166 10150841521246269 1962751673 nPhoto: Long-time volunteers, Bunty and George Clements.

Learn more in our eBook, The Defenders: The history of The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals.

Help Make A Difference

Join The Fur-Bearers today and help us provide alternatives to fur and non-lethal solutions to wildlife conflict. We receive no government funding and rely entirely on donations from supporters like you. To become a monthly donor (for as little as $10/month – the cost of two lattes) please click here and help us save lives today.

About Us

The Fur-Bearers is a national non-profit based in Vancouver. It was formed in 1953 and advocates on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement, and promotes co-existence with wildlife. More about our history and campaigns can be found at thefurbearers.com.

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