You are here
On March 24th, 1975, the beaver became an official emblem of Canada, due in large part to the role that beaver pelts played in the development of the Hudson’s Bay Company as far back as the 1600’s. What the history books often fail to mention (and the part of the history lesson the fur industry would have us forget) is that prior to the trade in beaver pelts, there were approximately 6 million beavers. By the late-19th century, trapping had resulted in the beaver being close to extinction (with some 200,000 pelts exported each year). According to the Canadian Wildlife Service (Environment Canada):
“After the turn of this century, the trade in beaver declined, partly with the decline of the beaver hat as fashionable headwear, and partly because the beavers themselves were becoming scarce all over North America. Many large regions were completely without beaver during most of the first half of this century. The beaver conservation movement began in the late 1930s with the writings and lectures of Grey Owl. A native of England who posed as a Métis, Grey Owl created passionate stories of the plight of the Canadian forests and wildlife, and particularly the beaver. Governments responded by closing the trapping seasons on beaver for many years.”
Today, more than 135,000 beavers are killed specifically for their fur each year. While their pelts are used for garments, many people do not know that beaver pelts are commonly used for felting, especially for hats. At APFA, we think this is no way to treat our wildlife, let alone our national symbol!