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 with Rob Miskosky

Defender Pretenders

They call themselves “The Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals (APFA)”, or “Fur-bearer Defenders” for short. Their goal is “To help speed the end of all forms of trapping used by the commercial fur industry.”

However, they weren’t always part of the anti-everything crowd. Established way back in 1944, their goal then was “to promote humanely-obtained furs and to develop a humane trap.” After all, that old steel-toothed trap that Grandpa had hanging up in the shed was probably not the most humane way to catch an animal, but there were few choices for trappers back then.  

Enter Frank Conibear, a Canadian trapper and inventor who also wanted a better and more humane way to trap. Today, it would seem strange that Frank Conibear and the APFA would have been bedfellows, but that was indeed the case, as the APFA provided financial assistance to ol’ Frank to develop his new trap. And develop he did.

In 1961, Frank Conibear was presented the first Certificate of Merit by the American Humane Association for his invention and in 1981, he shared $24,000 for his “ideas submitted to the Humane Trapping Committee, an award made by the B.C. Government for outstanding creativity in the development of a more humane animal trap.”

Everybody was happy, including the APFA.

But things change, they just don’t always change for the better.

According to The Association for the Protection of Fur-bearing Animals, elk in Alberta are only beginning to recover since reintroduction.
Money is the root cause for most of these anti-trapping or anti-hunting groups and they’ll stop at nothing to pick the pockets of urbanites who are shown the cute and cuddly. Which begs the question, why don’t any of these groups ever want to save anything ugly, like the endangered dromedary jumping-slug? It’s true, look it up. Perhaps there is no money in jumping slugs?

But I digress.

In 1999, the APFA, who had been operating as a charitable organization, had their status revoked by Revenue Canada. It appears there are a few rules that need to be followed if you’re going to pick those pockets and the APFA weren’t playing by the rules.

Today, they operate as a non-profit organization that claims they are “an above-ground organization that works within the law to educate the public about fur and fur trim.” But then they go on to admit that “... anyone who describes fur farm raids as being a “terrorist act” or “terrorism” is overstating the activity, as no physical harm or risk to any human occurs.”


I’ve had a couple of debates with the APFA on twitter, although I’ll admit neither lasted too long. Following is the dialogue from our last debate:
APFA: Trappers in #NewBrunswick want in on #rabies control programs; but aerial baits remain the best option.
AO: Trappers have been controlling disease for many years at no cost to the public. Aerial baits? How much are you guys putting in?
APFA: @ABOutdoorsmen your traps magically know which animals are ill and vaccinate the rest? Give it up.
AO: @FurBearers Overpopulation is the main cause of nearly all wildlife diseases including rabies. Remove the excess and with it goes disease. It’s called wildlife management. Really a simple process for keeping healthy populations of animals.

Funny, I was blocked by the APFA after that exchange, although I’m not sure why. I was hoping for more.

But the APFA doesn’t just harp on trappers and trapping. Hunters are in their sights too, joining in on the belittling and mocking of both Melissa Bachman and Kendall Jones for their legal hunting activities.

They also jumped in on Ontario when the spring bear hunt there was re-opened, claiming, “The reason the hunt was ended was simple: bear cubs were being orphaned by the hundreds.”

Now, we all know why the spring bear hunt was ended in that province and it certainly wasn’t because of “hundreds of bear cubs being orphaned.” But what the hell, it sounds good and bear cubs are cute and cuddly.

Recently, the APFA wrote, “The constant is easy to find – policymakers dictating science, rather than science counselling policymakers. For example, wolves in British Columbia are being hunted to protect mountain caribou who are under threat from habitat loss. In one area of Saskatchewan, elk herds are too plentiful; in Alberta, they’re only beginning to recover after reintroduction.” Huh? Elk in Alberta only beginning to recover after reintroduction? Am I missing something here?

The APFA also goes after ranchers, hunters and trappers where wolves are concerned, “...along with their reintroduction has come ongoing fear, paranoia from ranchers and the happy trigger fingers of hunters and trappers. Add that to the ongoing persecution of wolves in Canada and the species is by no means free of their one-time endangered status.”

Didn’t the last group in Alberta trying to save the wolves close their doors because saving a population of wolves nearing 7500 wasn’t bringing in the dough? Does anybody even remember Jim Pissot and Defenders of Wildlife?

The APFA also has a “celebrity” list... with Georges Laraque at the top.

Need I say more?

For previous Outdoor Pursuits click here.

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