Archived image of a Canada lynx in a leg-hold trap.

Archived image of a Canada lynx in a leg-hold trap.

Federal

In Canada there is no federal legislation governing the raising of animals on fur farms or the trapping of wild animals for fur. Though the Criminal Code of Canada technically covers fur-bearing animals, it is not preventative (in that it does not create minimum standards for the housing, care and handling of animals) and is only applicable once the cruelty or neglect has occurred. Additionally, the animal cruelty provisions of the Criminal Code have remained largely unchanged since 1892 and are fail to provide adequate protection for animals, which is why every province in Canada has adopted provincial animal welfare legislation. Unlike many other countries, Canada does not require mandatory labelling of fur. Thus, real fur does not have to be labelled as such, neither does the species of animal used have to be identified. Canada also lacks regulations limiting the importation and sale of dog and cat fur.

National Codes of Practice: The NFACC codes of practice are a set of voluntary guidelines relating to the housing, care and handling of animals. The most recent codes for fur farmed animals are the Mink and Fox Codes which were published in 2013. The only province that has adopted the Codes of practice into its provincial legislation, giving them force of law, is Newfoundland and Labrador. In all other provinces, the codes are not being enforced. Click here to see the mink and fox Codes of Practice

Provincial Legislation

Legislation governing fur-bearing animals differs in every province. The majority of provinces require a permit in order to operate a fur farm, but don’t require any specific standards to be met in order to obtain this permit. All provinces require a permit to trap fur-bearing animals, but regulations governing how often traps must be checked vary greatly from one province to another.

In all provinces, except for Quebec, all animals in captivity – including fur-bearing animals – are covered by the province’s main animal protection law,. However, in each province, this legislation contains an exemption for common agricultural practices. This means that even if practices used on fur farms cause suffering or distress to animals (and would therefore normally be prohibited), provided a certain proportion of the fur industry uses that practice, it will be considered legal.

For more detailed information on the provincial legislation that applies to fur bearing animals.

Municipal by-laws

While most municipalities do not have by-laws relating to fur-bearing animals, some municipalities have come to realize that they can enact legislation that protects fur-bearing animals from being trapped or farmed. The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals has been successful in working with several municipalities in British Columbia to ban traps.