Conservation, Science and Canada's Fur Farming Industry, 1913-1945

George Colpitts


Fur farming gained its greatest popularity during the 1920s, when nature conservation
became prominent at the national level in Canada. Promoters claimed that fur
farming, as a thoroughly modern answer to the apparent and inevitable exhaustion
of nature, would eventually replace the wild trapping industry altogether. By the
1940s, however, the fur farm was in decline. Farmers operating small-scale enterprises
faced problems with the management of their stock and much higher costs
than did trappers. Economic considerations aside, promoters never managed to
separate fur from the mystery of the wilderness. The new demand for ‘‘genuine’’
fur in the 1940s market might indicate that Canadian society believed that the north
and its wilderness were no longer imperiled.

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