Press release: The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) Canada will distribute fur coats to Montreal’s homeless following the November 2019 controversy

Press release: The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) Canada will distribute fur coats to Montreal’s homeless following the November 2019 controversy

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For immediate release

The Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) Canada will distribute fur coats to Montreal’s homeless following the November 2019 controversy


Montreal, 27 November 2020 — One year ago today, the Society for the Protection of Animals (SPA) Canada announced that it would be providing homeless people with fur coats collected during the National Fur Coat Donation Month. We did not expect our announcement to cause so much controversy.

What happened in 2019

SPA Canada’s basic idea was to distribute fur coats to homeless people. Following this announcement, the organization received messages from people who were against the idea because they thought the recipients would either re-sell the coats in order to buy alcohol/drugs or have the coats stolen from them while on the streets. In response to these concerns, SPA Canada decided to ensure that these scenarios would not happen, by painting anti-fur messages on the back of the coats – thereby making them unsellable.

Following this announcement came a second wave of indignation involving thousands of people via social and mainstream media. This time, those protesting claimed that homeless people were being forced to promote the messages painted on their fur coats and to become advertising billboards, and that if they refused then they would be left vulnerable to cold. The idea put forward was that they were forcing them to display messages because they had no choice but to accept the coats. This was a misunderstanding: these coats were not being forced on anybody, and if they didn’t want fur coats then synthetic coats were also being offered.

Realizing that this new decision had offended even more people than the initial one, SPA Canada carried out a public survey to see what people suggested they do with the coats. Two ideas were equally popular: to donate the coats to animal shelters in order to comfort orphaned animals, and to donate the coats to homeless people but without the anti-fur messages painted on the back. In third place came the idea to use the coats as supports in anti-fur campaigns.

What happened to the coats in 2019?

Following the survey, SPA Canada contacted several animal shelters to donate the coats but none of the shelters were interested, with some saying that the coats would be ripped by the animals and that they wouldn’t have much use for them. SPA Canada therefore decided to use some of the coats to campaign during the upcoming National Anti-Fur Day (February 14, 2020), and to donate the rest to homeless people in November 2020.

2020 Event

This year, SPA Canada’s idea is to donate the coats to homeless people as initially planned. Fur is becoming less and less popular every year – it is now easy to find fur clothes in second hand stores. Fur recycling companies are also overwhelmed by used fur and are not accepting donations. Fur is associated with cruelty, and thanks to social media and the work of animal rights activists over many years, the message that fur is cruel is now well established. Instead of enriching individuals who shamelessly abuse helpless animals, most people prefer to wear cruelty-free clothing. The coats will be donated on Monday November 30th in Montreal city center.

Campaign objective

The national month to donate fur coats is an initiative created by SPA Canada. Its objective is to educate the public about the horrific abuse suffered by the animals used in the fur industry. In addition to collecting fur coats, throughout the month of May SPA Canada will organize activities to educate the public about the cruelty involved in this industry. The idea is to encourage people to donate their fur coat and to buy one that is cruelty-free, meaning one that is not made using fur or other animal body parts, such as leather. “We are encouraging people to donate their fur coats to SPA Canada, to boycott this cruel industry while helping homeless people when they need it most” said Dominique Routhier, animal biologist and interim director at SPA Canada.

Fur belongs to animals

In Canada, farms breeding animals for fur kill more than 1.7 million minks per year, according to the Fur Institute of Canada. “Imagine how many additional animals suffer if you take into account the twenty or so other animal species such as beaver, lynx, marten and raccoon that are killed for their fur” explains Ms Routhier. SPA Canada states that breeding, torturing and killing animals to use their fur for clothing is disgraceful. Whether in the case of full coats or trimmings (pompoms, mittens, key rings, coat collars, boots, etc.), fur should not be found on any of these, only on the backs of animals. Furthermore, synthetic materials are easily found, more ecological and, most importantly, they are cruelty-free. 

Get involved!

Over 400 years after the fur treaty of Canada, this must now end! SPA Canada is inviting the public to take a stand by donating their fur coats, any month of the year.


For more information on the collection of fur coats, please contact SPA Canada: call 514-808-7330 or email

About SPA Canada:

SPA Canada is the largest national non-profit organization dedicated to the mission to promote the defense of animal rights through education and awareness.

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Animals don’t have a voice – they need you to speak for them! To become a volunteer,  a member or to make a donation, call us at 514-808-7330.

SPA Canada SPA Canada will be pleased to provide media interviews.

For more information, please dial

1-877-630-NEWS (6397) or