inherently cruel and barbaric fur industry sells needless luxury garments at the
expense of the lives of millions of innocent animals. It profits from the misery
and suffering of fur-bearing animals who are killed by gassing, trapping, neck-breaking
and anal electrocution.
Those who care about animals refuse to sit idly
by and allow this injustice to continue. Activists challenge the killing of animals
for their fur around the world on a daily basis. Underground activists liberate
mink, fox and other animals from cramped cages on fur farms, and engage in acts
of economic sabotage. Above ground activists educate the public through leafleting,
tabling, protests and acts of civil disobedience.
This winter activist commitment
to ending the fur trade escalated, resulting in frequent arrests, continuous picketing,
protests at fur farms and much more. The following is a brief overview of some
recent highlights of these efforts.
South Jordan, UT - Activists Protest
Slaughter of Mink
In recent months protesters have begun to picket directly
outside of the farms where animals are imprisoned. On November 13th anti-fur activists
conducted a protest at Beckstead Mink Ranch (11196 South 1700 West in South Jordan).
UT - Anti-Fur Protesters Conduct Vigil Outside Home of Furrier
to alleged violence and brutality at the hands of L'Ours Blanc Furs, local anti-fur
activists gathered for a candle-light vigil and effigy burning outside the home
of L'Ours Blanc owner, Mahjouba "Mary" Jepson. Peaceful protesters have
campaigned against the sale of fur at L'Ours Blanc since March of 1999. 14 activists
were cited for illegal burning and one arrested for criminal Trespass. Media coverage
of the event was very positive.
Villa, Illinois - Animal Defense League Targets Mink Farm
Members of the
Animal Defense League demonstrated at the Gengel Mink Farm in Lake Villa, Illinois
in November to announce the $25,000 fur crime reward set up by CAFT and LCA. Ron
Gengel is a third-generation mink farmer who previously served as President of
the Mink Research Foundation and on the Executive Committee of the National Board
of Fur Farm Organizations. During the demonstration, an activist was assaulted
and charges were filed.
Dallas, TX - Lockdown at Neiman's
approximately 25 Animal Liberation of Texas activists carried signs, chanted and
handed out literature, two activists handcuffed themselves to the front doors
of the Neiman Marcus store in Dallas. Police arrested the two CD participants.
Three TV stations as well as The Associated Press covered the action.
DC - Compassion Over Killing Targets Neiman Marcus
COK's campaign to make
Neiman Marcus (NM) fur-free has expanded greatly since the last issue of NC. In
addition to regular demonstrations outside the D.C. NM, activists have engaged
in acts of non-violent civil disobedience, including several sit-ins and lockdowns,
as well as in-store protests to educate shoppers. Also, activists have educated
local residents by placing door-hangers, which expose Neiman's role in the bloody
fur trade, on nearly every door in the neighborhoods surrounding the store.
Some actions of interest include:
- On October 23, 1999, while 29 COK
activists picketed outside the D.C. Neiman Marcus, two activists entered the store's
fur department and handcuffed themselves around a pillar, sat down and chanted
for 40 minutes before being arrested.
- On November 4, two activists entered
the D.C. Neiman Marcus and, using steel pipe lock-boxes plastered with anti-fur
stickers, locked them-selves around a pillar and chanted for 45 minutes before
- On Fur-Free Friday while more than 80 COK activists picketed
outside of the D.C. Neiman Marcus, eight activists engaged in a sit-in in front
of NM's doors.
- The next day, November 27, COK declared Fur-Free Saturday.
Three activists entered the D.C. Neiman's and, using steel pipe lock-boxes, locked
themselves around a pillar. After two hours and fifteen minutes of chanting, police
were finally able to remove the activists.
- Fur Free Friday
Overall, anti-fur protests generated more media coverage
on Fur Free Friday 1999 than in the two or three preceding years. This was remarkable
because many groups held off on doing civil disobedience actions till later dates.
Protester turnout was also high with many cities reporting hundred person strong
Nevertheless, activists in Salt Lake City, Washington DC, Los Angeles
and several other cities carried out dramatic direct actions resulting in dozens
of arrests. CNN ran footage of the New York City protest at Macy's. While this
embarrassed Macy's, CNN completely missed the boat as members of the Animal Defense
League- NYC locked themselves together in the fur market, effectively blockading
the entrance to one of the fur buildings.
Stores in other parts of the
country brought in massive numbers of police, only to find that protesters had
scheduled CD actions for different days. The high police turnout, barricades and
police-lines created just one more deterrent to keep shoppers away from stores
that sell fur.
Boston, MA - Activists Arrested After Occupying Macy's
Eleven activist walked into the downtown Boston Macy's November
5th, sat down in the fur salon and refused to leave. The protesters were able
to maintain a presence in the salon for about an hour, chanting and holding signs,
before police moved in to arrest and remove them. While these activists educated
shoppers inside the store, 40 more protesters picketed outside.
TX - One Arrested After Cuffing to Neiman's Doors
During a 20-person protest
at the Houston Neiman Marcus on December 5th, one chose to escalate the protest
by handcuffing himself to the front door of the store. Three TV stations and the
Houston Chronicle covered the action.
Minneapolis, MN - SOAR Confronts
Shoppers with the Real Face of Fur
On December 11th, SOAR activists gathered
in front of Neiman's in downtown Minneapolis. Three skinned beavers (who had been
trapped in the wild for their fur) dangled from leghold traps attached to an 8-foot
tall structure, directly exposing the public to the cruel truth behind the fur
Activists collected signatures on a petition asking Neiman's to
stop selling fur, handed out several hundred flyers (thousands at this point in
the campaign), and used a megaphone to speak about the horrible lives fur-bearing
animals endure on farms before being butchered.
With about 25 people standing
out front with banners and posters, as well as the 3 pitiful dead beings, Neiman's
was certainly feeling the pressure.
On the following day, activist turn-out
was lower, but once again the dead beavers were put on display to the public.
After about an hour approximately 15 public servants (cops) arrived and said that
the protest was over and that everyone had to leave. The protesters refused, citing
their First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and assembly, at which point
they were viciously attacked and arrested on charges of obstruc-ting a pathway,
disorderly conduct, and one person was charged with use of annoying amplified
equipment for using a megaphone.
Police reports revealed that Neiman's called
the police and demanded that they find an excuse to arrest the protesters. They
were definitely feeling the pressure! SOAR members have now vowed to spend every
day out in front of their store, encouraging people to boycott Neiman's. Another
skinned carcass demo is on the way.
VA - Two Activists Arrested at Henri Kessler Furs
Two anti-fur protesters
were arrested December 17th during a protest at Henri Kessler Furs. The activists
were charged with obstructing a business, a class one misdemeanor.
York, NY - 35 ADL Members Arrested at Macy's Fur Salon
35 activists from
ADL-NYC held a successful sit-in at Macy's December 19th, calling attention to
their involvement in the barbaric fur trade. The group chose a high traffic spot
that was easy for the media to reach and would cause the most disruption. Throughout
the sit-in, only chants that mentioned Macy's and animals were used.
the time of the action drew near, the bottom floor of Macy's was packed with activists
from all over the Northeast, pretending they were customers and didn't know each
other. At 12:19, to Macy's surprise they converged on the red carpet and began
to chant. Customers stopped shopping and stared, listening to the strong anti-fur
Macy's brought out the walkie-talkies and the security guards.
Their security was clearly nervous - they had become familiar with ADL actions,
from lockdowns outside with barrels or lockboxes to smaller actions inside, but
they had never seen an action of this magnitude right inside the store. The extra
security guards surrounding the crowd only made them more of a spectacle as customers
began to gather around.
It took police over 40 minutes to remove all the
activists. Some stood up and left before they were arrested, others walked with
the police after being arrested. The majority of protestors were dragged out by
the NYPD and met with applause and chanting by a huge support demo.
ADL would like to thank In Defense of Animals and Len Egert for providing lawyer
services throughout the hearings. The case was ended on February 8th, when all
but two activists accepted an ACD. The other two, because of prior arrests, pled
to disorderly conduct and were sentenced to 1 day of community service.
Francisco, CA - CAFT SF Sponsors Mass Sit-in & Lockdown
protesters were arrested for a sit-in at Neiman Marcus in San Francisco and one
month later CAFT San Francisco launched the new millennium with a lock-down at
the store's doors. These actions are just the first in a series of campaign escalations
at the San Francisco store.
December 18th and 19th brought activists from
all over the country, including Georgia, Texas and Washington, to San Francisco
in an action that has been called the largest anti-fur civil disobedience in U.S.
On the 18th dozens of activists sat down and linked arms outside
the store. At the same time, several protesters disrupted business inside, causing
Neiman's to temporarily close. 51 people were arrested by brutal police.
next day another group of activists sat down and linked arms around a four-person
octopus lockdown. By the end of the day, the weekend's arrest total reached 75,
with all activists released on their own recognizance.
This action proved
to be an effective regional effort, providing many activists an opportunity for
their first act of civil disobedience, and empowering activists to challenge the
On the afternoon of January 16, three CAFT-SF activists, using
lockboxes, locked around the center door frame at Neiman Marcus. The protest lasted
for 1 1/2 hours, until firefighters succeeded in hammering out the rebar. The
day ended with 11 arrests, after police conducted a "sweep" of the area,
charging bystanders with lynching, robbery, conspiracy and assault on an officer.
All charges have since been dropped.
CAFT San Francisco launched a full-scale
campaign against Neiman Marcus in September after the department store refused
written requests for a meeting with CAFT to discuss the store's continuing sale
of fur products. Weekly demos have been held outside of the store ever since.
IL - Chicago ADL Members Lockdown for the Animals
On December 19th, 20
members of the Animal Defense League were arrested at Neiman's in downtown Chicago.
The protest was part of ADL's participation in Fur Free Christmas 1999. What began
as a nonviolent act of civil disobedience - seven activists locked down in front
of the store using boxes and bicycle locks - quickly escalated into near chaos
when police arrived on the scene.
Officers from the 18th Precinct showed
complete disregard for the safety of the locked-down activists. They proceeded
to arrest any activist on the scene who had a video camera or still camera, asked
for a badge number or acted as a police liaison.
Incidents of brutality
included an officer stuffing a bandana into the mouth of a locked-down activist
and police dislocating the thumbs of activists while pulling them out of lockboxes.
An officer shoved the mother of an activist to the ground when she asked him to
stop assaulting her daughter, who was videotaping.
Media coverage included
The Chicago Sun-Times, ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX. Activists are planning to file a
civil suit against the officers and continue to demonstrate at the store every
Sheboygan, WI - International Mink Show Protest Yields
Activists from across the Midwest descended upon the 53rd International
Mink Show this past January at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel in Milwaukee. On
Friday, January 14, only minutes before the first demonstration was slated to
begin, police pulled over a van with activists from Chicago in a parking lot adjacent
to the hotel.
Local police, along with ATF agents who were at the hotel,
detained and then illegally searched the vehicle for over an hour. One activist
was arrested for a warrant in a different state but was released later that evening.
brought out over fifty activists for an all-day demonstration. Five raccoon carcasses
hanging from a wooden rack showed the public the real body of the fur industry.
Activists challenged Fur Commission USA Executive Director Teresa Platt to a debate,
but she failed to materialize. Police threatened to arrest protestors for using
a megaphone - despite the fact that activists had the municipal sound ordinances
on site - and ordered the carcasses confiscated.
On Sunday, after a bit
of street theater, activists traveled to Plymouth to the site of the United Feed
Supply fire set by the A.L.F. They had challenged Teresa Platt to a debate about
the use of the word "violence" in relation to property damage and the
real violence of the fur industry - the torture and murder of animals for their
coats. Again, Platt did not appear.
From that point, activists went to the
Meyer fur farm, another target of a previous A.L.F. action. Meyer was on site
when the entourage arrived and informed them that he was no longer keeping mink.
He directed sexist and heterosexist comments towards the group. Protesters left
the area after Meyer repeatedly threatened their lives. On the way out of Plymouth,
two vans were pulled over by police and all 14 activists in the vehicles were
Activists were charged with "Disorderly Conduct While Masked"
and bond was set at $200 each. They were finally released on Wednesday evening
after four days of not eating. In the midst of trial for eight of the defendants,
charges were dismissed.
Despite the arrests, police harassment, and the
continued lies spread by the fur industry, the weekend was very successful. Media
coverage on both television and in print was very favorable and consistent. Local
activists from new and growing Wisconsin groups had the opportunity to play host
to a regional event and a new Midwest anti-fur coalition was informally born.
Best of all, the fur industry felt yet another strike against them from anti-fur
New Jersey - ADL Embarks on Fur Free New Jersey Tour
Friendly" or so it says on the specialty license plates mixed in with the
traffic cruising down Route 18 in East Brunswick, New Jersey. The abundance of
honks in support of a line of protesters in front of the store seems to support
the claim that this is the Animal Friendly State. One of the first states to ban
the leghold trap, lowest percentage of hunters the facts back up the Garden State.
But one figure stands out.
Following only New York and Illinois this state
has more fur stores than all others. When the New Jersey chapter of ADL formed
in September of 1997, one of its first targets was Oscar Lowey Furs of Metuchen.
By February of '98 the store was closed. One hit by the A.L.F. and a handful of
monthly protests by ADL created enough pressure to convince the owner to move
into a new line of business.
With the closing of Oscar Lowey Furs, there
were 54 independent fur retailers spread across the state. In the months that
followed, more stores began closing, some with the help of protests, some due
to generally poor business. After two years, a total of 13 had closed across the
The ADL-NJ, realizing the importance of reaching the people in each
of the communities these murderous stores reside in, began a new campaign. In
January of 2000, the Fur Free New Jersey Tour began.
A different store is
protested every other Saturday. From big to small, east to west, and north to
south, every fur retailer will come to realize their support of the murderous
fur trade will not go unnoticed. The trend has continued. Since the dates for
the tour were set in November, two stores have been removed as they have gone
out of business. Another is currently talking to ADL representatives about a contract
in which they will avoid protest by agreeing to stop selling fur, remaining open
with only service work such as cleaning and storage.
Once the tour has reached
its completion, we may begin again. Of course the next time around it will most
likely be a shorter tour as more stores will have ceased to exist. In one form
or another, we will continue to pressure every fur retailer across the Garden
State until none remain.
After all, we have a reputation to live up to.