Back in January I mentioned protests by animal rights activists against stores in Guerneville, California.
In response to the protests and threats of a general boycott by the activists against a Guerneville stores, supporters of the stores selling fur rented out a local gay bar and held a Furrr Ball event to satirize the protests and raise money for a good cause.
Initially the money was going to be given to local group Pets Are Loving Support — a volunteer group that helps care for the pets of about 100 AIDS patients in Sonoma County. But PALS turned down the donations. According to the Press Democrat,
The nonprofit has fielded complaints and name-calling from animal-rights fanatics outraged that it would accept money from people poking fun at the Guerneville fur protest. PAL’s board decided it cannot be pulled into politics.
The money was instead donated to the National Animal Interest Alliance (gee, the animal rights activists must be happy to see NAIA get the money rather than some local animal charity).
Anyway, I tracked down this story because I was curious what had happened. Had activists managed to force the stores to stop selling furs? According to a Press Democrat story from mid-February (emphasis added),
But Stefan Howard [one of the leaders of the anti-fur protests], a Guerneville man reached by phone Sunday, spoke on behalf of the critics of fur sales: “It’s sad that our town actually held an event celebrating a product of pure cruelty.”
Animal rights supporters have halted the protests and are seeking mediation, Howard said.
“We have really focused on trying to call for a resolution of this, and sort of heal the rift,” he said. “We’re willing to consider a compromise proposal.”
Willing to consider a compromise? It was just last December that Sonoma People for Animal Rights activist Alex Bury compared vintage clothing store owner Mikki Herman, who is Jewish, to the Nazis. According to the Press Democrat,
. . . Herman said the chance for dialogue ended when Bury compared Herman’s used fur coats to the Nazi lampshades made from the skin of Jews.
Herman is Jewish and lost relatives in the Holocaust.
“There is no conversation that can be had with someone who thinks bunny fur is the same as the skin of a Jew,” Herman said. “I come from a long line of people who act on their conscience, and I’ve got not choice but to continue what I’m doing.”
Bury said she didn’t know Herman was Jewish when she made the lampshade comment but would not back away from the description.
“Animals have the same nerve endings. They feel the same pain,” Bury said. “If Hitler made things out of skin . . . and sold lampshades, I wouldn’t want them in my business. That’s how I feel about fur. Total pain and suffering.”
But now, the activists want to reach a “compromise” with people they have compared to the Nazis? Besides, what happened to Bury’s claims that they would not stop the boycott or protests until all the fur was gone.
‘Furrr Ball’ draws 150. Katy Hillenmeyer, The Press Democrat, February 2005.
Fur protests threaten to split Guerneville. Carol Benfell, The Press Democrat, December 23, 2004.