The Fund for Animals issued a press release in February about its ongoing campaign against Neiman Marcus. On February 22 it was to hold a protest at a San Francisco Neiman Marcus. The Fund’s Pierre Grzybowski said in the press release,
We are holding this vigil to draw attention to the millions of animals who suffer each year for the unnecessary fur trade. There are plenty of warm and elegant alternatives that don’t involve animal cruelty. Causing animals to suffer will never be back in fashion.
But it was this paragraph at the end of the release that caught my attention,
Last fall, a Decision Research poll of high-income shoppers, conducted in four metropolitan areas where Neiman Marcus has stores, revealed that a majority of consumers consider selling fur to be socially irresponsible.
This poll was actually conducted by Decision Research in September 2001 rather than last Fall as The Fund claimed. But more importantly, there is very little on The Fund’s web site about exactly what this poll asked individuals.
The Fund reported at the time that the poll found 54 percent of the 400 high-income shoppers interviewed for the poll said that stores selling fur were socially irresponsible. It also claimed that consumers overwhelmingly favored shopping at stores that did not carry fur.
But the actual poll questions and breakdown of answers is not available anywhere at The Fund’s web site nor at Decision Research’s web site.
The suspicion that this was likely a push poll is reinforced by Decision Research’s blatant statement on its web site that it is not simply an objective polling organization, but considers itself to be actively trying to improve animal welfare. According to Decision Research,
Since the early 1990’s Decision Research has been an active participant in efforts to use the ballot box to further animal welfare. Working closely with the Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare organizations, Decision Research has conducted focus groups and surveys on issues ranging from limits on factory farming to bans on hunting mountain lions to eliminating inhumane methods of trapping and hunting, and banning cockfighting outright. Our research has been critical to the success of a dozen ballot measures by helping determine the ballot language, and best arguments to use during the campaign.
Fine, but don’t expect anyone to consider your polls about animal issue to be objective.
Fund for Animals holds massive candlelight vigil to protest sale of fur at “Neiman Carcass”. Press Release, The Fund for Animals, February 20, 2003.
Public Policy Clients — Animal Welfare. Decision Research web page, Accessed: March 14, 2003.
Poll Reveals Upscale Shoppers Strongly Prefer Fur-Free Department Stores. Press Release, The Fund for Animals, October 24, 2001.