Standing Up to Animal-Rights Bullies – Case Study #1


animal-rights bullies, Ingrid Newkirk, PETA
Ingrid Newkirk, queen of the animal-rights bullies.

Unfortunately, this could happen to anyone working with fur these days, especially retailers selling any sort of fur or fur-trimmed products.

A veteran North American retail furrier – who shall remain nameless here, to protect the innocent – has participated for the past ten years in a high-profile fund-raising fashion show, in support of a local charity. About a month before this year’s show, he spoke with the organizers who confirmed that they were looking forward to working with him again. Then the animal-rights bullies showed up.

Just two weeks before the event, he received a call from the fashion-show producer. She informed him that the Events Committee had decided they could not include his products in the show this year. “One of the sponsors is against fur,” she said, as if this explained everything. The committee had made their decision and nothing could be done, she told him bluntly.

And that might have been the end of the story, except this retailer is not the sort who likes to be told that “nothing can be done” … especially when it involves mindless kowtowing to anti-fur bigots. Sensing that the show producer was not open to discussion, he went above her head and contacted the charity’s Events Coordinator. What he did next should be an inspiration to all furriers – and, indeed, to everyone who believes in democracy.

Here is a summary:

  1. First, he introduced himself and explained that his company had supported this charity event since its inception, a decade ago.
  2. Then, he suggested that it wasn’t wise for a medical charity like theirs (they support palliative care) to give in to activist pressure tactics. Animal-rights bullies also oppose laboratory animal research, he reminded her. PETA-boss Ingrid Newkirk is on record saying that she opposes animal research even if it can find cures for AIDS or other terrible diseases. (He had the Event Coordinator’s attention now.)
  3. And what about the retailers who were showing wool and leather products? Would they also be banned from the show if that was the next activist demand? (Hmmm … maybe this wasn’t so simple after all?)
  4. Then he asked what they were serving for dinner for the fashion evening … (She was chuckling now.)
  5. It was time to drive home his main argument: “Listen,” he told her. “We’re not saying that everyone has to wear fur…or leather…or eat meat and dairy either. Each of us can have our own opinions and make our own decisions. Isn’t that what democracy is all about? But that doesn’t give us a right to impose our ideas on everyone else!”
  6. Finally, he promised to send her a link to a recent Truth About Fur blog post explaining how the modern trade is regulated and why fur is a responsible and ethical fashion choice.

She promised to speak with her superiors. And, sure enough, 24 hours later the retailer received a call from the charity’s CEO. It was Friday afternoon.

“Not the Way We Do Things”

“I wanted to call before the weekend so you wouldn’t have to worry; you’re back in the show,” she said. The activists were not “sponsors” of the event; they had bought a table, like many others. In any case, the Committee should never have made this sort of policy decision without consulting with her. “This is not the way we do things,” she said. The charity appreciated the support his company had offered for so many years; they were delighted that he was ready to participate again. Have a lovely weekend!

Two weeks later, the fashion-show evening was a wonderful success, with almost 500 people in attendance. “I was pleased to see that several of the charity’s board members placed bids for the fur scarf we contributed to the silent auction,” says the retailer.

“I was worried that the activists would make a fuss when my fur scene came on,” he says. “But there was nothing but applause. I found out later that the activists had cancelled their table when they learned that they couldn’t impose their will on the organizers. See how phony their support really was all along!”

The retailer sent a note to the CEO after the show, congratulating her on a wonderful evening – and thanking her for having the intelligence and integrity not to give in to the activists’ bullying tactics.

beautifully canadian, fur, fox, mink
Fur is not just beautiful. It’s also an ethical fashion choice.

With fur season revving up again, we hope that his little story will provide encouragement to any retailer who is harassed by activists. Truth About Fur will be preparing a “tool kit” of resources you can use to defend your business, including blog posts like the one cited above.

And if you have a story about tactics that have worked for pushing back against activist bullies, please share it with us!


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  • You have no idea how hypocritical you are. Who the hell are you lump all animal rights activists into one category when you’re bullies yourselves?! You think that all animals are bad and that all humans are good?! Well that’s a closed-minded way of thinking!

    Whether you like it or not, people have the right to defend animals. But if you vilify all of them for it, be prepared to have your asshanded to you.

    • Hi misanthrope. Perhaps you have not read the article you are commenting on. At no point do we state, or even imply, that “all” animal rights activists are bullies. That is a figment of your imagination. Likewise, your implication that we think “all animals are bad and that all humans are good” is something you just dreamed up. For the record, let us state unequivocally that bullies exist in all walks of life, including in the animal rights movement. This article is about them. If you feel an article is also warranted on bullies in the fur trade, why not write it?

  • Innocent as one is, nothing is more innocent is the lost soul of the animal that was killed, its fur on a coat. For you are guilty of this animal’s death, buying its shimmering fur. If one was killed by the prey, must one complaint to the Bureau? Nay, one should think, is it there nature, to defend ones young and self? Yes. It must be done, in order to survive. But does thee need a fur coat to keep warm? Must thee choose this, or could thee choose wool, cloth deprived from sheep, ALIVE sheep, mind you? Yes, one should do what is right. Must one need a shaded fur trim on ones coat? Nay, one doesn’t. The soul of the animal will haunt you forever if thee wears the coat of its physical body, wearing proudly, unaware of the spirit. Help the spirit, and don’t sear an animal from the face of this earth for a coat!

    • We’re not really qualified to correct your Olde English, but we do know that “thee” refers to a person as an object, while “thou” is the subject. Thus, “Must thee choose this” should be “Must thou choose this”, or even better, “Must thou chooseth this”.

  • “A veteran North American retail furrier – who shall remain nameless here, to protect the innocent…”
    The truly innocent are the animals being skinned for their fur.

    • Every animal that dies is surely “Innocent”, and this has been the case since the beginning of time. Since they have no legal systems, they therefore have no crime, and can therefore be neither innocent or guilty.So this sort of makes your use of the adjective “innocent” a completely meaningless and superfluous comment.

      Unless you are implying that some animals in comparison are actually guilty of something. If so, please let us know which ones are guilty, and what are they guilty of.? Perhaps it would be ok to eat those ones and use their skins.

  • Newkirk is a human hating psychopath. The day she dies the world will be a better place.

    “The surest way to work up a crusade in favor of a cause is to promise people they will have a chance of maltreating someone. To be able to destroy with false conscience, to be able to behave badly and call your bad behavior ‘righteous indignation’ — this is the height of psychological luxury, the most delicious of moral treats for the hypocrite.”

        • Well, that’s a cryptic comment 🙂 We suppose you mean that Newkirk is a bully and we are too. It’s true we’re in the same business, just on complete opposite sides of the fence. However, we like to think we fight cleaner than Newkirk.

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