Vancity: Fur stores attacked

via Montreal Gazette. May 24:

Animal rights activists attack Vancouver fur stores

A campaign against the fur industry has been brought to the front lawns of Vancouver shop owners.

Vancouver Police and the RCMP are searching for the vandals who coated red paint on four fur stores: three in Vancouver and one in North Vancouver.

An animal rights extremist group called the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), claimed responsibility for the acts in a press release that said the red paint was “to remind the public of the innocent blood spilled every day in the vicious fur trade.”

“This action is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of mink suffering and dying on the many, filthy, polluted fur farms in the Lower Mainland.”

For Eugene Klein, that action was carried out on his home.

“This is not a political statement,” Klein said of the vandals, who had buckets of paint dumped on his store and his vehicles. “You come … at four O’clock in the morning when people are sleeping. They’re cowards.”

Snowflake, Pappas Furs and Speiser Furs were also targets of similar vandalism in the early hours of Tuesday, May 22.

VPD and the RCMP have been working together on video surveillance from Capilano Furs. Cpl. Richard De Jong of the RCMP couldn’t confirm if there was a clear image of the suspects.

With the use of masks, it’s hard to charge any one person says Snowflake co-owner Megan Halprin.

“They’ve done all kinds of things that go well beyond free speech,” Halprin said, noting her own home which is separate from the store, has been a target in the past. She’s been forced her to install security cameras and keep her lights on at night, something Halprin admits affects her neighbours but is necessary for her own protection.

“All of these are certainly criminal activities but you need to be able to charge somebody,” Halprin said.

Jerry Vlasak, a spokesperson for ALF based out of Los Angeles, said he doesn’t know the Vancouver vandals, but that their actions are necessary.

“We know that fur shops have closed … after being damaged economically,” Vlasak said, “That’s why we’re turning to those particular means.”

Alan Herscovici, executive vice-president of the Fur Council of Canada, said fur is sometimes seen as a soft target, especially to groups like ALF whose beliefs oppose any use of animals to wear, eat or use at all.

“What a farce to say this is done in the name of compassion when you attack the livelihoods of people you don’t even know,” said Herscovici. “This isn’t enlightened thinking, it’s bullying … Just because we’re talking about fur somehow it’s fair game? That’s ridiculous.”

As for the retailers, they’re not going anywhere.

“You think somebody is just going to fold up and get out of the business?” Klein asked. “This will do just the opposite.”

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