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Protests Against Fur Sales in Department Stores in at Least Five Cities

December 16, 1985

Undated (AP) _ Activists protesting the sale of furs invaded department stores in at least five cities Sunday, leading to the arrest of more than 50 protesters, including several wearing Santa Claus outfits.

Demonstrators, some carrying signs with slogans such as, ″Enjoy Your Fur - Its Real Owner Was Killed For It,″ were arrested in fur departments in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles, and near the coat department of a store in Sacramento, Calif.

Those arrested in the San Francisco Nieman-Marcus on charges of trespassing included ″two Santa Clauses and six civilians,″ said police spokesman Jack Smoot. He said they were cited and released.

The demonstrations were coordinated by Tran-Species Unlimited, a Pennsylvania-based animal-rights group.

″We feel that responsible, non-violent civil disobedience action has been an essential part of every movement for social justice,″ Trans-Species president George Cave said in Washington.

Sandy Blye, vice president of the American Fur Industry, a trade association, said she had warned department stores around the country to be prepared for demonstrations.

Ms. Blye said the demonstrators were ″under the impression that if animals aren’t trapped, they live happily ever after, like Bambi or something.

″What they don’t realize is that if the animals aren’t trapped, they fall victim to starvation or disease and they don’t live happily ever after,″ she said.

The San Francisco demonstators handed out leaflets that said ″millions (of) mink, racoons, fox, beaver, otter, bobcat and muskrat ... are killed and mutilated simply because they were given the gift of beautiful fur.″

Ten members of Cave’s group were arrested Sunday in the Gimbels in downtown Philadelphia, police said. The protesters, who were to be charged with trespassing, had refused to leave the store, police said.

Ten adults and two teen-agers arrested near the coat department in the Sacramento Macy’s were given trespassing citations and released, said police Lt. Blake Koller.

Earlier, about 30 pickets, including one dressed in a Santa suit, marched peacefully at a Sacramento mall between Weinstock’s and I. Magnin stores. No trouble was reported.

They carried signs reading ″Every Fur Coat Hurts,″ ″Furs Are Floor- Length Death″ and ″Real People Wear Fake Fur.″

In Los Angeles, seven people, including one dressed as Santa Claus, were arrested and booked for investigation of trespassing after a demonstration in a Bullock’s department store, said police Sgt. William Davidson.

The demonstrators were ″sitting down in the fur department, handing out leaflets, chanting and generally making a disturbance,″ said Brenda Sappington of the group Mobilization for Animals.

In San Francisco, about 100 people demonstrated peacefully outside the store while others entered Nieman-Marcus.

Fifteen people were arrested at Macy’s in New York and charged with disorderly conduct when they refused to leave the store, said police Sgt. Ronald Severin. He said they would be issued summonses and released.

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