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Related Categories: North Bay / Marin | Animal Liberation
Fur protests threaten to split Guerneville
by Carol Benfell
Sunday Jan 2nd, 2005 3:10 PM
Demonstators, merchants refuse to budge in dispute over sales of fur coats
Thursday, December 23, 2004

There is nothing soft or cuddly about the fight over furs in Guerneville this holiday season, as animal rights activists square off against the newly opened Kings & Queens Vintage Clothing store.

What started as a protest against just one small store has grown into picketing of two stores, threats of boycotts against all Guerneville merchants and what some are calling an insensitive statement by activists comparing the used fur coats to Nazi lampshades made of human skin.

After three weeks of protests, store owner Mikki Herman is more determined than ever to resist what she calls terrorist tactics. She said she'll continue selling the dozen or so 30- to 70-year-old fur coats until the protesters give up and go away.

Alex Bury, who organized the protest of Sonoma People for Animal Rights, said the age of the furs doesn't change the cruelty that led to the animals' deaths. She has vowed to continue to protest until Herman removes the furs, no matter how long that takes.

The dispute escalated earlier this week when about 10 members of Sonoma People for Animal Rights, waving posters and pictures of wild animals suffering in traps, were met by about 20 counter-protesters shouting and carrying signs, such as "I like fur" and "I eat meat."
The potentially polarizing effect of long-term protests is becoming a concern for many, including the Russian River Chamber of Commerce and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a volunteer group that seeks to foster community spirit among Guerneville's diverse mix of residents.

It's all come as a shock to Herman, a 30-year Guerneville resident, who sees herself as left-of-center politically and who opened her first store, with its vintage evening dresses, suits and accessories, to encourage recycling.

She also takes issue with fur industry practices but said she is comfortable selling coats made of fur from animals that died so long ago.

"I don't approve of inhumane raising tactics or inhumane killing," said Herman, 50. "I also have issues with the fur industry, and I would never buy new fur. But by the time these items hit the used market I feel they are an inalterable fact. ... To bury that fur is pointless and a waste."
Bury, 34, a former owner of Sparks Restaurant and a long-time animal rights activist, said the store is sending a message that it's all right to wear fur.

"They say they're vintage furs, but nobody knows that when they see them," said Bury, a six-year Guerneville resident. "Kings & Queens is doing the marketing for the fur industry. If someone wears a fur coat on the street, they are saying furs are cool and it's OK to skin animals alive."
Bury circulated a petition signed by some 35 Guerneville residents, threatening a boycott of Herman's store and urging her to donate the furs to People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, which buries or cremates the furs or gives them to the homeless or people in Afghanistan.

"I'd offer to pay the shipping if she would send the furs to PETA," Bury said. "Or she could sell what she has now and not buy any more."
But 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 no 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."
Since Kings & Queens opened Dec. 4, protesters also have begun picketing a second Guerneville store, Memories that Linger, owned by 20-year Guerneville resident Jennifer Neeley.

Neeley, 33, has four rabbit-fur scarves and some garments trimmed with rabbit fur for sale. She said the protest has hurt her business but she won't remove the clothing.

"Nobody is going to tell me what to sell in my store," said Neeley, who carried a sign saying "Support Your Local Business" during the protest and counter-protest earlier this week.

Bury said her group will picket until the furs disappear at both stores.

"If the fur is still here, we will step up our protests for the summer season and we will be calling for a tourism boycott," Bury said. "We will be alerting San Francisco that you don't want to come to Guerneville this summer. It's not the progressive place you thought it was."
That is the wrong note as far as former county Supervisor Ernie Carpenter is concerned.

Carpenter, now acting executive director of the Russian River Chamber of Commerce, said he doesn't like furs either.

"But if the people who don't like furs don't want to address that straight up, and want to threaten the entire economic vitality of the region because of that, they lose my sympathy immediately," he said.

Even the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a multi-gendered volunteer organization, has been drawn into the issue.

The Sisters, who have contributed thousands of dollars to local nonprofits, schools and libraries, dress extravagantly to spoof gender stereotypes and call attention to issues, such as poverty, homelessness and disease.

Stefan Howard, a Guerneville resident working with Bury, had asked the sisterhood to join in picketing Kings & Queens, but the group declined, said the group's representative, who would identify himself only as Sister Sparkle Plenty.

Instead, Plenty and several other group members appeared at Sunday's protest as private individuals, carrying signs that said "Feed the Hungry" and "House the Homeless."
"My feeling is that there is so much divisiveness going on, and there are bigger issues," Plenty said. "The community is about coming together and not splitting apart."
On Monday, Bury e-mailed the Russian River Chamber of Commerce, offering to let the chamber mediate a compromise that would end the sale of fur.

The chamber doesn't see the mailing as a formal request but would be willing to mediate if asked, Carpenter said.

"I'd like to help keep a level playing field," Carpenter said. "No one I know condones fur, but there are always shades of gray. This situation really cries out for more understanding and more dialogue.

(also, see

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by J. A. G.
Sunday Jan 16th, 2005 9:49 PM
It seems that the "animal rights" cult's anti-fur tirade just won't go away. The sad thing is that it drives people to do and say the reprehensible, all in the name of a big lie. To compare fur to the skin of a human being made into a lampshade is beyond the pale, and anyone who makes such a comparison is either psychopathic or blatantly evil, but then PETA, the group referenced by these "AR" cultists, did compare Holocaust victims to chickens! There is nothing wrong with wearing fur. Fur coats are beautiful garments. Wearing fur is the personal choice of an individual who should not be harassed or pilloried by those who refuse to accept that everyone may not share their "AR" beliefs. This is really a non-issue considering all the really important matters that beg for our attention: homelessness, racism, genocide, natural disasters, war. I feel for the merchants and anyone who has the courage to protest these controlling anti-fur fascists. "Burying" or "cremating" fur garments as a type of surrogate funeral??!! What insanity!!! Regarding encouraging a tourist boycott of the town because two merchants are selling fur items, I'd say that I'd boycott the town if I would be harassed for wearing my fur coat in Guerneville!
by PETA: who are they
Sunday Jan 16th, 2005 10:30 PM
These people play fast and loose with the facts. They simply can not be trusted to tell the truth. There agenda comes first, truth second.

For example, see:


PETA have also fallen foul of the ASA with their claim that
thalidomide passed animal tests with 'flying colours' (1)


1) ASA Monthly Report no. 65 October 1996


by PETA: who are they?
Sunday Jan 16th, 2005 10:35 PM
> To compare fur to the skin of a human being made into a lampshade is beyond the pale, and anyone who makes such a comparison is either psychopathic or blatantly evil, but then PETA, the group referenced by these "AR" cultists, did compare Holocaust victims to chickens!

Comparing Holocaust victims to chickens is blatantly evil. They spit on millions of graves.

But for pure nd unadulterated psychopathology, little they do surpasses their anti-pet agenda:



MYTH 2.15 "Animal rights groups should be supported by
animal lovers."

In fact AR groups such as PETA have many extreme proposals that
pet-lovers in particular should be shocked by:

"Pet ownership is an abysmal situation brought about by human
manipulation" (Ingrid Newkirk, PETA founder Washingtonian Aug.

"In the end I think it would be lovely if we stopped this whole
notion of pets altogether" (Ingrid Newkirk Newsday, Feb. 21 1988)

"One day we would like an end to pet shops and breeding animals
[Dogs] would pursue their natural lives in the wild" (Ingrid
Newkirk, Chicago Daily Herald Mar 1, 1990)

"Eventually companion animals will be phased out...." (Ingrid
Newkirk, "Just Like Us? Toward a Notion of Animal Right"
(symposium), Harper's, August 1988)

"Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete
jungles- from our firesides, from the leather nooses and chains
by which we enslave it." (John Bryant, _Fettered Kingdoms: An
Examination of A Changing Ethic_ (Washington D C, PeTA, 1982).
p. 15)

"The cat, like the dog, must disappear..... We should cut the
domestic cat free from our dominance by neutering, neutering, and
more neutering, until our pathetic version of the cat ceases to
exist." (John Bryant, _Fettered Kingdoms: An Examination of a
Changing Ethic_ (Washington, D.C.: People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals, 1982), p.15)

From the above, it is clear that pet-lovers have a great deal to
fear from the AR movement.

People who describe themselves as supporters of 'animal rights'
are often shocked to discover the real agenda of the AR
organisations. This is because being an animal lover is not the
same as supporting animal rights. Most people who describe
themselves as animal lovers, including most scientists, are in
fact supporters of _animal welfare_ rather than
animal rights.

by and by
Monday Jan 17th, 2005 11:40 AM

in a discussion about the ethics and propriety of human use of animals, it is an opinion that we *should* use everything because we *can* and the sooner you can distinguish between fact and your opinion the better, although I'm not holding my breath

there's not much hope for your much triumphed Global Justice Movement if it is a "fact" that this is a dog eat dog world for humans, as it is for cats, and that's all it will ever be. why should humans ever strive for better treatment of eachother or anything else then? your fatalistic arguement wipes away all reasoning behind human self-improvement as a species

and you don't even begin to *get* the animal rights movement -- and you don't have to -- but if you are going to attack it, it would serve you well to have a better and more honest understanding of it's short and long-term goals, not just copy/paste some ill-formed attack from another source, a source that personally profits from the use of animals even, over and over without understanding what you are blindly replicating. you basically start from the postition that animals are ours to use however we want, anyone who disagrees with you is crazy, and then your logic grows more and more irrational from that point, throwing a few "ergos" in for style points to sound more weighty in your arguements. you sound like some moron afraid the UN or US jack-booted thugs are coming to take your gun. no one is coming to take your dog, dumbass, so drop the Charleton Heston macho bravado. that might make you feel tougher but no one is flinching. with pets, if I may clue you in a tad, it's more about reducing the numbers of unwanted dogs that are put to death every year in this country. but you're so busy trying to fight *every* last thing that animal rights activists are doing, because you favor animal research, that you miss the forest for the trees and can't even agree that maybe spaying dogs and cats is a good thing for their own sake. you're so inconsistent that you threaten violence over the imagined separation from your dog, which you claim to love, yet you hate any and everything to do with the AR movement so much that you can't be bothered to realize that many good things for dogs have come of it.

lastly it's so ironic when you yourself use tactics that you criticize others for -- namely, when you repeatedly attempt to bolster your case with language like "Almost all of us" think this or that, in which, to quote you directly from Saturday, you're making "argumentum ad populum here. Veracity is not determined by popularity". or to go one further, how about your oft-used "how *dare you"-type haughty language? I could easily say "how *dare* you this or that, but it'd be retarded, or as you also said Saturday, it would be "Style over substance". you are clearly the one not to be trusted. you'll say anything to further your arguements, no matter how dishonest or hypocritical or inconsistent.

by blech
Monday Jan 17th, 2005 2:27 PM
It’s not a matter of “should” or “can.” It’s a matter “do.” We, as a species, do make use of as much of the universe as we can. All species do this.

Except we don't. Desite Capitalism there still are no giant ad signs on the moon and Antarctica is kept free from large mining operations etc...

Even in terms of human culture a majority of the world finds it offensive to eat cows (if you add Jains, Budhists plus most Hindus). One shouldnt always be swayed by what a majority thinks but one should not go around saying that Nature demands things of us since anthropomorphising "Nature" is a definitely a religious/mystical idea that is not exactly rational.
by Samuel Johnson
Monday Jan 17th, 2005 5:54 PM
"What is alleged in defence of those hateful practices, every one knows; but the truth is, that by knives, fire, and poison, knowledge is not always sought and is very seldom attained. The experiments that have been tried, are tried again; he that burned an animal with irons yesterday, will be willing to amuse himself with burning another tomorrow. I know not, that by living dissections any discovery has been made by which a single malady is more easily cured. And if the knowledge of physiology has been somewhat increased, he surely buys knowledge dear, who learns the use of lacteals at the expense of his humanity. It is time that universal resentment should arise against these horrid operations, which tend to harden the heart, extinguish those sensations which give man confidence in man, and make the physician more dreadful than the gout or stone."

oh... wny not another:

"I prefer the company of animals more than the company of humans. Certainly, a wild animal is cruel. But to be merciless is the privilege of civilized humans."~~Sigmund Freud
by nice try mr. foie gras
Monday Jan 17th, 2005 9:39 PM
"What are you trying to say here, that the opinions of the dead should dictate the behavior of the living? Is that it? Be specific."

oh man you are priceless. that was a real knee slapper! lest I be accused of ad hominem attacks I'll resist adding a punch line (but thanks for the laugh).
by heard it before
Monday Jan 17th, 2005 11:11 PM
Yeah, yeah, but you didn't answer the question. Why is that? You *do* have an anwer don't you? Well, don't you?
by Nanibush
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2005 7:50 AM
All you guys might think this as Crazy but if you simply pray to the creator, and ask the animal if you can take it's meat and fur to feed you family the animal will walk up to you and gladly give it's life for you.
by dear nanibush
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2005 9:55 PM
What if I walk up to the animal and ask it if I can torture it and it's fellows for experiments? Never mind if the experiments are repetitive and redundant and have been repeated many, many times for years on end because somebody wasn't paying attention (I guess). What then?

What if I walk up to a bird, grab it by the neck and force food down it's throat so that it's liver is bursting with fat and luscious for my dining pleasure? I'm not starving mind you. I just don't want the armed might of the state telling me any damn thing, including what is humane and what isn't. I want to eat what I want to eat. Is that so wrong?

Oh, and by the way I'm totally opposed to spine cell research, because that's crossing a line. Embryos are sacred life dontcha know.
by heard it before
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2005 10:47 PM
You are entitled to your religious beliefs. You are not entitled to force them on the rest of us.
by "heard it before"
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2005 11:19 PM
Neither are you entitled to force your simplistic, repetitious arguments on the rest of us. You do not refute others statements very effectively. You simply ask others to refute the monotonous statements that you repeat ad nauseum on thread after thread.

The wonder of the internet. I imagine I could come back in five years and read the same tired stuff.
by and by
Tuesday Jan 18th, 2005 11:43 PM
you just don't like to hear viewpoints that disagree with yours

"why won't the world just agree with me 100% of the time? I am right about everything, every last thing, after all" -- that's how you come off, so haughty, arrogant, and overly self-assured, 24/7. typical white American male without a shred of humility.

how's this for the complete opposite of forcing? walk around outside: look at the billboards and neon signs for all of the restaurants serving meat, sometimes virtually exclusively meat, see all the leather everywhere, go buy a fur if you really want one. go back inside and look in your own refrigerator: organic meat, huh. flip on the TV: see all the burger ads, the milk ads. mmmmm. American culture validates every one of these lifestyle choices for you all day, every single day, but that's still not enough for you... you want total domination of reality and thought.

I'm guessing no one has ever actually held you down and *forced* you to eat a carrot, or held you prisoner and refused you your beloved elitist organic beef. I seriously doubt it. so, cool your jets, mr. paranoid, , mr. victim, on your whole misuse of the word "force". there are true victims in this world who have been *forced* to do horrible things, and you, sir, are not one of them, especially when you use misuse that serious word to merely describe opposing viewpoints in the debates you yourself choose to engage in of your own volition. it's a debate of ideas here, no one is forcing you do do anything, and the free and open speech of vegetarians obviously drives you crazy to no end

and, oh, yeah, go ahead and have the last word now because it's obvious you're too manic to ever leave it to someone else (look thru all the threads, and not just animal ones, you just can't stop yourself and let someone else have a closing thought). poor guy, what a sorry thing to hang your hat on, the last word. maybe that's your mission in life, to be remembered as the guy who had the last word in the most comment threads, although don't assume that means you've convinced anyone of squat. others just get tired of you and flee. that's why no one wants to play in your sandbox and you inevitably find yourself here again and again looking for playmates, but everyone just keeps leaving the room before you do...

by since you asked . . .
Wednesday Jan 19th, 2005 8:55 AM
People who harass others in public about their diet and dress are forcing thier religious beliefs on others, especially the ones who lie through their teeth to do it and claim moral superiority. But hey are merely obnoxious. The real problem is the terrorists who sabotage medical research. They kill people. We don't even know how many lives could have been saved by the research they destroy. They are mass murderers. We should treat them as such. Their apologists are disgusting. How *dare* they apologize for sick, twisted miscreants who condemn innocent sick people to lingering deaths? It's enough to make moral folks puke.
by there you go again
Thursday Jan 20th, 2005 12:39 PM
assuming that everyone else is, like yourself (nessie) an "overly self-assured, 24/7. typical white American male without a shred of humility."

Where's the little boys room, do I have to have a willy to make a comment in here?
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