The reason a handful of protesters showed up in front of Boyd’s Center City store on Black Friday is “because every day is black for animals used for their fur,” says Marianne Bessey, manager of campaigns for PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. [Disclosure: I am a member of PETA, even though I don’t agree with everything they do. Same for me being a Democrat.]
The weather was mild, there was not a lot of foot traffic, but the PETA people set up their literature table as Bobby Bates climbed into a full body coyote costume, under the benevolent gaze of two members of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Civil Affairs Squad.
Inside, Boyd’s marketing manager Scott Crossin had no comment about the protest, but supposed it was because Boyd’s had goose down jackets and fur coats. He said he would read up on why PETA protests against fur and fur trim.
Actually, PETA protests any use of animals, whatsoever. Animals are not ours to use, they say — not to eat, not to wear, not to keep in captivity, such as in zoos.
That thought brings me back to Bessey. More than any other individual, she gets credit for forcing the Philadelphia Zoo to get rid of its resident elephants, its No. 1 attraction. For years Bessey would crawl into an elephant costume and picket and leaflet outside the gates of the zoo, while most of those entering ignored her.
She was just an annoyance, until the day, under growing pressure, the zoo decided to send the elephants to sanctuary.
Likewise, Bessey picketed the circus whenever it pulled into South Philly, and lots of people laughed at her. And they kept laughing until Ringling Brothers threw in the towel.
Back on Chestnut Street in front of Boyd’s, Bates, 32, of Westville, N.J., said he was there to protest “the harm and torture in the process of taking the skins off coyotes.”
South Philadelphia musician Carla Mariani, 65, joined in a chant for “animal liberation” to “raise awareness of the suffering animals go through for fashion.” She says she wishes Boyd’s would stop selling fur.
With faux fur, why would anyone need to wear the real thing?
Macy’s and Burlington Coat Company each has signed agreements to stop selling fur, Bessey says.
Is it realistic to think protesters can stop the sale of fur?
About as realistic to think protesters could close down the circus.