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NOT A LONE WOLF: Can activism be solitary?

While campaigning against Erich Fischer Furriers and Investec I had to do a lot of questioning as to where I fitted into the bigger, often confusing,  picture of animal activism.

To approach a huge corporation such as Investec Ltd. in the role of an animal activist would have been a lost cause, before it had even begun.

Animal Activists are often labeled eccentric, overly emotional, impulsive “bunny huggers” and part of the lunatic fringe.

Many have a fondness for tattoos. animal rights activist

Earlier this year, a Buddhist monk self-immolated in protest against the halal method of killing cattle. Some believe, though, that this was a more an anti-Muslim statement than one for the animals.

Read more http://drstevebest.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/buddhist-monk-self-immolates-to-protest-cattle-slaughter-in-sri-lanka/

          I also found this on the internet about Animal Rights Activists   anti animal activists

I think you get the point that Animal activists are not taken that seriously.

So initially I took the   “Lone Wolf ” approach.  When referring to a person, a Lone Wolf is an individual who prefers solitude, is introverted, or who works alone.  In many ways I am not a team player, and I certainly will never be the one holding the megaphone at a demonstration. But whatever I have committed to do I do to the best of my ability.

So I approached Investec as an outraged consumer and a respectable professional (I practice a s a clinical psychologist).

Yet everything I did was discussed with FURfree SA. When my campaign went into a phase of e-mailing Investec,  FURfree SA circulated this request to all their members.

Now that I am working towards getting fur banned in South Africa, everything I do is endorsed by FUR Free SA and Beauty Without Cruelty.Fur Free SA

The report to be given to an MP, although  spearheaded by myself will have FUR Free SA’s stamp on it.

This campaign is something that no Lone Wolf can do.

If fact, other than self-immolation where nobody wants to hold your hand, I don’t believe that animal activism can be a solitary activity. What do you think?

I want to share the quote below. I came across it when I was feeling particularly despondent by the lack of success I was having.

For me these words are inspirational and ones that every animal activist should remember.



A WORK IN PROGRESS: sharing some thoughts


I took these photos when we were on holiday at Hluhluwe-umfolozi game reserve and Ndlovu River Lodge respectively. There are many places in South Africa where one can view wildlife and this is a major attraction to tourists.

After much discussion with family and friends,  here are some ideas on the way forward to banning fur in South Africa. Any feedback is most welcome:)

  • South Africa – a unique country

South Africa is a country with diverse population groups.  There are many cultural practices, some that involve the wearing of skins, for example leopard skins.

Zuma in skins

The President of South Africa Jacob Zuma wearing a Leopard skin.

  •  To Poll attitudes to fur

Israel has now banned fur except that used for religious purposes. An opinion poll conducted prior to the banning showed that 86% of Israelis were against the fur trade.

South Africa has a high unemployment rate and the wearing of a luxury item such as fur does not feature in most people’s lives. The best case scenario is that an opinion poll will show indifference. I think??

  • So we need a different strategy

We need to convince the South African government that selling fur is contrary to South Africa’s image of Eco-tourism and preserving wild life.

  • Eco-tourism does not support the fur trade

Eco-tourism is about many things, but one aspect of it is travel that focuses on avoiding harm to wilderness areas and wildlife wherever possible.  It can actively contribute to the preservation of wildlife . In this context, surely it does not look good for South Africa to be involved with the fur industry in any way?

A big news item at the moment is how ECO-TOURISM can boost the South African economy.

If you are closely following this journey to ban fur these are essential articles to read:

– A press release this week by Marthinus Van schalkwyk,  South Africa’s tourism Minister.


– A survey done by WWF – SA  showing that owning Rhino horn is a status symbol. So what makes fur any different? Animals are brutally killed for no purpose other than a status symbol.


  • Changing legislation 

To change or implement a new law a citizen may approach an individual Member of Parliament (MP).  This MP can submit this proposal for consideration in parliament.  One would, of course, have to gain the support of this MP for what one is trying to achieve.

I suppose in this situation the obvious MP would be Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, although I still resent him for culling the Himalayan Tahrs, on Table Mountain:(

  • Contents of the proposal

In this proposal we would have to present:

1. A coherent reason for getting fur banned

– Animal welfare: Fur farming is inherently cruel. Wild animals are bred and killed under horrendous conditions, only for their fur. There is no such thing as humane fur farming. If fur farms were in South Africa they would be in contravention of the Animal Protection Act.

– Environmental hazard: Due to the nature of factory farming, fur farming has a negative impact on the environment.  Climate change is a global issue.

– Mislabelling: The globalisation of the fur trade has made it impossible to know where fur products come from. Skins move through international auction houses and are purchased and distributed to manufacturers around the world. Finished goods are often brought into the country with “faux fur” labels. Even if a fur garment’s label says that it was made in a European country, the animals were likely raised and slaughtered elsewhere—possibly on a Chinese fur farm, where there are no penalties for abusing animals. Other than doing genetic testing there is no way of identifying all fur.

2. Precise terminology about the type of fur to be banned

This is complicated: The following will probably have to be excluded from the definition :

– South Africa uses skins of zebra and buck etc. to make retail items.

– Many animal skins are used for cultural practices.

– Seal fur also falls under a different category of fur and seals are not farmed.

– Rabbits are now being farmed in South Africa for their meat and fur. This provides employment and money.

3. Proof of the horrendous ways fur-bearing animals are farmed and killed, even though this happens overseas.

Many animal rights organisations have documented these conditions.

3. Facts and figures on how the banning of fur would affect the South African economy

We are researching this area through the Department of Trade and Industry. So far it seems that banning fur will not have a huge impact on the South African economy. The fur industry does not provide much employment, as furriers send their workers overseas for training.

I’m sure there are many other things to consider. Let me know if you think of any.

In the meantime. Please carry on raising awareness about the abhorrent fur industry in any way you can.

Collective action works!!

Too many people think that if they don’t see the slaughter of innocent beings, it doesn’t really happen. Idiots.

There is a mass denial by so many people about the cruelty behind animals products. The fur trade is one of the most barbaric industries on this planet, yet those who wear fur claim it is humane. They are truly disturbed. Thank you Johnny for speaking out.

Animals Are Fellow Beings


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Fortunately for me the “a” and “u” keys on my keyboard are far apart, as in a frenzied moment I could have easily have had a slip of the finger. Imagine how foolish I would look asking Investec Ltd (Landlord of Erich Fischer Furriers) to end their lease with their farrier.


Both these  “crafts” go back a long way. However, while a farrier helps to improve the “clip, clop” of horses hooves,  a furrier does nothing to improve the well-being of any animal. In fact I would not even let my cat near a furrier in case my furry companion was skinned in a minute. Furriers tend not to see the living creature under the fur.                                                                                                                                                                                IMG_4668                                                   My darling Pippin. Isn’t his fur beautiful?

I even think the origin of the saying, “there is more than one way to skin a cat” refers historically to when cat’s fur was used as trim on various clothing items. Consequently, many cats were raised only for skinning, which presumably could be accomplished in a variety of ways.

Nowadays, Asia is the biggest source of cat and dog fur, as there are poor animal welfare laws in these countries. This fur comes into South Africa under the label of “faux fur” and is mainly used as fur trim on clothing.


So what is a Furrier?

1. One that deals in furs.
2. One whose occupation is the dressing, manufacturing, designing, cleaning, or repairing of furs and fur garments.
3. Furriers source their pelts from auction houses, which in turn acquire furs from fur farmers or from trapping.
4. Nowadays a furrier would only use fur from a fur farm to ensure “quality”. Animals that have been trapped or hunted will have holes in their pelts, which is not desirable to the “mink and manure” set.
5. After the auction house,  pelts go through a series of treatment steps, called fur dressing, to preserve them. In this context, “dressing” a fur is to improve its texture etc.
An “undressed”/ skinned animal is the most distressing sight to see. Their naked bodies are then disposed of like garbage. THERE IS NOTHING CLASSY ABOUT WEARING FUR!  
Today, a furrier business is usually a three generation family business passed down from father to son. I’m not sure what happens if there are only daughters.

Part of my campaign to get fur banned is to ascertain how much fur comes into South Africa. So I have been tracking down the local furriers. I even phoned a  business called the “Fur Club” only to discover it was a doggie parlour. That was a happy moment.

Well the good news is that there are a handful of actual furriers in South Africa, so it will hardly crash the South African economy to stop their trade .

Who knows, maybe fourth generation furriers will make a useful contribution to the planet by becoming hairdressers instead of fur dressers?

FUR FACT: About 26 million minks are killed, usually asphyxiated, every year for the sole purpose of acquiring their skin. Many skins make one fur coat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                how many furs 

Read more on the history of the fur trade:




Anti-fur protest at New York Fashion Week

If only more designers would take an anti-fur stand. People will then eventually realise that wearing fur is not stylish.

Of Course Vegan

In yet another positive sign that ethical standards in the fashion world are changing, renowned fashion designer Victoria Batlett is pushing forward with a campaign against the use of fur in the fashion industry by handing out anti-fur buttons in New York.

It comes as Fashion Week is showcasing the fall/winter collections.

In addition to Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart accepting preorders for her Vaute Couture autumn/winter 2013 collection, renowned designer Bartlett is protesting the use of fur at her New York show by handing out literature, anti-fur buttons, and other informational material.

“I don’t believe in the unnecessary killing of animals for the sake of vanity,” said Bartlett.

“It should be obsolete in this day and age.” The show, which is part of New York’s Fashion Week, is an exclusive event sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, and is taking place at the World Old School on 10th…

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Dying to wear fur?

FUR FACT:  foxlogo                                                                                                                         This fox logo indicates a company that has committed in writing to be fur-free through the international “Consumers for a Fur Free Society” program. They state, “We encourage companies on our list to take the next step and put their commitment in writing through this program, and proudly display the fur-free fox logo on their door”.

I believe that fashion designers are to blame for the increase in fur sales. So many people just want to follow the trend, so if it is on the cat-walk they will wear fur just because they think it is stylish. How narcissistic  is that?

Read more: Fur is back – would you wear it? (theguardian.com)


This week,  September 6th 2013,  is the New York Fashion Week and Animals Defenders International (ADI) is calling on fashion lovers everywhere to say NO to fur.

ADI has witnessed the terrible suffering of animals farmed for fur – and discovered animals with open and infected wounds, eyes infected or missing, tails bitten off, deformed legs, severely overgrown gums resulting in difficulty eating and drinking    

for blog

John Bartlett is fur-free designer. He is a compassionate and talented designer. Don’t you just love the animal motifs on his shirt?

John, we can’t thank you enough for all you do for animals!

fashion designer.

SEE IT CAN BE DONE you don't have to wear fur to be foxy


FUR FACT: South Africa farms rabbits and kills them for meat and their fur. Rabbits are social, intelligent creatures. They love to play and groom each other.  On fur farms rabbits will never  frolic. They live a life of confinement and misery.                                                                                                                              .                                                                                             cartoon4805                                                                                                                                                              As a psychotherapist I have heard many revenge fantasies – some more shocking than others. My standard response is, “as long as you don’t act out your fantasies, they are OK”.

Through my research into the fur industry I have seen horrific images of what people do to fur-bearing creatures. This has led to my own revenge fantasies towards the perpetrators of these atrocities – fantasies so murderous that my grandfather Reverend Harris would shudder in his grave (post: Leaders wearing fur: When is it OK?) .

However, while I am capable of spraying red paint or sticking stickers onto windows, I would not actually kill someone.  Yet I do applaud whenever I hear of actions to liberate animals from abhorrent conditions. See:  Animal rights activists damage store, homes (utsandiego.com). Many of these activists are serving jail sentences for their acts of “terrorism”, which I think is admirable.  So why did people reach this point of committing illegal acts to save animals?

Legal protection for animals has been slow and even non-existent in some countries.  Out of intense frustration an underground “terrorist movement” has arisen which targets companies and abusive practices towards animals. During the past two decades, extreme animal rights activists have committed hundreds of acts of arson, bombings and acts of vandalism and harassment. This movement adopts a “leaderless resistance” model of activism and is composed of several anonymous underground cells.  

Read morehttp://archive.adl.org/learn/ext_us/Ecoterrorism.asp?xpicked=4&item=eco;

             Names used by these activists:

 -Animal Liberation Front (ALF)

Animal Rights Militia (ARM)            

– Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC).

ALF is the name adopted by people acting illegally to fight for animal rights. These people have a non violent policy insofar as no one gets injured. They will however damage property in their attempt to “inflict economic damage to those who profit from the misery and exploitation of animals”. Their actions are carefully planned and arrangements are made to move animals to safe places if need be.

ARM is a name used by animal rights activists who use any means necessary to free animals from places of abuse and torture. These activists have engaged in acts of violence and people have been injured through letter bombs.                                                                                                                                                   Animalrightsmilitia.gif                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ARM justifies their actions through the argument of “Extensional self-defense”, This concept claims that because animals are so vulnerable and oppressed they cannot fight back to attack or kill their oppressors. In other words, animal activists have to defend these animals who are going to be harmed by humans.

Read more:  http:// /wiki/Justice

SHAC focuses on rescuing animals who are used for experimentation and these activists will damage property that is used to practice vivisection.

I always cry when I read stories like these:  


There is even a news magazine Bite Back, which only reports on  the radical animal rights movement worldwide.                                                            

Last but not least is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PeTA), which is a legal activist organization that works to educate the public about the horrors of animal cruelty through peaceful, nonviolent means. However, Ingrid Newkirk president of PeTA states that “the animal rights movement is a revolutionary one”. This implies that she supports others who carry out extreme acts. I think this is my position and I would welcome ALF to  come and free the rabbits from South African farms. What do you think?

Thinkers may prepare revolutions, but bandits must carry them out: – Ingrid Newkirk .    

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