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MY FIRST ANTI-FUR PROTEST: A learning experience


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Emy Will

Emy Will

Greetings from Johannesburg, South Africa. Although I have a doctorate in psychotherapy, my main passion is advocating for nonhuman animal rights. I condemn all cruelty to nonhuman animals and therefore follow a vegan lifestyle. I would like to connect with other animal activists from all over the world. The fur trade is one of the most abhorrent practices on this planet. Innocent animals are subjected to prolonged suffering for a trivial fashion item. As the chairperson of Fur Free SA. we campaign towards ending the global fur industry. This might not happen in my lifetime, but even if I leave one footprint behind, that is one step closer to the goal. This blog is a forum to discuss all aspects of the fur industry. It also raises issues around animal activism in general. Johannesburg is a crazy city and I need to escape from time to time. This photo was taken next to the magnificent Zambezi river.

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gaga protest

I am not exactly sure where protests fit onto the spectrum of activism (See post: https://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/how-far-is-too-far/).

That aside, I was happy to hear about a protest, at Nelson Mandela Square – Johannesburg, against Lady Gaga’s wearing of fur. She was in South Africa then, performing  on her Born This Way world tour.  As we all know, Lady Gaga is a fur hag of note.

(See posthttps://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/celebs-and-fur-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/). 

According to Activists for Animals Africa spokesperson Miranda Jordan, Lady Gaga “is one of the most powerful role models in existence and her arrogance could be seen as fashionable by her adoring fans. What about the animals, many of which are still alive after being skinned for the fur she wears?”

Good, I thought, my chance for active animal activism had arrived. That was in November 2012 and I have come a long way since then 🙂

Protests were not new to me, as being a student in South Africa during the mid 1980s I went to many anti-apartheid demonstrations. These always became confrontational when the police arrived!

But animal rights’ protests are something different. Not realising there is an etiquette around these protests I arrived in a pink summery frock. Although nobody said anything, I felt like a fish on a bicycle, that is, worse than a fish out of water. The other protesters  were dressed in black! With some imagination, perhaps I could have symbolised blood. Feeling self-conscious I kept well hidden behind a poster. Yes, that is my arm sticking out right at the back.

Only a handful of protesters turned up and then we marched through the shopping centre holding banners (see above). A crowd of curious onlookers gathered to watch us. I could have sworn that some were even laughing. Perhaps it was at the giant effigy of Lady Gaga dressed in a tiger print outfit and fox fur or that some of the protesters were wearing “fur” coats in the sweltering African heat.  

Well, the very next day I got myself a black funereal outfit, which I now regularly wear  to protests, accompanied by my somber expression. After all we are protesting about serious animal rights issues.

Other non-spoken rules that I have learnt about AR protests are: 

  • Don’t be overly friendly with the public 
  • Don’t react to insults
  • Don’t intimidate people
  • Don’t discuss any campaign other than the one you are protesting about
  • Don’t take your own photographs
  • Never be seen laughing 

Being someone of a friendly disposition until I am insulted and then turn into an ogre, this has been an adjustment for me.

However, I do believe protests, particularly accompanied by pamphlets, help to raise awareness around issues. What do you think?gaga fur free            Read below about a recent example of how protest action can work:



    • Emy Wilhelm says:

      The reblog is really appreciated and thank you for the wonderful work that you do. Together we can make a difference.


      • I’m glad you approved! I seldom have the time to write articles for my own blog but I scour the web to find content that I like. As you said, together we WILL make a difference!


  1. xbox2121 says:

    I think its pretty cool that you actually participate in the protest !


  2. Emy Wilhelm says:

    Thanks so much B2B for the reblog and thanks for all your interesting posts.


  3. […] (See post: https://emynow.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/my-first-anti-fur-protest-a-learning-experience/). […]


  4. Carol says:

    On a related but different topic – I wish that all cosmetic products – for me that means body, face and hand moisturisers – sold in South Africa would have to indicate on the label whether or not the product had been tested on animals. Being a person of limited financial means, I need to buy inexpensive products but how do I know if they are “animal cruelty free?”
    Is the case that if the Beauty without Cruelty icon is not on the label, then I should assume that there has been testing on animals?


    • Emy Will says:

      Thanks for caring Carol. It is a complicated issue that faces all of us. BWC is extremely strict about what they endorse. So, for example, Nivea does not test on animals but it says it may use ingredients which are tested on animals. You will find the list of these ingredients in this article. http://surprisinglyvegan.co.uk/companies/nivea/
      As far as possible nivea tries not to use these ingredients and I use some Nivea products.
      Also BWC will not endorse something if the parent company tests on animals. So L’oreal has bought the body shop so BWC wont endorse Body shop products. But most of the Body shop products haven’t been tested on animals.

      Like Silk and Innoxia are good products to use and I think fairly economical.
      PeTA also puts out a list of companies that don’t test and these might not have the BWC emblem. The status of cosmetic companies changes and it is important to check these lists regularly. Being ethical can take up a lot of time with reading labels. Let me know if you want more information. Lots of love


    • Emy Will says:

      Hi Carol. Another easy to read link: although this was written in 2011 it does list some of the parent companies and their products to avoid such as Dove products.


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