Vandals target four Vancouver-area fur stores
Andrew Weichel, ctvbc.ca
Published Thursday, May 24, 2012 2:48PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, April 5, 2013 2:02PM PDT
Animal rights extremists are taking credit for a vandalism spree targeting four Vancouver-area fur stores -- and declaring that the "new Fur Wars have just begun."
Snowflake, Pappas Furs and Speiser Furs, all located in downtown Vancouver, were targeted in the early morning hours Tuesday, as was Capilano Furs and Taxidermy in North Vancouver.
The businesses were doused with red paint on windows, storefronts and doors, and a message claiming to be from the Animal Liberation Front was posted online shortly after taking credit for the damage.
"This action is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of mink suffering and dying on the many filthy, polluted fur farms in the Lower Mainland," it read.
Snowflake co-owner Megan Halprin said the attack on her store is nothing new; since moving to her latest location in July 2010, she claims to have been targeted six times.
But Halprin says she's more troubled by wanted posters with her face and address on them, and the late-night visits to her home.
"They've targeted my house with red paint, with black paint, with bleach, with rotten meat, with messages. I mean they've gone all out," she said. "Every bird, every slug, every worm and every dog and cat that went through my neighbourhood is going to have some bleach, which is a poison, because these people want to protest the selling of fur."
The repeated harassment eventually led her to post a defiant sign on her front lawn declaring that the right to free speech doesn't include trespassing and vandalism.
According to another online posting from the ALF in March, which followed the latest attack on Halprin's home, the sign's message was received, if not taken to heart.
"We like your new banner just for us," it read. "Your new cameras are nice too, sadly they will prove no deterrent to us. At least you've figured out that every time you scrub the paint off of your house, we will just replace it again."
"See you soon Megan."
Police say they are investigating the vandalism spree but have not identified any suspects, and are asking anyone with information to come forward.
According to the Global Action Network, the fur industry accounts for the deaths of roughly two million animals per year in Canada, half of which are killed on fur farms.
The ALF says the conditions at many of these farms cause animals stress that can lead them to kill their young and injure themselves, and the strictly controlled breeding methods used to ensure fur quality can produce physical abnormalities.
Halprin insists that the modern fur industry is not inhumane, but heavily regulated. She acknowledged there are rogue fur harvesters, but said similar scofflaws exists in every trade.
"We do need to treat animals humanely. We also need to treat people humanely. Last time I checked, I was one of those," she said.