HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Friday, November 28, 2008


PHOTO shows animal-rights demonstrators inside the Fashion Valley mall on Friday (11/28/08) protesting the sale of animal furs and fur trim in high-end stores. Police (on right) said the event was legal and couldn't be stopped by the mall's operators, though they tried.

San Diego -- 11/18/08 -- Parking became a total gridlock at the Fashion Valley mall on the day after Thanksgiving; the so-called "Black Friday," when retailers hope to turn their red ink into black. Yet, activists from the local Animal Protection & Rescue League (APRL) came out to protest the sale of animal furs at elegant stores like Hermes-Paris, Neiman-Marcus, Bloomingdale's, Sak's and Nordstrom's.

"We are educating the shoppers about the cruelty (towards animals involved in making) fur coats and fur trim," said APRL's attorney Bryan Pease in a on-the-scene interview.

"The way that animals raised on fur farms are killed is typically by anal or vaginal electrocution.

"The reason for that is the (fur-farm owners) don't want to damage the (animal's) coat, so they hook an electrode to the snout, then they push a probe up into the (animal's) anus or virgina. Then they activate a powerful electrical current and literally cook the animal from the inside out," Pease explained.

That electrocution is extremely painful to the animal.


"Two years ago, we did just what we are doing now," Pease added.

"But, the mall at that time had a policy against allowing boycott activity on their premises.

"They sued us, but they were also sued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the same rule.

"That (NLRB) case went all the way up to the California Supreme Court, which ruled against the mall. (As a result), the mall dismissed their (civil) complaint against us, changed their policies and now we are back again.

"The Supreme Court said that, under the California Constitution, we have the right to expressive activity on private property that is open to the public. That right includes 'soliciting a boycott,' which is what (the mall's policy) opposed.

"There is no criminal law against expressive activity (demonstrations) on private property that is open to the public.

"However, while the law is unclear, the courts appear to have endorsed the permit-procedure requirement, saying the mall can do that. That requires demonstrators to first apply for a permit to hold a protest rally.

"It's still a gray area as to what constitutes a 'reasonable' demonstration," Pease explained.

The manager of the Fashion Valley mall, however, tried to convince a police sergeant that the APRL's demonstration was "unreasonable." It didn't work, and the sergeant told the manager, Bob Dougherty, that the APRL's protest was lawful.

Dougherty, however, denied that the mall had changed any of its policies regarding lawful demonstrations following the state Supreme Court's ruling.

Mall security officers refused to answer any questions about their duties at the protest demonstration, though they video-taped everything.

Was the protest effective?

Part of the demonstration was held in front of the elegant Hernes-Paris store. Inside, the manager, Dennis Voorheis, refused to answer any questions from San Diego News Service.

There was only one customer in the store at the time, a very fashionable matron. She quickly left as soon as the media arrived, saying she would "buy on-line instead."


Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service, News tips: (619) 757-4909, Fax: (619) 220-8686, leopowerhere@msn.com


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