A historical perspective provided by Cres Vellucci, one
of the founders of this important event.
"Fur-Free Friday" was created in 1986 by Trans Species
Unlimited (TSU), based in Pennsylvania with West Coast offices in
California, as a way to focus on department stores' decision to sell
fur. At the time, George Cave was the director of TSU, and Cres Vellucci
was the West Coast Director.
Prior to Fur-Free Friday, there were sporadic fur
protests in the early and mid-1980s. However, activists with TSU felt
there needed to be some kind of coordinated action to increase the
intensity of protest against the cruelties of the fur industry. TSU also
wanted activity that was more dramatic than passing out flyers.
In creating Fur-Free Friday, the intent was to provide
grassroots activists all over the U.S. the opportunity to participate in
a coordinated direct action against department stores. The focus was
also placed on acts of nonviolent civil disobedience at these stores,
similar to the lunch counter sit-ins and other civil rights actions.
In 1985, in a prelude to this organized event, two
groups of activists -- one in the New York Macy's and another in the
Sacramento Macy's - did the first-ever coordinated, non-violent civil
disobedience activity protesting fur in the U.S. The arrests totaled
several dozen. The following year, the dedicated anti-fur activists hit
stores on what is widely known as the busiest shopping day of the year,
the day after Thanksgiving. The day became known in the movement as
At its height of popularity among activists, Fur-Free
Friday involved dozens of grassroots groups in more than 30 states, all
engaged in non-violent protests that resulted in hundreds of arrests.
Meanwhile, as Fur-Free Friday grew, fur sales slumped. In the 1980s, fur
sales topped more than $2 billion a year and, likely due to protests
such as Fur-Free Friday, have dwindled to about half that currently.
By the early and mid-1990s, Fur-Free Friday had been
recognized in the animal movement as being one of the most widely
attended U.S. protests against animal suffering. Nationally recognized
organizations such as In Defense of Animals (IDA) have been significant
promoters of the movement-wide event by providing anti-fur posters and
In 1997, Fur-Free Friday saw a range of activities,
including non-violent civil disobedience. More than 100 dedicated
activists were arrested while making their statements of protest against
fur. Fur-Free Friday is one of the few nationally recognized days in the
animal movement with "ownership" belonging to grassroots activists
determined to halt the cruel fur industry and retailers of its products.
This website celebrates the empowerment Fur-Free Friday
gives animal activists to make a difference against a cruel industry.
http://www.FurFreeFriday.com offers them a tool to help promote their
actions to other compassionate and dedicated people.
Cres Vellucci can be contacted via email at: [email protected]
Go on to The
Facts: Fur Trapping, Fur Farming, U.S. Fur Trade Economy
Return to 24 November 1999 Issue
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