Man Sets Himself on Fire at Portland Fur Store

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Man Sets Himself on Fire at Portland Fur Store

[Ed. Note: Also read Searching for the Significance of a Life and a Death.]

By Peter Young, Voice of the Voiceless on Bite Club of KC

Serious news.

To those who claim the animal rights movement is “violent”, this action should be yet another reminder that every casualty to date has fallen on our side. Daniel Shaull is just the latest victim.

A man set himself on fire Wednesday outside Ungar Furs in Portland, Oregon. After dousing himself with gasoline, he attempted to enter the store, shouting “There are animals dying! Animals dying!” After police extinguished the flames, he was taken to Legacy Emanuel Hospital where he later died.

The man was identified as 26-year-old Daniel Shaull from Kansas. Among the local activists I have spoken to, none are familiar with Shaull by name, nor recognized him as being a part of the active, long-running campaign against Ungar Furs. Yet the location and witness reports strongly indicate this man sacrificed himself to bring attention to the horrific treatment of animals on fur farms.

A news report, which aired prior to Shaull being announced dead, can be viewed here.

Ungar Furs is a retail fur store in Portland which has been the target of a prolific campaign by local activists. Ungar became a target after frequent protests successfully closed another Portland fur store, Schumacher Furs. The owners of Schumacher Furs gave animal rights activists full credit for shutting them down in 2007.

Amidst a range of speculation, I think it is important to assume this is a genuine action by a person driven to make the ultimate sacrifice by the severity of animal suffering. When every legal channel to affect change is closed, people will increasingly be driven to actions which bring both attention to the plight of animals, and a disruptive effect to those who kill them.

Shaull is not the first to give his life in the U.S. animal liberation struggle. This is a time to remember William Rodgers, who took his life in an Arizona jail in 2005 while being held for numerous Animal Liberation Front actions. It is also a time to remember Alex Slack, who took his life while awaiting trial for the A.L.F. bombing of the Utah Fur Breeder’s Agricultural Cooperative in 1999.

If anyone knows Daniel Shaull, please contact Voice of the Voiceless, so that we can make the full story of this action known.

To those who claim the animal rights movement is “violent”, this action should be yet another reminder that every casualty to date has fallen on our side. Daniel Shaull is just the latest victim.