Save the Cute Animals!

The inside story on protests against dog-eating, foie gras-enjoying, and fur-wearing

If you were a really smooth player, I could easily see animal rights protests as a perfect place to pick up progressive women.

"Not only do I not eat meat or dairy," I tell another woman holding a sign, "but I don't even eat mock duck, because duck is in the name." She smiles with approval.

During the entire afternoon, I only see one well-dressed couple entering the restaurant. They are politely given a flier. Maybe our protesting works? Or maybe ...

"When does the protest last till?" I ask one of the kindly older ladies.

"It goes to 6:15."

I suggest that maybe it should run later, into the time period when the restaurant actually has customers.

"We probably shouldn't stay later, because it might make them angry," she replies with kindness.

I approach the reporter who'd interviewed me earlier.

"I have one more for ya, 'Foie gras is a faux pas!'"

"You could be a copy editor," she says, writing quickly.

Suggestions for a Better Protest:

Large papier-mâché enlarged duck livers that could be hoisted on sticks by protesters on stilts.

Overall Protest Rating: 7

Though I was disappointed that sinks weren't clogged with cement and cars remained unvandalized, the kindness and organization of the protesters won me over.

Protest No. 3 -- Neiman Marcus Anti-Fur Demonstration

The ad:

This is a weekly anti-fur protest that happens rain or shine. Signs and leaflets are provided. Please also do not wear or bring anything leather or that looks like leather.

This is a classic. It's the granddaddy of them all -- a lovable, old-school fixture in the world of animal rights protests. I can't wait. I hope there will be blood thrown on shoppers!

Level of Adorable-ness of Animal at Hand: With fur, 9. Without fur, 0.

Like Don Quixote, one lone woman protests on her own, on the corner of Stockton and Geary, with a slew of gruesome signs secured to a newsstand. She is smiling.

Quality of Protest Signs: 10

What abortion protesters achieve with the classic bloody fetus shot, fur protesters achieve with the bloody, skinned dead animal signs. The signs sell the protest:

An adorable cat seems to be saying, "I Am Not a Coat."

A fox, with the ability to form human sentences, is made to say, "Does Your Mother Have a Fur Coat? My Mother Lost Hers."

"The Real Face of Fur," announces a bloody animal carcass.

"Fur. No Skin Off My Back," another bloody animal carcass propounds.

The funny sign "Neiman Carcass" features -- you guessed it -- a bloody carcass.

(My ideas for fur protest signs: "My Mother Went to Neiman Marcus and All I Got Was This Lousy Fur Coat," with, of course, a picture of a bloody animal carcass. Or "Got Fur?" with two bloody animal carcasses.)

"Ewww," a shopper remarks, looking at the sea of signs. Another woman joins the lone protester. Then a guy (who, I assume, is protesting in hopes of getting busy with one of the two anti-fur women). Holding signs, smiling, they casually chat, like any huddled group of three friends catching up. This is complete, not to mention utter, bullshit. Where's the angry blood-throwing?! The newly arrived woman, still chatting away, despondently extends her hand, filled with fliers that people avoid as if they were being offered Scientology literature. I stand there for several seconds. Finally, still waiting to be handed a flier, I mumble, "I, too, am against fur." She doesn't acknowledge my presence.

Quality of Fliers: 8

They also say "Neiman Carcass." (Good thing they're not picketing Macy's!) They say the department store is responsible for cruelty, suffering, and death. Instead of the standard, unhappy-animal-in-a-cage photo, the flier goes for a cute cat image: "We speak for those who can't."

Protest Extras: 9

Genuine steel-jaw traps are a nice added touch. Another great addition is actually stringing up some animal pelts to the light post, as if they were a South American president during a rebel revolución.

Quality of Protest Video: 1

More bullshit! There's no video to speak of! Serious points are subtracted.

Down the street, I notice that a leather shop goes completely unprotested. The goods inside could be an animal protester's equivalent to Ed Gein's work shed. I'm sure they could come up with some bloody signs against skinning cows. But then again, leather makes good wallets.

Suggestions for a Better Protest:

Large papier-mâché bloody fur coats that could be hoisted on sticks by protesters walking on stilts.

Overall Protest Rating: 3

No videos, no chants, too much smiling, small turnout. Much like the TV show Friends, this protest has gotten lazy over the years.

What I've Learned

Harming animals is bad; ice cream is delicious!

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