by Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

'Anti-speciesist' group tightly encircled by police at Athens Fur Fair 2012 Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Police tightly encircle ‘anti-speciesist’ group at Athens Fur Fair 2012
Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

As the fourth annual “Fur Excellence in Athens” International Fur Fair approaches this year on March 27-30, Animal Issues Reporter (AIR) takes a look back at the 2012 event for conversations with protestors, police, fair workers and industry insiders in a series of articles on fur.

Across the street from the parking lot of the Athens Fur Fair exhibit hall, where Animal Issues Reporter (AIR) interviewed members of animal protection groups about why they were protesting the 2012 event, a dozen or so police officers in riot gear tightly encircled a different group under the shade of a tree.

The closely-guarded group held up banners reading, “Burn the Fur Industry,” and “Smash the State.”

As this reporter approached, identified herself, and asked for the name of that group, one of its male members replied from behind the police cordon, saying that they did not wish to give the group’s name, nor did they wish to give an interview.

Other sources told AIR that the group is known as “anti-speciesists” or as “anarchists,” and that they typically reject media coverage.

Fur industry is ‘arcane and cruel,’ said cop

'Anti-speciesist' group demonstration at Athens Fur Fair 2012 Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

‘Anti-speciesist’ group demonstration at Athens Fur Fair 2012
Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Asked why that group of about 40 was corralled so tightly by a riot squad while the Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation and Greek Greens Party groups across the street were more loosely monitored, a police captain on the scene who declined to give his name told AIR that it was because the carefully guarded group had verbally confronted and thrown paint at some fur exhibit attendees the day before, while the other groups were more low-key.

The police captain added that he personally opposed the use of animals for their fur. He said he sympathized with animal advocates’ argument that the fur industry is arcane and cruel. But he said that the protestors did not have the right to attack anyone with paint or to perpetrate any other type of violence, and that he believed that those who protest with peaceful methods are most effective.

‘Why is she to blame?’

Earlier in the afternoon when this reporter had asked an Athens Fur Fair parking garage attendant where the protest was being held, he replied, “Oh you don’t want to go there. You could get hurt if they see you coming out of here [the Expo Athens exhibit center where the fur fair was being held].”

Model at Athens Fur Fair 2012 Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Model at Athens Fur Fair 2012
Photo: Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

He too said he fully supported the protestors’ mission to end the fur trade because he felt that it was cruel to animals and unnecessary these days when other types of clothing are easily available. But he added that he felt sorry for individuals whom the protestors had attacked with paint, one of whom was a fashion model.

“Why is she to blame?” he asked. “She was just doing a job. She probably badly needed the work.”

Previous AIR articles on fur:

High Sales at Greek Fur Fair

Animals killed cruelly ‘for money and vanity,’ say fur fair protestors

Get fresh AIR! Please click on the SUBSCRIBE button above to receive an email alert when we post new articles on animal issues, including the upcoming ones in our series about the fur industry:

Fur trade is important to Greek economy, says industry spokesman

Animals ‘should not be sacrificed on the altar of fashion,’ says fur fair protestor

Full interview with Mariza Christodoulou, Vice President, Panhellenic Animal Welfare and Environmental Federation and

Killing animals for fur is just as necessary as killing them for food, says industry spokesman

Full interview with Olga Kikou, Coordinator, Animal Rights Group, Greek Green Party

Fur industry will grow despite animal advocates’ efforts to remove ‘freedom of choice,’ spokesman predicts

Interview with Thorbjørn Schiønning, Anima (Danish animal welfare group)

Visit to a fur farm in Denmark

Interview with Ann-Mona Kulsø Larsen, Nordgaard Fur Farm (Denmark)

Interview with Jan Helleskov, Communications Chief, Magasin du Nord (department store in Copenhagen that no longer sells fur)

Interview with Jens Birger Christensen, CO, Birger Christensen (furrier in Copenhagen)

Visit to Kopenhagen Fur

Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Credits include hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for  outlets such as National Geographic TravelerThe San Francisco ChronicleTravelers’ Tales, NBC’s, and (Animal Policy Examiner), a teleplay for CBS-TV, a short story for The Bark magazine, and 17 novels for Avon, E.P. Dutton, Simon and Schuster, and other major publishers.

Together with coauthor Shelley Frost, Katerina wrote a step-by-step guide for hands-on, in-the-trenches dog rescue, Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know About Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press).

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