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Extremists take credit for attack on fur store

Extremists take credit for attack on fur store
Bethany Lindsay
Monday Jun. 27, 2011

An extreme animal rights group associated with vandalism and bombings around the world has claimed responsibility for a chemical attack at a Vancouver fur store overnight.

James Laurenson, the owner of Speiser Furs on Granville Street, arrived at work Monday morning to find the locks to his store glued shut. When he was finally able to get inside, he discovered that his merchandise had been sprayed with some sort of chemical, an attack that the Animal Liberation Front is taking credit for.

"There was this acrid smell; it smelled like chlorine or bleach," Laurenson told CTV News. "All the coats on the right side, about 25 feet into the store, were covered in this bleach liquid." The spray caused the colour to leach out of the clothing, ruining some coats worth more than $5,000 each. "It's useless. There's nothing to salvage," Laurenson said, adding that it was too early to put an estimate on the value of the damage done.

The ALF, a group of militant animal activists that "liberates" animals from fur farms and has been connected to bombings in Mexico, Russia and the U.K., took responsibility for the destruction in a press release on Monday. "Tonight we took action against one of Vancouver's cruelest businesses -- Speiser Furs," the release said. "We brought a backpack with us and in it was an industrial pressurized chemical sprayer with a two-foot-long spraying wand. We inserted the spraying wand into their mail slot and sprayed four litres of a highly corrosive chemical onto their racks of jackets."

The group says that it glued the store's locks shut to allow the chemical more time to destroy the coats in what it terms an "act of economic sabotage."
Laurenson, who has been in the fur business since 1949, says he's faced countless protests and acts of vandalism during his career, including protesters who've thrown balls containing red paint through the windows. "We've had a lot of these kind of people," he said. "We just have to get new product. I can't let them turn me."

He did add, however, that changing attitudes about leather and fur have led him to stock more non-animal products in recent years.

Contact: (213) 640-5048

Animal Liberation Press Office
3371 Glendale Blvd. #107
Los Angeles, CA 90039

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