REFLECTIONS ON BEING BURNED IN EFFIGY
A very personal account of FCUSA’s Annual Meeting, September 17-18, 1999
By: Teresa Platt Date: 01/16/2012 Category: | Animal Rights Extremism |
San Diego, California -
Cool breezes catch the sails and bob the boats on San Diego Bay. Fur farmers, veterinarians and researchers, web designers and computer experts, gather to discuss issues of common concern. Fur Commission USA receives a bomb threat on the Internet, triggering human exploitation of bomb-sniffing dogs.
While I join farmers in our Annual Meeting inside the hotel on the Bay, masked protestors gather outside and declare me "Hitler" on their signs. Well, opinions may vary, but this one is a bit over the top. I hear the spokespeople reduce my 20-year involvement with San Diego tuna fishing and my commitment to the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission's 12-country dolphin conservation program as "Her last job was killing dolphins." The protestors get 10 seconds on the evening news. We receive another bomb threat which again requires exploiting the selectively bred traits of bomb-sniffing dogs. It is ironic that, by their threat, animal liberation terrorists force us humans to utilize domesticated or 'captive' canines with genetic traits developed exclusively for human needs - the ability to find explosives via scent not being a trait generally found in wild or 'liberated' canines. Oh, the angst!
I refuse to comply with the suggestion that, in order to ditch the protestors, I leave the hotel stuffed in the trunk. My dinner plans are altered to enjoying beer and fish at the hotel. Hotel staff and guests who never thought of purchasing fur, express negative feelings toward the gang outside and new interest in acquiring a real fur garment. We talk selective breeding, sustainable use, recycling and biodegradability in the bar. You can hear a pin drop during Tom Gibson's description of the mating ritual of mink. I learn that I am to be burned in effigy tomorrow.
I return home and worry about my family's safety. With Morris the cat curled up on my bed and Sandy the dog nearby, I sleep fitfully.
Outside, the loyal opposition tries again, protesting morning and night. Masked again, they place my picture in a coffin, toss in a few furs and burn me in effigy. Real or fake fur, I wonder.
I worry about the toxic fumes from burning fake fur. Either way, burning anything greater than a cigarette in San Diego is a violation of the Clean Air Act. The rodeo is in town and the protests are of lesser import - a local station sends an intern to cover the story.
A handful of eco-terrorists (from those protesting our Annual Meeting?) invade a local fur and leather store wearing balaclavas, shouting obscenities and tossing stink bombs into the shop. The owner's eight-year-old son is present, along with several loyal customers.
After this, several miles south, my neighborhood is littered with "wanted posters" featuring my smiling face. Littering in California is a $1000-per-incident offense. The caption on the posters warns people to watch out for Teresa Platt. "She is considered very dangerous. Platt also opposes legislation to stop the sale of dog and cat fur. As guardians of your animals, please keep them indoors."
My kids, their friends and the neighbors help clean up. My youngest son describes the incident as "pretty wack, Mom."
The Clean Air Act violations, eco-terrorism and littering are summed up in 10 seconds on the evening news, a sound bite about a trade association meeting being protested, balanced by 10 seconds of me. The San Diego Union Tribune carries a picture with caption, no body copy. Behind the masked protestors, in the background, you can see the remains of my charred coffin. FCUSA's webmaster ceremoniously presents me with the matches used to burn me in effigy. He consoles me by saying the picture used in the coffin was flattering. We never do determine if they burned real or fake fur.
The conflict gypsies move on to harass the target du jour while fur farmers gather at my house for a quiet brunch. We eat food produced with an indirect impact on animals via habitat changes and water diversion due to the production of domesticated fruits, grains and berries, as well as foods produced from a direct take of animals, both wild and domesticated: lox (wild or farmed salmon - who knows?) with a dollop of fish eggs (caviar), scrambled domesticated chicken eggs and cheese, milk and whipped cream from contented cows. I discover that all the best people are burned or killed in effigy. It turns out I even know one. Bruce Vincent, a fourth-generation logger from Libby, Montana and president of Alliance for America, was killed in effigy a few years ago at the University of Montana. I feel in good company.
After the farmers head home, I take Sandy to play with all the other dogs at the dog run. I brush her until she is flawless.
I clean up and meet a friend to take in the Best of Motown at an outdoor concert by the Bay, next to the hotel where FCUSA held its Annual Meeting. The crowd sports leather, suede, fur, layers of cotton and hemp, cashmere, shearling, angora and mohair, an occasional synthetic garment. No one yells at another. Liveaboards float by in rowboats, enjoying the fabulous Temptations for free. The evening fog rolls in from the ocean. Wearing my cashmere and fox fur-trimmed poncho, I am warm as toast.
Teresa Platt, executive director of Fur Commission USA, represents 600 mink and fox farming families, and serves on the board of the National Animal Interest Alliance and as secretary of Alliance for America, groups working to restore people and common sense to the environmental equation.
For further information contact:
Teresa Platt, Executive Director, Fur Commission USA, PMB 506, 826 Orange Avenue, Coronado, CA 92118-2698 USA, (619) 575-0139, (619) 575-5578/fax, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.furcommission.com.
About The Author
All Authors Of This Article: | Teresa Platt |