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For Long Island's animal activists, Black Friday is Fur Free Friday

Members of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION),

Members of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and In Defense of Animals (IDA) took to the streets to remind the public to “shop cruelty-free” this season at their second annual Fur Free Friday event. (Credit: Handout)

Members of Long Island Orchestrating for Nature (LION), the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), and In Defense of Animals (IDA) took to the streets to remind the public to “shop cruelty-free” this season at their second annual Fur Free Friday event.

Black Friday, known in the animal activist world as International Fur Free Friday, is "the day on which animal advocates all around the globe educate holiday shoppers about the cruel fur, leather, down, and wool industries,” according to PETA’s website.

On the busiest shopping day of the year, LION started demonstrating outside of Tsontos Furs in Mineola and then moved on to Bay Shore Furriers in Bay Shore.

More than 60 LION, PETA, and IDA members urged the public to “go fake for the animals’ sake” throughout the day, supporting designers such as Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart and John Bartlett who work with faux fur.

"Over 50 million animals, such as foxes, raccoons, minks, beavers, and even dogs and cats, are bludgeoned, electrocuted and skinned alive for their fur annually. The number of rabbits killed solely for fur is so high it is not included in this estimate, with accurate numbers impossible to figure,” LION founder and president John Di Leonardo, himself sporting a faux-leather jacket and boots and a tie made from synthetic fibers, told Newsday. “We ask that people not only shop cruelty-free throughout the season, but year-round and in all arenas, thinking about animals in every purchase, whether it is a coat, perfume or shoes. You can still have the look you want without harming animals in the process.”

While LION demonstrated on the Island, Caring Activists Against Fur (CAAF), Friends of Animals (FoA) and Friends of Animals United NY/NJ (FAUN) took to demonstrating outside Macy’s on 34th street in Manhattan. Friends of Animals has also erected two billboards in Times Square urging the public to ditch fur.

Many people in the fashion world have switched over from fur to faux in recent years, and designers like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and Stella McCartney and retailers like J.Crew and Forever 21 now refuse to use or sell any fur products. Most recently, Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart debuted her all-vegan fashion line in a solo show during New York Fashion Week in February. 

To learn more about these groups and what they do, visit HumaneLongIsland.org.