Getting Assaulted: Dealing with Physical Confrontation at Protests

Fashion companies who sell fur are happy to hurt animals to protect their profits. So it’s no surprise that these agents of violence can become physically aggressive against animal activists.

We have heard many accounts – and experienced some ourselves – of employees pushing, grabbing, striking, even kicking activists. And by no means have luxury retail’s elite commandos retired their traditional power move, the age-old megaphone grab.

Unfortunately, crimes like these are on the rise, the perpetrators ever more brazen. Between the stress of fashion school debt for sales staff, and the police brutality FOMO among the police academy dropouts in store security, trends are unlikely to reverse.

With sociopaths for opponents, this threat may be unavoidable. But fret not – it is highly manageable. Act with intention and prioritize best outcomes, and you can remain on top of almost any situation.

It is in this spirit that we offer these tips if you are assaulted.

Do not fight back!

A wage worker who physically attacks you for yelling – whether outright or after trying to move you – is not in their right mind. They want to provoke you. Do not give them the satisfaction.

Instead, de-escalation shows control of self and situation, and leads to superior outcomes. Keep your focus on the animals, not employees, and move away from any self-appointed enemy combatant. This does not even require lowering your volume or tone – though quietly skipping a couple chants does sometimes work to loosen an employee’s grip on your megaphone.

There is in fact a broad range of other responses to these high fashion hoodlums. CAFT campaigns are decentralized, and everyone is free to do as they wish under all circumstances. But we try to keep one bright line: Do not physically fight back.

CAFT concerns itself only with winning, continuously and sustainably. And in the circumstances of these campaigns, physical aggression is in the best interest of the abusers, not the animals:

It is likely to put other activists at risk, put you in jail, and put the movement on a diversion course to raise your bail. It is also likely to harm the campaign. You won’t be at protests on bail or probation, and similar consequences could befall your entire group. Plus on every return visit, expect police to be in peak snowflake mode.

Never talk to the police or file a police incident report about the assault.

We speak to everything here from personal experience, having witnessed how the miserable human beings at every level of this process turn it around against the activists.

The abusers: Companies take information from these police reports to find, surveil, and harass activists, and worse.

The fuzz: When a report is filed, cops immediately use it as an excuse to seize activists’ phones and cameras as evidence, giving not only law enforcement but target companies access to the contents.

The courts: If campaign activists find themselves in a courtroom, the assault will always be painted as a brawl or riot, with the activists at fault.

The assailant: The grille gangster who assaulted you will get high-fives from coworkers – and possibly the police too. What they will not get is criminal charges.

And, of course, not only in this case, but in all cases, never speak to law enforcement! Every protest should have a designated police liaison, to whom you should refer all questions to or from the cops. There are only four phrases police should ever hear from us: “Am I free to leave?” “I do not consent to a search.” “I am going to remain silent.” “I want my attorney.”

An escalation from the abusers should be matched by an escalation from us, and this may apply most to their acts of physical aggression.

But fighting back in the moment trades seconds of action for years of possible legal problems. Fighting back later can last months, and keeps the cops doing what they do best – nothing. If your assailant thinks they got away with it at the store, that smirk won’t last long when activists show up to protest outside their home. Show them that the pride of any campaign is its diversity of tactics.

And show them that physical aggression cannot intimidate us. This is most elegantly achieved by returning to the scene of the crime (safely) with surprise escalation, even just longer or more frequent visits. To go super tough guy on people and watch them just double down on you is disheartening even for the experts in personal failure, loss prevention professionals.

Legal escalation in the face of repression demoralizes the target company, ensures the campaign’s legal sustainability, and sends other employees a loud message to back up or expect problems.

Anything on social media will be used against you by law enforcement.

Cops have long been able to access your social media and other platforms, including WhatsApp, which is unfortunately treated as secure by many activists.

If video is best left private, you and others should not upload it to the cloud, keep it on your phone (or any unencrypted hard drive), or share it via social media, text message, or chat apps. As of this date, Signal is trusted if no one physically accessed the phone. (Don’t go crazy – you never know.)

Exculpatory video may be provided to an attorney for safe-keeping. If one possesses incriminating video, it is illegal to destroy, conceal, or alter this evidence of a crime. Note that this only applies if the destruction or concealment was willful and knowing, and often also requires some further condition – a contemporaneous investigation or court case, intent to impede or influence investigation, etc.

Get in touch with gratitude.

Though they can be unnerving, never let these sales floor soldiers get you down. There is no cause for concern.

We have inspired the paragons of luxury to attempt fistfights in their doorways. Their desperate acts heighten the sense of crisis we cultivate, while shoppers grimace and cross to the opposite sidewalk. The only ones they hurt are themselves.

And with each resulting victory, we are always sure to include that campaign’s assailants in our celebration toasts.


To our friends, the heroes of the Moncler and Stone Island loss prevention units.

January 2022 Campaign Update + Fur-Free D&G

At CAFT, our New Year’s resolution was to act with mercy and compassion in our hearts, and our hearts are telling us to put the wretched fur industry out of its misery by any means necessary. We are happy to oblige.

Let’s take a look back at the incredible month in fur.

Fur-Free: Moncler, Dolce & Gabbana, Zegna Group!

In one historic week, three leading international fashion houses dropped out of the fur trade forever.

January 25: Moncler (2024)

The Moncler campaign began on September 24, 2021, and the company weathered 123 days of sustained action in over a dozen cities before tapping out.

This timing was lucky – big moves were in the works. We had already granted them a secondary targeting sneak peak, against two institutional investors and sister brand Stone Island. And this was the first CAFT campaign to see multiple groups in different cities all doing weekly demos, rain or shine. Good times had by all.

CAFT has yet to determine the impact of Italy’s recent fur farming ban on the criteria, process, or timing behind Moncler’s decision. Nor the ban’s financial impact, if any, on Moncler. Investigation is underway.

We cannot express enough our solidarity and gratitude, towards everybody who took action for this historic victory. It belongs to all of us, and we’re only stronger for the next one.

January 26/31: Dolce & Gabbana (2022)

New York City activists have guided activity against D&G for years, often operating in conjunction with others in London, Toronto, and Los Angeles. The January 31 fur-free announcement by D&G and friends pulled huge international media, both from D&G’s name recognition and the timing alongside Moncler (and despite a January 26 leak). Italy’s recent fur farming ban also made for maximum effect.

Most noteworthy: D&G’s commitment to continue its work with furriers, using new materials. This protects workers, precludes their return to fur, and may introduce fur alternatives to peers. Most vitally, the program’s success would be a model for Fendi, and its highly skilled fur atelier and fur supply chain workers. This model is being implemented right now, in their own country.

Dolce & Gabbana is a company whose founders rack up felony charges between ranting to the press about Asians or gay parents. They relish controversy and stage mock protests and boycotts against themselves and their critics. And yet, even these people refuse to risk having their brand image associated with fur any longer.

This one should really be a wake-up call for those still using fur. The company that named its footwear “Slave Sandals” just became your more forward-thinking competitor.

February 1: Zegna Group (2023)

After the Moncler victory, CAFT announced a new priority target: Zegna Group, the planet’s largest menswear company and owner of brands Ermenegildo Zegna and Thom Browne.

On January 29, the campaign launched. And on February 1, it ended with Zegna Group going fur-free – a four-day victory.

Zegna Group is the first CAFT campaign target with the prescience to spare itself months of strife – a landmark development in our war against fur.

This is the result when companies understand not only that the future is fur-free – but also that the past is neither instruction nor comfort against the movement bringing that future to their doorsteps right now.

Campaign Launch: LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton

CAFT launched the LVMH campaign on January 29 with protests in multiple cities.

LVMH is a behemoth. Early strategy calls for general action against all LVMH targets:

  • Fur houses (current): Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Loro Piana, Berluti
  • Not fur-free: 9 fashion houses insist they can bring back fur any time
  • Other LVMH subsidiaries and investments
  • Affiliates of any of the above or LVMH (partners, collaborators, co-owners, investors, board member financial ties, consultants, suppliers, sponsorships, brand ambassadors)
  • Events sponsored by any of the above (one angle at alcohol, perfume brands)
  • NEVER Fur-free fashion brands (public commitment):
    • NOT Sephora (fur-free announcement – mink lashes)
    • NOT Fur-free department stores – nor LVMH brand concessions inside those stores
    • NOT Stella McCartney (all vegan)

Variety is the spice of life – mix it up!

Questions? Comments? Don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Find the initial campaign announcement here.

Is It Possible That the Fur Commission Did Something Competent?
CAFT Investigates…

Fur Commission USA is officially operating under a new executive director, Challis Hobbs.

At 30 years old, with an MBA and no known QAnon affiliation, Hobbs is a brand new image for the American fur industry. He was raised on a fourth-generation mink farm in Preston, Idaho, and comes to the Fur Commission after five years at international auction house Saga Furs, which remains solvent to date of writing.

Besides the traditional mandate to perjure and prevaricate, Hobbs’ areas of focus may include: a jobs program for future ex-farmers run in partnership with Burger King; successful import of mink vaccine FurcoVac absent any conspiracy-fueled member revolt; FCUSA bridge tournaments to kill time waiting for the fabled pelt price surge; and free Angry Birds credit to cope with the gutting existential pain when that surge fails to materialize.

CAFT will miss former director Michael Whelan. We fondly recall some of the finer moments of Whelan’s tenure, and are inspired by his years-long battle to master the look and style of Tiger King’s Doc Antle. But he will be most remembered for his soul patch, which turned all who gazed upon it to stone.

Soul (patch) brothers: Doc Antle and Michael Whelan.

As for Hobbs, who spits on twelve years of facial grooming precedent, we will report back as we monitor his performance and study the long-term cognitive effects of working at FCUSA. Perhaps the board searched for an anti-Whelan: someone born into their death cult but with the capacity to succeed outside of it. Or perhaps they just enjoy a reminder that their children have a shot to escape their way of life.

This new beginning demands a welcoming gift. So, Challis, from all of us at CAFT, we hope you are enjoying your beautiful full-bound United States Bankruptcy Code, 2022 Edition. Good luck.

January 2021 – A Look Back

On January 26, 2021, Alice + Olivia announced that it was going fur-free after 18 actions in 11 days, including one visit from a very upset bunny. This was the second campaign victory for a fledgling CAFT. We could not have imagined that Saks Fifth Avenue would follow suit only two months later, and certainly not the successes that the rest of the year would bring (nor breaking the 11-day record). Exactly one year after A+O, Dolce & Gabbana’s fur-free policy was reported.

We have arrived.

Be on the watch for a coming breakdown of the Zegna victory, plus a look at the impact of the major fashion houses on the fur industry as a whole. We will ask the question that we should all be asking ourselves regularly: Is this working?

Victory! Zegna Group Goes Fur-Free in 4 Days

For immediate release: 

February 1, 2022


(310) 818-3169

Today, February 1, 2022, Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) celebrates Zegna Group’s decision to announce a fur-free policy. 

We initiated a campaign of protest against Zegna Group four days ago. They heard the message loud and clear, and immediately took action to protect the environment and remedy the cruelty inflicted upon the beavers and minks used in their jackets.

Zegna Group, owner of fashion houses Zegna (formerly Ermenegildo Zegna) and Thom Browne, is the largest menswear company on the planet. Their annual revenue is $1.2 billion. One might think that a company of that size would not have their ears open to the public. We are impressed with Zegna’s responsiveness to their consumers and other stakeholders, who don’t want them supporting the ecological devastation and animal abuse of the fur trade.

The word is out now for every designer with any sense. No longer is the public willing to stand by and listen to empty promises about sustainability in fashion. If you use fur, we will come, and we will win.

The fur industry is dying. It’s time to jump ship and join the future. But if you’d prefer to stick with fur and experience that industry’s reality, the Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade is happy to oblige.

Below is Zegna’s confirmation to us, which was accompanied by social media posts. In all sincerity, the letter is thoughtful, and we commend Zegna for considering the matter in the way that they did.

New Campaigns to Crush Fur: LVMH and Zegna

The next phase of the fight against fur will take on two titans of fashion:

Zegna Group: Zegna Group is the largest menswear company in the world, with $1.5 billion in annual revenue. It controls the brands Ermenegildo Zegna and Thom Browne, both of which use fur. The company went public on the New York Stock Exchange in December, 2021, and now is the time to strike. Zegna Group and its business partners are the top priority in the fight against fur.

LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton: LVMH is the largest corporation in Europe. Its founder, Bernard Arnault, is the third richest person on the planet. LVMH controls 75 different brands, of which 14 are fashion brands. Those that use fur are Dior, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Loro Piana, and Berluti, but others that have refused to announce a fur-free policy include Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Celine, and Loewe. All are responsible for the terror and torture propagated by LVMH.

CAFT always wins. We are seven for seven in our victories. We will go to our graves before we accept defeat.

There is no question that the future is fur-free. The question is just how quickly these companies will join the rest of their industry. However long, rest assured that CAFT will be there, escalating the fight against fur until total victory.

Victory: Moncler Embraces a Fur-Free Future


For immediate release: 

January 25, 2022


(310) 818-3169

Today, January 25, 2022, Coalition to Abolish the Fur Trade (CAFT) celebrates Moncler’s historic decision to announce a fur-free policy. When CAFT initiated our campaign four months ago, we knew that Moncler would do the right thing for the foxes, raccoons, and coyotes whose relatives currently line its jackets – not to mention for the planet and our climate.

In 123 days, Moncler, its subsidiary Stone Island, and its lead investors experienced protests at a rate of one every two days.

Moncler as a brand was built on its signature quilted jacket – a garment whose most luxurious and coveted versions were trimmed with fur. Moncler sold more fur items than any other luxury European fashion house to go fur-free thus far. This is an unprecedented victory for the animal rights movement. Whether they admit it to themselves or not, the entire luxury industry knows it: the days of fur are numbered.

The next phase of the fight against fur will take on two titans of fashion: LVMH, Europe’s largest corporation, and Zegna, the world’s largest menswear company. Together, they control sixteen fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Thom Browne. Though these companies currently lag behind their competitors, it is inevitable that they too will embrace sustainability and accept the reality of a future without fur.

CAFT looks forward to announcing the future fur-free policies of Zegna and LVMH – and the future collapse of the barbaric fur industry.

New Campaign: Moncler Is Next to Get It

Now that we have defeated iconic European fashion house Saint Laurent, it’s on to Moncler.

Moncler is an Italian fashion whose whose meteoric rise to luxury stardom was based on billionare Remo Ruffini’s vision of luxury sprotswear, specifically Moncler’s signature quilted jacket. The most high-end models of this brand signature are lined with the skins of tortured foxes, coyotes, and raccoons.

Recently, Moncler’s junior North American competitor, Canada Goose, removed fur from its signature quilted jackets. Moncler has no excuse.

Moncler uses more fur than any fashion brand we have yet to take on. Time to show them that their days of using fur are numbered. Until they find a new way to fill their bank accounts, they will deal with the international anti-fur movement.

Mink Production Meltdown 2020

At last September’s board meeting of the Fur Commission USA, Executive Director and soul patch-wearer Michael Whelan lamented, “A lot of people aren’t sure if there’s still going to be ranching this time next year.”

CAFT USA ordinarily hesitates to praise Whelan in any capacity, but with the recent release of the USDA’s 2020 Agricultural Statistics Survey for Mink, we are overjoyed to give credit where it is due. The fur industry is in existential danger.

A race to the bottom

In 2020, mink production in the United States fell 49%, the largest change in recorded history. It fell to 1.4 million pelts, the lowest in recorded history. Nearly one and a half million minks were spared lives of misery and terror, as compared to the prior year.

Just one decade ago, in 2011, industry revenue was at an all-time high of $292 million. In 2020, it hit $47 million, its all-time low. In that period, the value of a mink pelt dropped from $94.30 to $33.70, beneath the cost of production for many farmers, who are operating at a loss, if they remain in business at all.

Setting the record straight

For decades, the fur industry has stumbled through a balancing act of its own lies. On the one hand, snowflake fur farmers howl about animal rights activists destroying their way of life. On the other, urban charlatans front a propaganda operation depicting fur as a trendy, thriving industry with a bright future.

But the current situation is so abysmal that even the goons at the Fur Commission and the American Fur Council can’t spin it. Since the numbers came out, they have been completely silent, aside from excusing themselves at work to cry in the office bathroom. In fact, the production statistics proudly displayed on the Fur Commission’s web homepage haven’t been updated since 2018.

Still, because lying is their raison d’être, it is inevitable that when asked by the historians (and psychopathologists) of the future, they will cite the global Covid-19 pandemic as the cause of their downfall. The truth is in the data. Production and revenue have been declining for years, with farmers across the country condemned to the tough justice of financial ruin. In 2019, the industry put 48% fewer female minks into breeding production than the year before. In other words, well before Covid hit, the fur industry was in free-fall.

In 2020, the number of female minks put into breeding production fell once again, by another 10%. This was in spite of the fact that fur farmers siphoned off millions of dollars of Covid relief money from public coffers to keep their failing operations afloat.

We have a message for these fur farmers: Wal-Mart is hiring.

A message for the movement

Our message to activists lies in movement history. In the early 1990s, activists made similar progress against fur, setting the prior record for decreased pelt production (-27%). With the exception of a few groups, a self-assured animal rights movement wrote the industry off as dead and shifted focus. The result was an industry comeback.

The takeaway is clear: the latest numbers are a call to action, not a case for apathy. What we are doing is working. We have the opportunity to literally end an entire sector of animal exploitation.

As stated by Whelan, the Fur Commission does “have the reserves to operate for another two years, probably, without any revenue. And we will continue to operate as long as we can, just like I know the ranchers want to continue to operate as long as they can.”

It is our job to make sure that they can’t.

Unfortunately, due to decreased supply, price per pelt is rising sharply, offering an opportunity for the industry to rebound. The way we stop this is to decrease demand – continuing to hammer the fashion retail sector.

In the fur industry, a trapper never takes his foot from the neck of an animal until they stop moving. Now is not the time to take our foot from the neck of the fur industry – it’s the time to press down harder, and do away with fur once and for all.

VICTORY! Oscar de la Renta is going fur free!

Following an intense week of secondary targeting, Oscar de la Renta has informed CAFT that they will be fur free by October 31, 2021:

“Oscar de la Renta does not use fur in its fashion collections or sell fur in its stores, and will not in the future. In addition, once the [fur contractor] license ‘sell-off’ period ends [on 10/31/2021], no new products that use fur and bear the Oscar de la Renta trademark will be offered for sale.”

When he was alive, Oscar de la Renta was notable for his ardently pro-fur stance, which remained steadfast despite pies in the face and protests on the runway through the 1990s. However, when CAFT began this campaign, ODLR had a decreasing number of fur pieces on their website. Like many competitors taking note of industry trends, they had not shown fur on the runway for the past couple of years. When protests began, they even removed the remaining fur from their site.

But they still refused to make any commitment regarding their use of fur. They spoke of their recent years with little fur, and their current moment with no fur, but would not even acknowledge firm requests for information regarding their future. Their claims were a bit slippery, and their framing evasive. Different company officials gave differing accounts. We at CAFT began to feel as though we were being stalled.

So what happened in the week between those communications and this communication detailing a clear commitment to a fur-free future, complete with timeline?

What happened is secondary targeting. In this instance, CAFT made a strategic decision to initiate a campaign against ODLR’s lead investor and 20% owner, GF Capital (the CEO of which also sits on ODLR’s board). GF Capital’s Managing Director of Real Estate received two home demonstrations in one day. Jonathan Adler, a furniture chain owned by GF Capital, found its stores invaded and chalked. And the future looked bleak for GF Capital, with imminent plans directed at GF’s sports division in multiple cities. ODLR home demonstrations were forthcoming, as were more protests directed at their third party retailers (like the handful of luxury bridal boutiques that partner with them) across the country, and licensees like Paperless Post.

We stated this when announcing this escalation:

“Secondary targeting works. ODLR will learn that as long as they sell fur, everything they touch will be tainted by that decision. And the longer they hold out, the more creative we will become at turning them into an industry pariah.

We can’t help but wonder how GF Capital and their investments feel about being held to account for animal cruelty, simply because ODLR pridefully refuses to join the rest of the world and go fur free. We may never find out, but we can be sure of one thing: the executives at ODLR will be hearing a lot about it.”

Secondary targeting did work. ODLR did hear about it. And the result is victory for the animals.

Read the news article from WWD here:

New ODLR Target: GF Capital

Oscar de la Renta Campaign Update:

Oscar de la Renta would like you to believe that change is taking place.

For decades, ODLR has taken a strong pro-fur stance in the face of protests on the runway and pies in the face. But suddenly, after just a little bit of attention from CAFTivists, they have removed all of the fur from their website.

What does this mean? Who the hell knows? But one thing hasn’t changed:

ODLR still refuses to make a commitment regarding their future with fur. No plan. No policy. No dates. Nothing. They refuse to even acknowledge the question.

And if they believe that a non-committal website edit will trick activists into abandoning the animals, clearly they have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

ODLR has been playing the victim since this campaign began. Now, they are playing games with animals’ lives. Here at CAFT, we don’t play. It’s time to show them how serious we are.

So CAFT will be hitting them where it hurts: their finances.

New Target: GF Capital

GF Capital Management & Advisors LLC is Oscar de la Renta’s lead institutional investor. They own 20% of ODLR. Their CEO, Gary Fuhrman, is on the board of ODLR. And as financiers of fur, they are now in the same mess as ODLR.

Headquartered in New York City, GF Capital focuses on investments in fashion/design, sports/entertainment, and real estate. Their companies have locations and stakeholders in cities across the country, all of which would love to get a friendly visit from local activists.

And it’s already started. On July 24, activists in Houston did a peaceful home demonstration at the residence of GF Capital’s Managing Director for Real Estate, James Taussig. And after warning the public about the animal abuser in their neighborhood, they came back the same evening during a party James was throwing, to inform his guests. Meanwhile, activists in Los Angeles paid a visit to the Melrose Place location of Jonathan Adler, a luxury furniture store chain owned by GF Capital. With bullhorns blaring and police helicopters overhead, they made sure that their impact would travel all the way up to the GF top brass.

It may feel strange or uncomfortable to protest at a furniture store owned by a finance company, or at a bridal shop holding an ODLR trunk show – but the fact that these entities have no vested interest in ODLR’s fur makes the protest that much more impactful, ramping up the pressure on GF Capital and ODLR.

Secondary targeting works. ODLR will learn that as long as they sell fur, everything they touch will be tainted by that decision. And the longer they hold out, the more creative we will become at turning them into an industry pariah.

We can’t help but wonder how GF Capital and their investments feel about being held to account for animal cruelty, simply because ODLR pridefully refuses to join the rest of the world and go fur free. We may never find out, but we can be sure of one thing: the executives at ODLR will be hearing a lot about it.

And GF Capital is just the first. Since ODLR likes games so much, we can’t wait to show them all the fun we have lined up for them. The message for the rest of the world is clear: deal with Oscar, deal with us.