On Saturday February 20th, activists from Island Animal Liberation entered The Empress hotel and spoke out against the two fur retailers that operate within its walls.
Demonstrators held signs saying “Fur Kills” and spoke out against how these two fur retailers do not reflect the values of Victorians. Starting outside of one of the fur retailers and then walking through the lobby of The Empress hotel chanting “It’s not fashion, it’s violence” and other slogans, the demonstration lasted about seven minutes.
Last week, during IAL’s National Anti-Fur Day demonstration which also took place in other cities across Canada, the demonstrators were barred from entering The Empress hotel after protesting outside for approximately two hours prior. Employees from The Empress told demonstrators that only hotel guests were welcome inside at this time and formed a line to stop their entrance. During Saturday’s demonstration police were called and attended once demonstrators were already outside. They told demonstrators that they could be arrested for trespassing if they did a similar action again.
Every year approximately 3 million animals are killed for their fur in Canada by wild trapping and fur farming. There are little to no regulations protecting animals in this industry as it is self-regulated by those within the industry and not by the government. Eighty percent of the world’s fur is produced in China where conditions can be much worse. Fur products imported into Canada do not have to be labeled real fur, or cat or dog fur which is not uncommon to be used in China. Nearly 100 million animals each year are killed world-wide by the fur industry.
Nat Bosa, the new owner of The Empress hotel which is currently undergoing renovations has not responded to requests for comment on the demonstrations. Empress staff have commented that the fur retailers have a lease which the hotel would be hard pressed to end without cause. There has been no response yet on if The Empress plans to take action.
Island Animal Liberation is asking the public to join their demonstrations, sign their online petition, and to contact The Empress by phone or email to let them know they do not agree with them continuing to host the two fur retailers in their hotel. You can find details on how to contact them on their website here. Further demonstrations are planned in the weeks to come.
Victoria Animal News