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September 17, 2010

Talk Back: Fur-Free Talbots, Florida Fox Penning Ban

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, speaking at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service
Jacob Slaton
Speaking at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service.

I was pleased yesterday to be a guest speaker at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. Addressing a diverse and enthusiastic crowd, I encouraged attendees to consider animal protection as one element of their broader commitment to public service and as one critical thread in the tapestry of what makes a truly humane society. I pointed to the state’s enactment of legislation to impose felony-level penalties for malicious acts of animal cruelty—in a campaign led by the state’s dynamic, young Attorney General, Dustin McDaniel—as an important beginning step in the process.

Indeed, progress is occurring on so many fronts, and in so many places, as we as a society become more alert to our responsibilities to other creatures.

Crowd listens to Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, speak at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service
Jacob Slaton
At yesterday's event in Little Rock, Ark.

Earlier this month, reacting to a rush of feedback from customers, the apparel retailer Talbots backed away from a decision to sell fur, pulling its animal fur items and reaffirming its original fur-free policy. In Florida, the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) outlawed fox and coyote pens after a more than year-long campaign by The HSUS and advocates throughout the state. Penning involves the release of trapped coyotes or foxes in a fenced area, where dogs are released to chase down the captive animals—often tearing them apart. Today I share a sample of your comments in response.

About Talbots pledging to remain fur-free:

Hooray for Talbots and all of us who fight the fur industry. —Penelope Ryan
This is fantastic news! I was poised to boycott Talbots (my number-one source for well-made pants), and now I won't have to. Thank you, HSUS, for giving ordinary people like me a voice and chance to make a real difference on behalf of animals. It feels so good to know that I played a part, however small, in turning Talbot's around. —Devon
I am glad Talbots had a change of heart. Proves there is power in numbers! —Linda
Thanks Talbots, for respecting your customers and taking a humane path! —Urbancritter
This is so awesome! It is always incredibly inspiring to see success stories like this one. Thank you to Talbots for acknowledging its mistake and correcting it immediately. —Andrea L.
So impressed with Talbots, so impressed! Thanks to Talbots for remaining fur-free and keeping animal fur where it belongs: on live animals! —Alanna
Well, now I can start buying at Talbots again, so everyone benefits from cruelty free products. Talbots will be making money and I can shop with a clear conscience. You have to stand up for what you believe in. —Pam
Now that is exactly the kind of thing that would get me to actually go shop at a store I had never shopped at before! Way to go Talbots and as always thanks Wayne and all who worked to make this happen. —Doc Chery
I applaud Talbots for deciding to not sell fur anymore. I only wish that so many other stores would stop. —Peggy "Kay" Ranson

And in response to Florida’s ban against the gruesome practice of fox and coyote penning and the tireless work of the Maines family, who spent more than a year documenting what went on in the fox pen next door to their house, took their story to Florida Fish and Wildlife commissioners, and organized a grassroots movement:

Thank you FWC for doing the right thing, and to HSUS for working so hard to get the word out. The world is now a little bit better place, a little bit kinder, a little bit more compassionate. Or at least our little corner of it is here in Florida. And that's something to celebrate! —Kathleen Laufenberg

I live in South Florida and I thank you so much for all that you do. —Sharon L. Cohen

How wonderful and brave of the Maines family and, as always, our tremendous HSUS. So glad the FWC stepped up so well! Another long overdue victory for the precious animals! —Bonnie
I was so elated to hear that Florida had banned the penning of foxes and coyotes. A special thank you for the Maines family whose caring contributed to this ban. —Kitty Jordan, Minneosta
What a brave family to bring this to everyone's attention. Please tell them, along with the FWC, thank you from all of us! This just made me cry and made me sick that this goes on. I never even knew this was happening. What is wrong with people? —Karen Wagner
Bravo Florida and The HSUS! Until I read your blog I had no idea this dreadful practice was going on. No ethical hunter would ever stand for this sort of cruelty! —pj
A hideous, disdainful practice. What amazes me are the so-called humans who take delight in watching something like "penning" take place. —catsmeow
Congratulations for the good work! I am very pleased to hear that we managed to obtain a victory here. Let's keep working so that this ban expands to the whole country! —Norah André

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