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Fur protesters target Park City crowd

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 21 2009 10:30 a.m. MST

Chase Masterson walks past a line of animal rights activists as they protest fur clothing on Main Street in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. Chase Masterson walks past a line of animal rights activists as they protest fur clothing on Main Street in Park City during the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday. "It's fake fur," she told the protestors. "I don't want to wear animals, I just want to look like them." They quickly backed off. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PARK CITY — People dressed up in costumes at the Sundance Film Festival? That's nothing new. And believe it or not, the sight of people who are made up to look like flesh-eating zombies isn't new to Park City or the festival either.

The difference this time was that the "zombies" were members of the Animal Defense League of Salt Lake City, who were to make a point about supposed acts of animal cruelty.

Bearing signs that read such slogans as "Fur is dead," "Fur is for zombies," and "Fur is dead ugly," a dozen or so members of the Salt Lake-based group protested outside the Park City Furs location on Main Street Sunday afternoon.

According to organizers, the idea was to "create a spectacle with a message."

The festival "is known for its fur-bearing attendees. This is why we chose Sundance to educate," Jordan Halliday explained. "We understand that some fur wearers don't realize the destruction their garment may have caused."

Brittany Davis, of Sugar House, yells as she protests fur wearers with other animal rights activists in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Brittany Davis, of Sugar House, yells as she protests fur wearers with other animal rights activists in Park City. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

(This year's festival also featured an appearance well-known fur advocate, Vogue magazine Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, who is the subject of the Sundance documentary "The September Issue.")

Co-organizer Stewart Thorpe said "fur is murder for the sake of luxury and vanity.

"There is absolutely nothing elegant about this needless cruelty," Thorpe said.

As for why the protesters were dressed as zombies, Halliday said it was meant as symbolism. "When people wear fur, what they are really wearing are corpses."

Andrew Nichols, floor manager for Park City Furs, said the protesters were welcome to make their points "as long as they don't get too verbal.

"We understand they want to make a point, and as long as they're not threatening our customers we don't have a problem with them."

And besides, "you never know, people might come into the store to protest the protesters," Nichols chuckled.

Also, some spectators seemed unsure whether the protest was part of a movie promotion or a festival event. (Ironically, one film featuring zombie characters, the Norwegian horror movie "Dead Snow," is playing in Sundance this year.)

Earlier in the day, the group met up at and had a brief "practice protest" outside Salt Lake's Tower Theatre, which is another festival venue.

E-mail: jeff@desnews.com

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