On the busiest shopping day of the year, animal rights advocates ruined dozens of fur coats donated by sympathizers Friday by pouring simulated animal blood on the expensive pelts.

"It's a symbolic gesture to let people know about the reality of fur coats," said Jayn Meinhardt. "The reality is that animal blood, pain and suffering goes into each fur coat."A coalition of animal rights groups picketed on Fountain Square, just a block away from numerous retail stores where some people were shopping for fur coats. The protesters urged passers-by to donate their fur coats and swear off buying or wearing fur pieces. The four-hour demonstration yielded a large pile of fur coats for destruction.

"We had women decide to give up mink coats and men decide to give up raccoon hats," said Meinhardt, a leader of a group called "People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals."