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Portland Vegans Are Now Protesting Leather Stores

A group of around a dozen protesters set up outside Will Leather Goods this afternoon.

Fur protests in Portland are nothing new—a decade ago, activists protested a furrier with such intensity that the downtown store closed.

But leather protests are a new phenomenon.

This afternoon, the Portland store from Eugene-based, family-owned Will Leather was targeted by group of around a dozen protestors with the organization Promotion of Equality, Acceptance and Compassion Everywhere (PEACE).

Lining the sidewalk in front of the store, the protesters passed out PETA fliers, held signs and played a documentary on animal cruelty from a laptop as shoppers passed by.

Cheyanne Holliday of suburban Battle Ground, Wash. organized the protest.

She says they targeted Will because, "honestly, it's convenience and foot traffic. It's a pretty successful store."

Last month, activists upset by a contributor's essay about charms of fur coats protested outside the WW offices and met with our publisher. They penned a response article on the evils of fur trapping that was published on WW's website as well. That piece discussed the horrors of trapping and took aim at arguments that trapping invasive species was a good idea.

"What gives us the right to determine who is, and is not, 'invasive?' Right now, the U.S. Administration has determined that certain immigrants, many desperately fleeing unimaginable violence in their country-of- origin, are 'invasive,'" wrote anti-fur activist Dani Rukin. "Is that the kind of world we want to live in?"

The impetus behind this afternoon's demonstration, Holliday said, is the same as was for the fur protest.

"During our fur protests, we often do protest leather," she said. "Leather is obviously another part of the horrific animal agriculture industry."

According to Holliday, today's protest didn't get much attention from shoppers.

"I personally haven't had many conversations with people today," she said. "People are very adamant to just walk by.

As a man with a dachshund rushed past, she added, "People with dogs are especially not willing to talk."

"It's cognitive dissonance," she said. "They don't want to think that they're a part of animal cruelty."

A group of teenagers a block north at Salt & Straw was particularly unimpressed with the demonstration.

"Seriously, PETA!" one young woman said.

The manager of Will declined comment.