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Wetlands Works Newsletter January 2000

Santa Lists Gap as Naughty, Not Nice

Santa and his merry elves brought their holiday cheer to shoppers at the upper eastside Gap on December 17th. There they brought the message to young and old to boycott the Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic because of the companies' involvement in redwood forest destruction and their use of sweatshop labor on the island of Saipan..

"Ho, ho, ho, Gap's gotta go!" said Santa. "Sweatshop labor? That's not holiday!" he emphasized, referring to the slogan hung over the sweatshop sewn clothes in the store's holiday window displays.

Santa's demonstration followed on the heels of the largest Gap demo to date which occurred in November on Buy Nothing Day weekend (the weekend following Thanksgiving). This protest was a joint effort with the Global Sweatshop Coalition and Reverend Billy & the Church of Stop Shopping. After speeches in front of the Times Square Gap, and a march to a local sweatshop, demonstrators completed the "sweatshop tour" at the Times Square Disney store. The demonstration also addressed the connection between labor abuses and the World Trade Organization. Gap owner Don Fisher has officially advised the three most recent administrations on WTO-related matters (NAFTA, GATT, etc.) via the U.S. Trade Representative's Advisory Council on Trade Negotiations.

January marks the one-year anniversary of the lawsuit against the users of sweatshops in Saipan, which almost half of Gap's co-defendants (other companies like J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Polo) have already settled by agreeing to contribute funds to a sweatshop monitoring system.

Mass Sit-In at Macy's Protests Sale of Fur

On Sunday, December 19, the Animal Defense League of New York City held a successful sit-in at Macy's Herald Square on 34th street. Activists from all over the east coast drew attention to Macy's role in the fur trade taking new steps in the non-violent fight to save the innocent lives of millions. The sit-in lasted for nearly two hours. About thirty activists took part and twenty-three were arrested when they were asked to leave by law enforcement and refused to move. Of those arrested in the store, all were charged with trespassing, and fifteen who refused to move when arrested and were dragged out of the store by police were given an additional charge of resisting arrest and were released from jail the next day.

The animal rights activists sat down at the center of the main floor of the Macy's store, chanting, "Boycott Macy's, fur is murder!" and, "No more cages, no more traps, no more fur on Macy's racks!" Hundreds of holiday shoppers heard the message loud and clear.

At about 11 a.m. nearly a hundred activists were outside the front of the store on 34th street to support the mass sit-in and bring the message to thousands of consumers in the busy Christmas rush that Macy's is in the business of torturing and killing animals for money.

On December 28th the ADL again visited Macy's, presenting them with an eight foot tall, twenty foot long "fox" covered head to tail in copies of signed petitions demanding that Macy's stop selling fur. The giant fox showed the signatures of thousands of customers who have committed to boycott the store until they get out of the fur trade.

The ADL and Wetlands activists have in the past used regular public demonstrations, street theatre, petitioning, and civil disobedience to expose the reality of the enormous suffering of fur bearing animals and Macy's prominent role in the fur trade.

Anti-Consumerism Activism Can Be Costly

As we told you last month, activists of People of Earth draped this beautiful 2,750 square foot banner over a billboard just outside the Lincoln Tunnel. The ensuing legal battle and possible fines, however, could cost them a bundle. If you can help make actions like this one continue to be able to happen by contributing to their legal defense fund, please send donations (checks made payable to Rainforest Relief) to:
Rainforest Relief P.O. Box 150566 Brooklyn, NY 11215