Thursday, April 26, 2007

Newbury Comics Bows to PETA Pressure, Goes Fur-Free

Popular Record Chain Pulls Rabbit Fur From Its Stores Hours After Group Posts Online Action Alert

Just hours after PETA posted an action alert on its heavily trafficked youth Web site,, asking visitors to contact Newbury Comics and urge the company to stop selling cat and dog figurines made from rabbit fur, the store removed the figurines from its shelves. Newbury didn't respond to PETA's repeated calls about the items over the past year, but shortly after PETA posted the action alert on April 16, the company announced that all stock had been removed from its stores.

Newberry founder and co-owner Mike Dreese, in response to one of the hundreds of e-mails generated by the action alert, said, "The last few dozen leftover, unsold pieces were removed from our stores yesterday. Thanks for your concern and opinion. It was shared by many on staff …." Dreese confirmed the move in a phone call to PETA later that day. Brighton, Mass.-based Newbury Comics is a youth-oriented record chain that sells CDs, DVDs, and novelties and operates 27 stores in five New England states. The company's total annual sales are approximately $78 million.

Why all the fuss over a few furry figurines? Rabbits on fur farms are confined to tiny, filthy cages and never have the chance to touch the ground. They are killed by having their necks broken or their skulls smashed before they are hung upside-down and decapitated. Much of the rabbit fur used to make products sold in the U.S. comes from China—the world's leading fur exporter—where not a single law protects animals on fur farms.

"The way that rabbits and other animals are killed for fur is nothing that any reputable business would want to be associated with," says PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich. "We commend Newbury Comics for ridding its stores of fur and refusing to support one of the cruelest industries on the planet."

For more information, please visit PETA's Web site

Fort Lauderdale Teen Wins PETA Award For Tireless Efforts To Defend Animals

'Street Teamer' Leads peta2's Local Charge Against KFC Cruelty, Despite Being Butcher's Son and One-Time Vegetarian Foe

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — Seventeen-year-old Fort Lauderdale resident Michael DiMartino has won an "Outstanding Activist" Award from peta2—the world's largest youth animal rights organization—for his unrelenting fight to get KFC to stop its suppliers' worst abuses of chickens and for other animal-related heroics, including getting his school to cancel a pig-kissing contest.

At first glance, DiMartino might appear to be an unlikely candidate for an animal rights activist. His father is a butcher, and he chose to debate against vegetarianism in a 10th-grade public speaking class. But it was his preparation for that debate—in which he visited PETA's Web site to acquaint himself with his opponents' arguments—that began his transformation. After watching PETA's hard-hitting video "Meet Your Meat," DiMartino couldn't wait to join the ranks of his former vegetarian foes.

DiMartino organizes "KFC Cruelty" protests every chance he gets, including one in January, when KFC honchos held a regional meeting in Miami and were greeted by three lovely naked women standing behind a banner that read, "KFC Tortures Chicks." The KFC execs—and nearly all Miami media outlets—took notice. DiMartino isn't just a friend to chickens. When he learned that his school was having a pig-kissing contest, he organized a letter-writing campaign to explain to the administration that such exhibits are no fun for pigs, who are often terrified by the commotion and strange surroundings. Two days before the contest was scheduled to take place, the school announced that instead of using a real pig, a teacher would wear a pig costume and dole out kisses. The event was a great success.

"Michael knows that compassion is a sign of strength, and he's using his to fight animal suffering anywhere he can," says peta2's Street Team coordinator, Pulin Modi. "He's setting an example not only in his school and community but also for hundreds of thousands of other peta2 Street Teamers to follow."

DiMartino will receive a certificate for his efforts, and he is featured on as an inspiration to peta2's more than 220,000 "Street Team" members.

For more information, please visit or click here to learn more about Michael.