Everything you've always wanted to know about the AFL and never dared to ask ;)
"The Anti Fur League (AFL) is a group of anti fur activists with the goal of raising awareness about the issue of real fur in fashion."
'Raising awareness' implies a range of different methods to make the Swiss population aware that fur is in fact a cruel trend. It involves education:
- By maintaining a website for research on all aspects of fur production
- By creating flyers for direct action and flyer teams
- By working together with vegan friendly stores to put up flyers and notices on their doors, making people aware of the cruelty of fur
- By sharing our experiences about activism in blog posts and panel discussion
- By posting regular news about fur and anti fur activism on Facebook
'Raising awareness' also means getting attention, to be seen and heard as a movement:
- By organizing Zurich's first Anti Fur March in 2017 and the second one last year
- By organizing online protests in collaboration with Offensive gegen die Pelzindustrie
- By creating anti fur stickers and promoting their distribution.
We also work closely together with FurFoe, who has been distributing free anti fur stickers in Switzerland and Germany for years.
"We want to encourage political activism with all members and thereby contribute to building a strong, collectively organized anti fur movement across boarders."
From the beginning, it's been very important to us to make the Anti Fur League a bilingual platform. We think we should include english translations in our speeches and slogans much more often, so that our movement become more open to those who don't speak German.
So it's a goal for us to include everyone and also to try an connect with the anti fur movement internationally. We have been very inspired by US and Canadian anti fur activists and try to keep in touch, also with German and Austrian activists. We are already looking back on a few successful collaborations like online protest, poster actions and mutual support for marches and direct action.
"Despite focusing on fur as single issue campaign, we believe in the abolitionist, anti-speciesist approach and identify as part of a broader movement for both human and non-human animal liberation."
Within the political animal rights scene, people often wonder why we focus on fur, even though it's not "worse" than any other form of animal exploitation - and even though it's just one little part of the whole abuse system that comes with capitalism.
We agree - and we would never claim our cause to be worse or more "important" than any other animal rights struggles - but we think it's necessary to differentiate between ideology and strategy. In order for us to get as close as possible to our ideal goal, we have to have flexible strategies that are not completely dependent on ideological dogmas. So our goal is total animal liberation, but we have no choice but to engage in real life politics if we want to be taken seriously. And to be taken seriously is essential in reaching any political goal.
And getting involved in real life politics includes accepting that we live in a society in which most people are not sensitized to animals - even if there a more and more vegans, meat consumption is still rising and the animal exploitation industries are as strong as ever. Real fur becoming a trend again is the perfect example for that: It was widely considered morally unacceptable just a few years ago, and now it's booming more than ever.
"So for us, part of the strategy to take the present situation into consideration: We are unlikely to achieve total animal liberation in a world in which people still wear real fur as a decoration. We need to start by dragging people out of their lethargy in order to create a world in which total liberation is possible.
Also, we see a potential in fur as a single issue, a potential to include people who are not 'part of the scene' already. Because - as opposed to veganism - an anti fur attitude is much more accessible. You might claim differently, but I say it's not so easy to take on a completely vegan lifestyle. Nutrition aside, you have to deal with a lot of stigma and possible isolation when becoming vegan. Not wearing fur, on the other hand, is very easy.
"We hope to open up the scene also by attracting more people from outside the 'bubble', who might not be ready to go vegan - but who are ready to speak up against fur."
Now, where are we going with the Anti Fur League? We have a few new strategies in mind, and we'd just like to share these with you before you go.
So next season (Winter 2019/20), instead of focussing on a march, we will organize an event in solidarity with the anti fur movement - there will be bands, stands, speeches and catering. It will take place in late October, when it's not too cold yet, right before people go out to buy their winter jackets. We hope to attract more young people and students this way, hopefully also from within the climate strike movement.
We also have a bunch of other projects in mind for next season, like donating campaigns, workshops, panel discussions, new flyers/stickers and more collaborations. Looking forward to working together with all of you!*
*Since our 'core team' is also quite small at the moment, we are looking for new members! So if you are in the Zurich area and are interested in organizing to fight fur, please come talk to us. We will have a summer break and then start regular meetings once or twice a month before the start of the next fur season, in August or September.