Animal rights activists arrested in protest at Harborplace store

February 06, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

Five animal rights' advocates, two dressed in pink pig suits, were arrested at Harborplace's Light Street pavilion yesterday, protesting against a store they say contributes to the cruel deaths of wild animals in the Hawaiian rain forest.

Members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shouted slogans, distributed literature and handcuffed themselves to the doors of the Nature Company, which sells science and environmental materials.

They were protesting the store's support of the Nature %o Conservancy, an environmental group that the protesters contend uses wire snares to trap wild pigs on its rain forest lands in Hawaii.

PETA says the pigs and other animals caught in the snares die slow, agonizing deaths.

The Nature Company and the Nature Conservancy say the pigs, which were brought by settlers to the islands and became wild, are destroying the rain forest and must be eliminated.

"At the heart of this is a split in environmental groups between the eco-system managers and the animal rights advocates," said George Cruys, a spokesman for the Nature Company in Berkeley, Calif.

The Nature Company has raised about $1 million for the Nature Conservancy in the past five years. None of the money goes directly to the Hawaiian preserve, however, Mr. Cruys said.

"It's not a method we like," Alan Holt, director of the Nature Conservancy's stewardship programs in Hawaii, said of the traps. The Conservancy lays snares in about 4,000 of its 20,000 acres of rain forest, he said. It has tried hunting the pigs and fencing the land, but he said snaring is needed.

PETA has been demonstrating at Nature Company stores for about a year.

Yesterday, Baltimore police arrested Mike Markarian, 19; Jennifer Boffinger, 25; Connie Schaeffer, 28; and Joel Zink, 19, all of Washington, D.C.; and Peter Wood, 32, of Silver Spring. All were taken to Central District station and charged with trespassing.

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