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Sears Discontinues Stuffed Animals After Protest From Gun Groups

October 26, 1991

CHICAGO (AP) _ Sears, Roebuck and Co. has discontinued a line of stuffed animals after gun lobbyists complained that the retail chain was donating money to an animal rights group.

″We’re eating 67,000 stuffed animals,″ Sears spokeswoman Mary Lou Bilder said Friday. She said she did not know whether any already had been sold.

The stuffed animals were advertised in Sears’ ″Great American Wishbook 1991″ catalog. Eight percent of the wholesale purchase price was to be donated to the Humane Society of the United States. Prices ranged from $13 to $35.

The Wildlife Legislative Fund of America and the National Rifle Association, both hunting lobbyist groups, criticized Sears for being insensitive to the estimated 20 million hunters in America.

The Columbus, Ohio-based WLF had urged its members nationwide to write ″letters of outrage″ to Sears.

WLF spokesman Al Wolter described the Humane Society as ″a hard-line animal-rights organization that raises money with its ‘be kind to animals’ theme and then spends that money supporting a radical animal-rights agenda.″

Helen Mitternight, a Humane Society spokeswoman, would not comment on Sears’ decision. But she said ″we are not a vegetarian organization and we concede the need for some use of animals in research.″

″It’s fallacious for the NRA and other groups to say hunting conserves wildlife,″ she said. ″How? By blowing their brains out?″

Bilder denied that Sears was pressured into dropping merchandise. She said the TCA Group Inc., a Hong Kong manufacturer, was responsible for arranging the donation to the Humane Society, not Sears.

″No one put a gun to our heads,″ she said. ″The promotion violated company policy and we pulled it.″

NRA spokeswoman Mary Kaaren Jolly praised Sears’ response and called on NRA’s 3 million members to write letters of thanks to Sears.

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