A ban on pets? San Francisco goes too far

(Photo: Thinkstock)(Photo: Thinkstock)Jennifer Aniston just got her dog's name tattooed on her foot. Cats are so smart they can blame things on the dog. Even ugly animals are kind of cute. Pets can do amazing things.

And now, San Francisco wants to ban them.

The Los Angles Times reports that The Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal has been sent to the Board of Supervisors. The proposal was originally intended to protect just dogs and cats-the idea was to discourage puppy and kitten mills, breeding facilities that put profits before animal welfare-but it was shelved in 2010 after it was expanded to include anything with fur, scales, or feathers.

Yes, even the sale of goldfish and guppies would be prohibited under the proposal. The pet industry, which pulls in as much as $50 billion a year, is outraged, but activists say the law would end needless suffering and save money and animal lives.

"Why fish? Why not fish?" Philip Gerrie, the proposal's co-author and a member of the San Francisco's Commission of Animal Control and Welfare told the LA Times. "From Descartes on up, in the Western mindset, fish and other nonhuman animals don't have feelings, they don't have emotions, we can do whatever we want to them. If we considered them living beings, we would deal with them differently.… Our culture sanctions this, treating them as commodities and expendable."

But even PETA seems to think the ban goes too far: They've spoken out in the past about San Francisco's horse-drawn carriages and declawing cats, and while their stance against pet-breeding facilities is clear, they're not officially backing the proposed pet ban in San Francisco.

"This selfish desire to possess animals and receive love from them causes immeasurable suffering, which results from manipulating their breeding, selling or giving them away casually, and depriving them of the opportunity to engage in their natural behavior," PETA says on their website. "Contrary to myth, PETA does not want to confiscate animals who are well cared for and 'set them free.' What we want is for the population of dogs and cats to be reduced through spaying and neutering and for people to adopt animals (preferably two so that they can keep each other company when their human companions aren't home) from pounds or animal shelters-never from pet shops or breeders-thereby reducing suffering in the world."

Even with the ban, it would still be legal to sell live animals for human consumption (though not for feeding to other live animals-according to Commissioner Pam Hemphill, feeding a live snake a live rat "doesn't seem very humane to me," even if that's what snakes eat in the wild). That means buying a live lobster and boiling it for your dinner is still OK.

Shhhhh. Don't tell Mother Nature.

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