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Earth Government Idle

San Francisco Considers Ban On All Pet Sales 733

Hugh Pickens writes "The LA Times reports that the Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal is on its way to the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco. It would ban the sale of any animal that walks, flies, swims, crawls or slithers — unless you plan to eat it. Representatives of the $45-billion to $50-billion-a-year pet industry call the San Francisco proposal 'by far the most radical ban we've seen' nationwide and argue that it would force small operators to close. Animal activists say it will save small but important lives, along with taxpayer money, and end needless suffering. '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,' says Philip Gerrie, coauthor of the proposal. 'If we considered them living beings, we would deal with them differently.'"
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San Francisco Considers Ban On All Pet Sales

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  • by jonamous++ ( 1687704 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:46PM (#36599212)
    What lives will it save? Without the pet industry, these animals would never be born.
    • by i kan reed ( 749298 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:50PM (#36599294) Homepage Journal

      More importantly, if prohibition and the war on drugs are any sign, this will create a high value pet black market, which makes for-profit breeding operations more, not less, likely to be abusive. Law of unintended consequeneces.

      • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:00PM (#36599528)
        Well unlike the drug industry, pets will be legally sold elsewhere. Yes there will be the rise of some black market shops inside the city but all this does is move the legal shops just outside city jurisdiction taking their businesses and tax dollars with them. It just makes it inconvenient for everyone but really won't stop anything.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by davester666 ( 731373 )

          Thus begins the scream of millions of small animals being Fedex'd...

        • by Xest ( 935314 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @02:11PM (#36601152)

          I think the point of this law has been entirely missed by the kneejerk croud here on Slashdot.

          It's a law that wouldn't effect me because I live in the UK but I could quite appreciate perhaps not such a drastic measure but something along those lines here in the UK.

          Pet breeders all too often treat animals as little more than stock that makes money, they keep them in shitty conditions that whilst may not make the animal look scruffy will cause it distress and can lead to behaviour problems. They don't care about that because once they've sold the animal they deem it not their problem any more. Further, there's no real checks on breeders here, they can sell to whoever they want, and that can mean selling to people who will let their 3 year old kid throw their hamster or whatever around like a toy, or accidently stand on it, somewhat brutally crushing it to death- these sorts of things happen all the time.

          Meanwhile we have rehoming centres absolutely full to the brim of animals that have been abandoned, or previously mistreated, whose behaviour issues have been noted, or corrected. They're full of animals of all shapes and sizes just begging for a home, and these rehoming centres do home visits to check suitability of a household for a pet before they allow someone to adopt. Further, they even have clauses that allow them to reclaim pets that are found to be mistreated so that they can seize them from incompetent or outright malicious owners. They will also neuter pets such that they do not go on to add to the problem of growing numbers of strays.

          Really, in the UK at minimum there needs to be stricter licensing on breeding. Such measures might not put an end to the problems entirely, and black markets might exist- just as they do for banned dangerous dog breeds, but it would at least stop parents going out and buying a hampster for little timmy just because timmy cried about wanting one and they didn't have the balls to tell him he's not responsible enough to look after him, a pet that might then die in any number of horrid ways in which kids manage to kill their pets through not knowing better.

          It's about stopping the market of pets as "accessories" and improving welfare for many animals as a result. It's about maximising adoption of rescued animals by more responsible and trustworthy pet owners, rather than going to their local shop out of convenience and leaving the stray problem a problem because so many strays go unadopted.

          Personally I've always had rescued dogs through my entire life, and wouldn't dream of getting one from a shop, ignoring the countless genetic defects, and behaviour issues that arise from inbreeding and mistreatment amongst such breeders, rescued dogs just come in shapes and sizes you'd never expect (I had a jack russel / doberman cross once- no I don't know which was the mother and which was the father), and for me, have always been full of character and extremely loyal.

          The point is there's not even a need for a pet industry when it's proven itself often untrustworthy and sometimes contributory to the stray problem (which your tax dollars have to deal with) when excess / imperfect animals are chucked out on the streets. When there's already a problem of too many pets needing homes out there in the first place such that a lack of pet shops would decrease the stray problem (hence saving your tax dollars) then it's ludicrous to go on allowing such an irresponsible industry to at least carry on without regulation.

          I suspect this will be an unpopular view with Slashdot's liberal idealists where any mention of government is seen as a bad thing but oh well, it's just my personal opinion, this is at least one area where some kind of regulation can actually improve things for tax payers, animal charities, and animals alike, at the cost only of the detriment to an industry that more often causes detriment to those 3 sections of society.

          • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @03:50PM (#36603056)

            Things you miss:

            #1 - the San Francisco law as written would outlaw animal shelters (what you call "rehoming centres") from collecting an adoption fee to rehome animals. That would put all the shelters into a drastic kill-down mode, or else cause a need to raise taxes by crazy amounts in order to handle all the animals needing to be kept in the shelters.

            #2 - Outlawing the selling of aquarium fish? Lizards? Please.

            #3 - PETA needs to get over themselves and learn to breed humans with humans rather than abusing the animals "their way."

            • by Xest ( 935314 )

              Well if point 1 is true, then I agree this particular law is a bad one. In reponse to point 2 yes, certainly there are some animals pet shops could reasonably stock, in fact, it's much better that pet shops breed things like marine fish rather than pillage them from corals but for animals which there is often an abundance of strays/rescues like dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats and chickens (in the UK!) that's the sort of thing that needn't be sold in shops. Point 3 is really irrelevant, I'm not really int

      • Really can't wait until people start traffic tabby cats across the Mexico boarder to fuel this new illegal market! Think of the headlines!

      • by ginbot462 ( 626023 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:07PM (#36599716) Journal

        Not to mention, pet "contraband" will be sold in other store.

        Dude, the leash and collar were for my wife I swear!

      • by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:19PM (#36600070)

        I was too lazy to read TFA, but there is a big distinction between selling pets and adopting pets. In one you just pay a small amount for the paperwork, covering vaccines and the like.

        Even if pet selling was illegal, adopting should still be an option. There are quite a few pet shops that only sell supplies and refuse to support the Puppy Mill market, instead these host regular foster home gatherings where you can adopt pets and give them a proper home.

    • by Joce640k ( 829181 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:57PM (#36599480) Homepage

      What lives will it save? Without the pet industry, these animals would never be born.

      If you read the article before rushing to get first post you'll see the problem. Most shop-animals are bred in horrible conditions and spend the first part of their lives in cages in shop windows. Not nice.

      This way you'll have to get them from friends/neighbors/shelters. Hopefully the lives it saves will be the ones which would be put down when nobody takes them at the shelter.

      • by jonamous++ ( 1687704 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:12PM (#36599864)
        Did you read the article? Because if you did, instead of rushing to bash my post, you'd see that it mentions things like Goldfish. It also specifically refutes the point your posts makes in the second paragraph. So your point is that keeping goldfish in a tank for the first year of their life is so inhumane and instead, I should buy goldfish from my neighbor and put them in a tank instead? You are thinking of this from the perspective of a poor little puppy from a puppy mill stuck in a shop window. I agree, that's a terrible thing, and that's what the original (which was still absurd) was meant to prevent. However, this law has been expanded to include pretty much all animals. It's so absurd and so ridiculous that I can't believe people (you?) would take this seriously. What it boils down to is we have people who are butt-hurt that the majority of Americans don't care about the feelings of a fish or the feelings of the rat they are going to feed to their python. So these people are trying to push their worldview on everyone else - regardless of the fact that "treating animals like commodities" is something that humans have been doing since the first creature was domesticated. So yeah, I do get your point, I did read the article, and I think you are dead wrong. These people are off-their-rocker PETA wackos that don't want anyone to own any pets, ever. In fact, other sources go on to say that "eventually, there would likely be no more tropical fish or other exotic pets in San Francisco (except those imported illegally). Purebred dogs and cats might become a thing of the past as well."
  • by The MAZZTer ( 911996 ) <> on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:46PM (#36599216) Homepage
    Plans change. Look at those adorable eyes! How can I eat it now?
  • Well that won't stop the pikeys offloading dags on to you will it baye!

    Pet sales will just become black market and underhanded.

  • It's clear where the problem really lies -- in the idiots who insist that we should suddenly kowtow to the rights of dumb animals. If we weren't supposed to keep or eat tasty animals, they'd have a bad flavor and wouldn't be so cuddly.

  • by rossdee ( 243626 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:50PM (#36599278)

    Totally unenforceable.

    (And whats to stop people from buying their animals in another town/state, or online?)

    • The only thing this will accomplish is to force pet dealers to relocate outside the San Francisco city limits, to one of the adjoining cities in The Bay Area. This will inconvenience some number of business owners, and a larger number of pet "companions" (i.e. owners), lose some tax revenue for the city, relinquish any ability by the city to regulate the pet industry, and accomplish absolutely nothing. It'll be like all those "dry" counties that have thriving liquor dealerships just outside their borders.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Steauengeglase ( 512315 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:31PM (#36600330)

      I guess it would end up like hermit crabs. Illegal to buy one, but you get one for free if you buy a cage. If there is a market people and the product is cheap, people will make it work.

      Personally, I quit reading after this:

      Snake food was almost exempt from the proposal. After all, pythons have to eat, and they like their lunch alive. But at a heated meeting, Commissioner Pam Hemphill questioned how it could be humane to sell live animals to be fed to other live animals.

      At that point I can't help but think you've crossed a line somewhere and gone into some kind of pseudo-religion where it isn't nature on the throne but human ego. Animals gotta eat and they don't know a damned thing about this humane thing you keep talking about.

  • Perhaps they can zone them out next, just like minorities are zoned out of most of the good areas of San Fransisco.

    So basically what we have is your typical people in power mindset, I was going to say liberal but conservatives in power do it to, they will all be for freedoms they want (in the case of this city same sex marriages) but damn if you dare buy Spot in a local store, why that is inhumane. I am surprised you can't buy dogs to eat in SF but you can buy live fish and poultry. What is that? Are laws based on ick factor?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SteelAngel ( 139767 )

      In San Francisco, and other so called 'liberal' bastions, laws are not created to give people the freedoms to live the life that they choose, they are created to radically socially engineer a population according to specific mores that the 'elites' prefer. So if the elites are tree-hugging PETA members, then they want to fashion society in that image, regardless of the hypocracy and stupidity it causes. One could say that all social engineering is applying a first order linear model to a chaotic system and

      • by Ephemeriis ( 315124 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:25PM (#36600222)

        In San Francisco, and other so called 'liberal' bastions, laws are not created to give people the freedoms to live the life that they choose, they are created to radically socially engineer a population according to specific mores that the 'elites' prefer. So if the elites are tree-hugging PETA members, then they want to fashion society in that image, regardless of the hypocracy and stupidity it causes. One could say that all social engineering is applying a first order linear model to a chaotic system and then crying about how the results don't work.

        How this is different than theocracy, I don't know.

        Liberal bastions, eh? And how is this any different from those 'conservative' bastions that try to - for example - outlaw abortion?

      • *Cough* Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bogie ( 31020 )

        "Pretty much Everywhere, laws are not created to give people the freedoms to live the life that they choose, they are created to radically socially engineer a population according to specific mores that the 'elites' prefer"

        There, fixed that for you.

        Save the liberal rhetoric for the Rush Limbaugh call-ins.

    • Why stop there? Just ban pet ownership and take care of the whole problem.

  • Would I be allowed to buy a rat, for example, if I promised to test drugs on it?

  • Just odd. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:52PM (#36599334) Homepage Journal

    A guppy has feelings but a fetus doesn't? And I am not for making abortion illegal but I am a fan of truth and logic. What about sea monkeys? Will people with fish now still have the option to buy live life food for them like brine shrimp?

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

      Depending on how many weeks we are talking about a guppy might be farther developed. An adult cat surely has more feelings than a fetus.

  • It seems to be largely meaningless.

    Is there anybody who is actually selling pets in San Francisco? Hell, I had a hard enough time finding a place to reliably buy the cat food I feed my cat. And while I'm sure there's a couple of backyard breeders of birds, reptiles, and maybe even small dogs that might be hurt by this, I can't think of anywhere in the city limits of San Francisco where a breeding operation is a "good idea."

    Hey, San Francisco: does everybody in the city have food, housing, and most importa

  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:53PM (#36599364)

    Fuck off.


    Animal Lovers.

    Seriously, I get really tired of these dumbshit activists that think that pets somehow have a horrible life and if all animals just roamed free they would be so much better off. I think the problem is they watch Disney movies and believe that is how the wild actually is: Animals living together in harmony and having the best of time. I think these people need to take a trip to Africa and see nature in all its brutal Darwinian glory. Nothing dies of old age there, they just get older and slower until something eats them.

    Sorry, but I think my house cat has a much better life. He gets to lay around all day, safe from weather and predators, he eats when he wants, gets attention lavished on him, and has access to medical care to handle his problems (asthma in his case).

    Pets bring a lot of joy to humans, and it isn't bad for the pets. They have their needs met in a way they'd never get in the wild.

    • by rahvin112 ( 446269 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:03PM (#36599598)

      Thank PETA. If you've ever been stupid enough to support PETA you need to understand they want to ban pet ownership. Yes Ban it. It's one of their top priorities.

      There are plenty of good organizations out there that try to stop animal abuse, but PETA gets all the attention and I'd be 90% of the people that support PETA fail to realize just how radical the beliefs of their founder. PETA believe pet ownership is slavery and they want it gone. Honestly if you want to stop animal abuse you are far better off sending your money to ASPCA or Humane Society.

  • especially for small operations
  • With purchase of any dog leash. Only $499.95.
  • So Coral and anemones are okay, then?

    • by McNihil ( 612243 )

      Isn't that already on the endangered species list?

    • Anemones are flowers. You might think it's being pedantic, but lions, horses, and cucumbers would all like to remind you that the "sea" part of the name is quite important ;)
  • I wish that environmentalist and animal rights activist would spend time actually educating and engaging the public and convince people on the merit of their argument, rather than use the government as a hammer against people who disagree with them. They are going to ruin some livelihoods and do next to nothing to eliminate animal suffering.
  • If selling pets is illegal then only criminals will have pets.
  • ... So now all the ads selling cocker spaniel puppies will read "delicious cocker spaniel puppies for sale."

    I can see where they are seeking to rid themselves of "puppy mills" and the like, but how about pet retailers (wow, that just sounds creepy doesn't it? pet retailer? Is that were you go if you want to reverse the procedure for your doberman pinscher?)? Will Petsmart no longer sell pets? (They do sell pets right? I thought they did...) They show reptiles, birds, fish and rodents on their site.


  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by NoNonAlphaCharsHere ( 2201864 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @12:59PM (#36599514)
    They're going to outlaw gerbil sales in San Francisco?
  • " 'If we considered them living beings, we would deal with them differently.'"

    Plants are living things too. Should we ban the sale of them.

    On other news, San Francisco pet owner ate his cat.

  • it's a great way to draw attention to a real problem. There are a lot of unwanted animals in this world and a little public debate on where pet animals come from is a good thing to my mind. I am the proud owner of a pound puppy and I can't think of any circumstance where I would want to purchase a dog from a breeder. Some of the breeders are downright shady. I'm not saying I would want all pet sales banned, but I welcome the discussion.
  • It would be nice if we could eliminate puppy mills and get more people to adopt or buy from good reputable breeders that actually take care of their animals.

    This isn't the way to do it, and people still ignore shelter pets which need homes so they can get a "purebred" dog which is safer than some shelter mutt.

  • ahhh yeah that's so humane! LOL

  • Now, are these people actually the "OMG Teh Petz is slavery!!!" morons, or are they holding the much less unreasonable position that:

    a) "Farm" dogs/cats (bred for sale) tend to suffer from poor health and poor treatment in the pet stores and

    b) Every pet bought at a pet store is a rescue that gets the needle?

    If the former, then yes. Fuck the nutters sideways with a chainsaw. Three cats and formerly a dog (RIP, buddy), all rescues, and damn if I don't enjoy their company more than most people's...

  • In other news, SF outlaws heterosexual coupling... citing the fact that it can lead to pregnancy and childbirth. People as not responsible to care for children, and so hetero-sex must be stopped!

  • by compro01 ( 777531 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:02PM (#36599584)

    More PETA gubbish.

    I really wish they would go away, and I'm a vegetarian myself.

  • So Petco changes its name to Exotic Foods Co., adds a curious looking butcher department and nothing changes. Mean while bolstered by Exotic Foods Co's new direction various ethnic restaurants start adding hamster, guinea pigs, dog, horse, etc. to the menu.
  • Time for an outdated meme to become real: []

    It doesn't walk, fly, swim, crawl or slither.

  • Small operators should switch to doing other businesses.

    not everything can be justified because people make money off of it. this is what has brought our civilization to this upside down state, on the brink of collapse.
  • All that pet stores need to do is give away cooking instructions with every pet sold. Not their fault if you happen to decide not to eat it after you get it home. Sheesh.
  • So, what's to stop one from just going to the next town over and buying a pet there? All I can see this doing is reducing tax revenue for the city by killing local sales and businesses, and inconveniencing pet-buyers.

  • So if you (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dunbal ( 464142 ) * on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:07PM (#36599706)

    OK, I plan on eating my dog. Sell me a dog. What, are they going to make an additional law saying that you must eat your pets if you say you will? How about a law saying that pets must be stamped with a "best before" date? Or here's one, make it so you have to eat your pet in public or better yet, slaughter the animal when the credit card is swiped.

    These legislators are stupid. Their state is completely broke, yet they have time to dream up bullshit like this. Congratulations on putting pet stores out of business (although surprisingly I'm sure that big-box pet food/supply retailers will be just fine) and causing people to travel out of state to buy their animals. Here's a tip. If puppy mills are a problem (and they can be), then GO AFTER THE DAMNED PUPPY MILLS.

    I bought my dog at a pet store because no breeder currently had her breed. Yes, perhaps she came from a puppy mill. But she's the happiest dog in the world now (despite my sig) and I certainly wouldn't exchange her for any other dog now that we've gotten to know each other.

  • Whether you agree or not, I think such proposals will simply add more fuel to those that say all them SF people are nutjobs. This will impact future ideas/programs/conferences/whatever put forth by the city even if it is generally accepted and considered good ideas. There may be large groups or companies planning a SF conference (or perhaps hosting Olympic Games) but oh no, they may say, "uhmmm, them SF folks sure are nutzoid, maybe we should look into another city."

    I think they need to look at proposals

  • Even if one were to accept the (dubious) notion that pet-dom is an unpleasant experience for pets, their criteria seem absurdly broad. Banning based on type of locomotion, rather than, say, neural net complexity, means freaking out more or less equally about the treatment of everything from arthropods and annelids with some degree of stimulus response up to great apes(while more or less arbitrarily allowing you to buy and slaughter anything culturally sanctioned as edible).

    The idea seems profoundly divor
  • I have a friend or two who are vets and who blog. Judging from their blogs, breeders are the scum of the earth. They won't learn enough about the animals they breed to do the basic things necessary to keep them healthy. They won't pay the vet they call in when things go wrong. They refuse to let the vet treat the animals if it would cost them money or even just make their lives a little inconvenient.

    Now, I'm guessing there are good breeder's out there. And I'm guessing those breeders have vet visits that ar

  • by RobinEggs ( 1453925 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:08PM (#36599754)
    Those advocating the ban need to speak with some archeologists and evolutionary anthropologists before making their decisions. These experts now believe that cats and dogs adopted humans as companions, and not the other way around. With cats, agrarian life led to grain storage, which attracted rodents, and some kitties evolved to play nice with humans in order to access all the tasty mice in human settlements. For dogs I don't remember the whole story off-hand.

    It was a valid evolutionary step for many animals to prefer and enjoy the company of people; banning pet "ownership" merely leaves dozens of cat and dog sub-species without their proper habitat and social environment.
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:11PM (#36599834) Journal

    I read this aloud to my wife, and our 10lb yorkie-poo dog just walked over to me and said "If those goddamn animal activist hippies think they're going to make me live outdoors, they're fucking crazy."

    Then he took his surgically-fixed knee, went back to his comfortable place on his knitted afghan in our predator free air-conditioned home, stopping by for a bite of nutritionally-balanced dog food and a sip of parasite-free drinking water, and proceeded to fall back asleep for his 20-hours-out-of-every-24 rest pattern.

  • Western mindset? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:15PM (#36599940)

    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,' says Philip Gerrie, coauthor of the proposal.

    Hey, uh, Mr. Gerrie... that is the western mindset, yes, but, uh... look where you are buddy.

    Multiple choice: In terms of which hemisphere it is, what the mindset is there, where it is in the US, and which coast it is on, where is San Francisco?
    A. North B. South C.East D. West

    Is this guy so loony that to him "Western mindset" is an indictment of some thought in and of itself? "Oh that's how we think in the UNITED STATES, so obviously that's the dumbest possible mindset." Is that what's going on here? "If we considered them living beings, we would deal with them differently." Yeah, but we don't, so why are you acting like we do or should?

  • by zero0ne ( 1309517 ) on Tuesday June 28, 2011 @01:23PM (#36600176) Journal

    Why not just regulate the hell out of selling pets?

    Spend some money in research, and find out how and what you should regulate? Maybe instead of keeping newly born cats / dogs in a 2'x2'x2' cage, you are required to have 25sqft per kitten, 50sqft per puppy, etc. Shared environments are ideal, as it helps foster an environment where the animal is in a group setting (try adopting a 3yr old cat that has never seen another cat or animal its entire life).

    Toss in some regulations about food, water, etc.

    Basically take the incentive away from the the "pet factories" but still allow the caring breeders to continue doing what they love.
    (there IS a market for spending $2k on a puppy with good heritage, etc)

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