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San Francisco, City of Bans, Edition No. 3


First came a de facto ban of Happy Meals; then a proposal for a ban on circumcisions; now comes a proposal to ban the sale of just about every living animal, including goldfish. From the L.A. Times:

Yes, goldfish. And guppies, gobies, gouramies, glowlight tetras, German blue rams. No fish, no fowl, no reptiles, no amphibians, no cats, no dogs, no gerbils, no rats. If it flies, crawls, runs, swims or slithers, you would not be able to buy it in the city named for the patron saint of animals.

It’s called the Humane Pet Acquisition Proposal:

Animal activists say it will save small but important lives, along with taxpayer money, and end needless suffering.
“Why fish? Why not fish?” said Philip Gerrie, a member of the city’s Commission of Animal Control and Welfare and a coauthor of the proposal. “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.”

One objection:

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.

And one interesting loophole:

It is legal in San Francisco to sell live animals for eventual human consumption, and the proposed ban would not stop markets from selling live fish, poultry, turtles or seafood for that purpose.

If this proposal were turned into law — seemingly a big “if,” but in San Francisco it’s hard to say — I wonder who (or what) might try to wriggle through the “human consumption” loophole. Will pet stores recast themselves as exotic-food restaurants? Will people try to buy various animals for supposed consumption and then decide to let them hang around as pets? What will pet sales look like in neighboring towns?