Published June 16, 2011
The San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare Commission wants to take away your goldfish, proposing a bill that would also include a renewed ban on pets like puppies, kittens and hamsters.
The proposed ban is meant to discourage “impulse buys” of pets that sometimes end up at shelters, said commission member Philip Gerrie.
He said goldfish, guppies and other tropical fish were added to the proposed ban because of what he called the “inhumane suffering of fish” and the way the fish are harvested.
“It causes animal suffering,” Gerrie told Fox News Radio. “Whole reefs and ecosystems are being exploited for whatever might be marketable or sellable.”
The Board of Supervisors considered a similar ban last year that would have included dogs, cats, hamsters, mice, rats and guinea pigs – but not fish. That proposed ban was tabled last August. The supervisor said they were going to reconsider it in January of this year – but did not.
The proposed fish ban has local pet store owners up in arms.
“The city is taking more and more control,” said Ocean Aquarium owner Justin Hau in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. “They are very stupid.”
Gerrie said that’s the response he expected from pet store owners. “They have a very strong interest to say it’s stupid,” he told Fox News Radio. “That’s the basic thing with human beings. We exploit everything in the world until it’s exhausted.”
Gerrie accused the “human” species of exploiting the environment – and the fish.
“Humans are overfishing for food,” he said. “There’s a huge market for aquarium fish. That creates a demand.”
As for people who would argue that it’s just a goldfish? “That’s how we are in this society,” Gerrie said. “Some people say, ‘It’s just a human’ – when it comes to some that kill. It’s a matter of degree. Where do you stop?”
The recommendation from the commission could be a tough sell among the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Sean Elsbernd told the San Francisco Chronicle he had doubts the new proposal would pass – calling it “another Animal Welfare idea that will end up in the dustbin of history and go absolutely nowhere.”