Via Drudge: the San Francisco Commission of Animal Control and Welfare – motto: “They’re not voters yet, but we’re working on that” – is mulling a proposal to ban animal sales in pet stores. Since San Francisco has neighboring towns that freely traffic in gerbil-slavery, this means people will just go elsewhere, but if there’s one argument that cannot penetrate the adamantine shield of Good Intentions, it’s “people will just go elsewhere.” It is more important to ban something here, so you can put up signs declaring your town Cruelty Free, and if the people go elsewhere, good! We don’t want that sort of business anyway.
The board objects to the trade in hamsters, which apparently are purchased on a whim and dumped off en masse at the Humane Society, where they are usually euthanized. I’m of two minds on this: my daughter has a hamster with the zippy, 20s-style name of “Ace,” and he’s cute. But not exactly a love machine. For a while it seemed that his meal of choice was “The Hand That Feeds Him,” and he’s not snuggly. I would hate for anyting to happen to him, and not just because she loves him. But euthanizing a hamster is sort of like holding open the fuel lever on a Bic lighter and letting all the butane out. A waste, but not a tragedy.
Is there a larger issue? There’s always a larger issue when government regulates in the littlest things. Every little ban is a reminder that any theoretical goodness, however indistinct, is a sufficient reason to deny you a freedom you currently enjoy. Of course, if the Goodness does not materialize in sufficient quantities, it only proves that the initial ban was too narrow, and must be expanded; hence the ban on selling hamsters becomes a ban on having them.
Two: even the advocates for the littlest among us have to respect the imperatives of nature. Snakes eat rodents, you know, and the ban would be unfairly impactful to the Snake-American Community – so they’re considering letting stores sell rodents if you want to feed them to your 10-foot reptile.
The ideal solution: require the Humane Society to feed hamsters to snakes, squealing with horror, instead of putting them down by gaseous means. Perfect. I’d make a reductio ad absurdum line here about government health care, but I don’t speak Latin.