San Francisco might ban sale of pets


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.

There are 7 comments.

  1. John Davey Member

    My youngest brother worked at the Sacramento City Zoo in High School. More specifically in the “Reptile House”. What happened to rodents behind those cages are the sources of nightmarish bludgeondry beyond comprehension.

    Living a scant few hours from San Francisco, I too recall the halcyon days of “if it feels good, do it”. The new motto: “If it makes someone else feel bad, pass a city ordinance!”.

    Alas, that notion has infected the legislature of our once Golden State. Do Nothing Feel Goodism. Accomplishes nothing, costs a fortune! But it makes us feel good.

    I yearn for the innocent days of Karl Malden’s Streets Of San Francisco (A Quinn Martin Production). Televised docudramas focusing on dope, hippies, and prostitution seem like the vestiges of a much simpler time…

    • #1
    • July 9, 2010, at 1:11 AM PDT
    • Like
  2. Nick Stuart Inactive
    John Davey: dope, hippies, and prostitution seem like the vestiges of a much simpler time… · Jul 8 at 1:11pm

    Seem like contemporary San Francisco.

    It would be impolitic to speculate on just why hamsters are so popular in San Francisco.

    • #2
    • July 9, 2010, at 4:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  3. Nick Stuart Inactive

    When hamsters are outlawed, only outlaws will have hamsters.

    • #3
    • July 9, 2010, at 4:09 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Profile Photo Member

    I’m curious as to how snake owners will prove their right to purchase rodents. Will there be a reptile show loophole? Will aspiring purchasers of rodents be required to present a notarized photo featuring the rodent-purchaser with his/her reptile? Pet stores may need to start hiring experts to spot attempted PhotoShop shenanigans.

    Hey look, San Francisco’s government is creating jobs!

    • #4
    • July 9, 2010, at 7:26 AM PDT
    • Like
  5. Scott R Member

    Best quote from the story (from a petshop owner): “It’s terrible. A petshop that can’t sell pets? It’s ridiculous. We’d have to close.” Uh,… ya. The Onion’s going to run out of material if reality keeps this up.

    • #5
    • July 9, 2010, at 9:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  6. John Davey Member
    Nick Stuart
    John Davey: dope, hippies, and prostitution seem like the vestiges of a much simpler time… · Jul 8 at 1:11pm
    Seem like contemporary San Francisco.

    It would be impolitic to speculate on just why hamsters are so popular in San Francisco. · Jul 8 at 4:09pm

    That’s just the nice public face of contemporary San Francisco. The tawdry truth, once you get past those societal gems, is a bit off putting. I find the dope, hippies, and prostitution to be more old time-y & charming than the City Government controlling what you eat, drink, or purchase, as well as compelling you to abide by City-Sanctioned thought & behavior. I suspect that a genuine Libertarian exposed to SF would end up like a vampire (that all the teen-aged girls love so much) stepping out into the sunlight – instant immolation. The San Francisco Treat ™!

    • #6
    • July 9, 2010, at 11:40 AM PDT
    • Like
  7. G.A. Dean Inactive

    Remember when folks used to use the phrase, “banned in Boston”? That was when San Francisco had a reputation as an “anything goes” town. Alas, those days are long gone.

    A few years back I was purchasing supplies for our snake at a very fine reptile and exotic pet store in Berkeley (!) when a woman entering the store (clearly not a regular), saw a man with two kids inspecting a small, wriggling rabbit the clerk had handed him. “How cute!” she said, “Is that a gift for your children?” Her replied, “Dinner for our python.” She was visibly shaken.

    • #7
    • July 9, 2010, at 12:51 PM PDT
    • Like