San Francisco's latest eyebrow-raising proposal isn't just about banning the sale of goldfish. It's about banning the sale of all pets, from birds to hamsters, to dogs and cats, to, yes, guppies. The plan floated by the Commission of Animal Control and Welfare has little chance of being approved by supervisors, but one advocate tells the Los Angeles Times it's more of a symbolic gesture to raise awareness. And the controversial proposal is clearly causing a buzz, just as it was intended to.
"For us as an organization, we've identified the larger problem of online purchasing of dogs, and we hope this is an avenue to get to that," says the co-president of the local SPCA. But she sees the point of including birds and fish. "There's a lot of cruelty around where they are sourced from. We see the cruelty." But pet store owners think the bill is plenty cruel toward their livelihoods. "The animal-rights activists are trying to drive a wedge any way they can in order to get a foothold on changing the ownership of animals," says one store owner. "They are about eliminating animals as pets."