Foes of Live Animal Markets in San Francisco Win First Round:
Immediate Action is Urgently Needed
Please read the following account carefully.
The San Francisco Animal Welfare and Control Commission voted 7 to 3, with one abstention, on November 14th, to recommend to the SF Board of Supervisors a ban on the sale of live birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians in San Francisco. (For background see the previous Fall issue of PoultryPress, p. 7.) In SF's Chinatown, chickens, ducks, quails, doves, pheasants, turtles, fish, and other living creatures are packed in filthy containers without food or water; frogs are skinned alive; live turtles' shells are ripped off their backs; live birds are stuffed into plastic bags with twist ties. The Chinatown vendors' cruelty was boasted in a recent SF newspaper article: "It's no concern of mine whether the animal has any pains or not."
The Chinatown merchants are rapidly organizing opposition to the proposed ban with shouts of racism and "culture." Because of the politics, San Francisco will probably not pass anything other than the mildest and most unenforceable "welfare" legislation, if that.
For this reason, a law firm in San Francisco has offered to bring a law suit at a substantially reduced fee on behalf of local citizens against the live animal markets, based on the fact that California State law prohibits a business which sells food from keeping live animals on its premises, and merchants in San Francisco continuously violate this law. To bring suit, the Law Offices of Miller and Miller need a legal fund of $5,000.00. Miller and Miller attorney, Baron L. Miller, stated in a letter dated November 14, 1996, that a suit can be filed "if each of us who is opposed to live animal sales will make a contribution. If the law suit is successful, then we would be entitled to ask the court to order the businesses we sue to pay the attorney's fees and the contributors could be reimbursed."
What Can I Do?
- Please write to: The San Francisco Board of Supervisors, 401 Van Ness Avenue, Room 308, San Francisco, CA 94102. Note on your letter: cc entire Board, so it will go to all Board members. Ask them to investigate seriously and without delay the issues of animal cruelty, public health, and environmental impacts raised by live animal markets in San Francisco.
- Please make this precedent-setting lawsuit a reality by making your checks payable to Miller and Miller Clients' Trust Account. Miller and Miller has assured us in writing that "If we are unable to establish the fund, your money will be refunded to you." Inquiries are welcome and should be directed to: Baron L. Miller, Law Offices of Miller and Miller, Fox Plaza, 1390 Market Street, Suite 1204, San Francisco, CA 94102-5306. Ph: 415-522- 0500; fax: 0513.