It's fair to say that the origin of this tactic can be traced directly to what we all know as the "animal rights movement," a line of thinking, or ideology, that has gradually gained a foothold in universities and government throughout the past forty years. What was once a ragtag group of extremists is now a multi-billion-dollar coalition of organizations that raise money under the guise of improving animal welfare and running pet shelters, but ultimately spend that money on the promotion of increased regulation on animal ownership and enterprise with the goal of ending both.
These groups have pushed for unsupported regulatory changes in many states to achieve their goals. These regulations often mislead state and federal legislators, local committee members, and the general public as to their actual effects and true impact on animal owners, breeders, and animal agriculture. Instead of using facts and science, the activists prey on the emotions. And, sadly, it is working.
A recent example of this ploy is California AB-485, the Pet Rescue & Adoption Act, statewide legislation crafted by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) to advance their campaign to halt the sale of puppies, kittens, and rabbits in pet stores sourced from USDA licensed, inspected breeders, while mandating that pet stores source their animals from rescues and shelters.
Pet sale ban legislation has already taken effect in local jurisdictions across America including thirty-three cities in California, fifty cities in Florida, ninety-six cities in New Jersey, and a handful of cities in states like Illinois, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Utah and even, Texas.
In April of this year, I flew to Sacramento and testified before the California Assembly, Business and Professions Committee to oppose AB-485 and found that the legislators were deeply committed to supporting the bill.
Since California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown have been marching in step with the animal rights groups for a while, I wasn't shocked by the overwhelming support for AB-485, but it disappointed me greatly that there is such little regard, not only for pet stores but for the pet breeders, themselves, who provide the pet stores with animals to sell. Animals that consumers demand!
Silly me. I actually believed there would be support for legally operating, tax-revenue-creating businesses in the Business and Professions Committee.
Nope. AB-485 passed the Committee with a 10-1 vote. And, sadly, on September 12, 2017, AB-485 passed the Senate with a vote of 32 out of 40 Senators.
It is well documented that HSUS has been pushing this campaign to ban the sale of animals in pet stores at the local level, state by state, since 2013 with their goal of replacing the sale of purebred and mixed breed puppies in pet stores with adult dogs from rescues and shelters from unknown sources.
Mandating the sale of animals sourced from unregulated sources, such as rescues, is doing nothing to stop animal abuse or unscrupulous breeders. Pet stores provide an accountable, traceable source for pets and should, at the very least, be acknowledged as legal, legitimate businesses which are self-sustained and bring in a steady stream of tax revenue. But, alas! Lawmakers have bought into the emotional propaganda that USDA licensed facilities are all "mills." Not only do they not approve of breeding, they discourage to the notion that those raise animals should do so for profit.
These pet sale bans are also further proof that one day in the not so distant future owning a purebred dog, much like the Pembroke Welsh Corgis seen in this photo with Governor Brown and his wife, will be difficult to come by and available only to the wealthy elite.
Does this mean we fold up our tent and go home? Absolutely, NOT! We all must continue to be vigilant in our mission to inform and educate legislators and the public. While animal rights activists and extremists paint a frightening, emotional picture with their propaganda, the truth is that just because animal activists "care" about animals does not mean they know anything about animal care. Those engaged in actual animal husbandry know far better how to care for animals than even the most well-intentioned urban activists.
Any ban on animals is one more way for the animal rights agenda-driven policy to meet their goal to create a no animal-ownership society. There is no "crisis" to solve. There is only propaganda intended to harm the rights of citizens and to destroy viable law- abiding businesses and the future of animal ownership, and it's up to ALL OF US to take a stand.
Please call and write to California Governor Jerry Brown and ask that he veto AB-485. Make certain that you select "AB00485\Pet Store Operators: Dogs, cats, and rabbits" in the subject line selection.
The Cavalry Group