Sunday, June 19, 2011

If It Sounds Fishy, It's Only San Francisco

On planet San Francisco, there is no animal, vegetable or mineral which will go unprotected by the "ecology now" crowd. While the rest of the state is watching its crops dry up because of EPA protection of the Delta smelt, San Francisco has bigger fish to fry, er, protect. Like that goldfish that uncaring humans are torturing in every part of The City.

The San Francisco Animal Control and Welfare Commission is proposing a bill that would continue the ban on the sale of certain non-human companions such as puppies, kittens and hamsters while adding the ubiquitous goldfish to the list. I specifically avoided the use of the word "pets," since pets have been banned entirely in San Francisco. Not to leave any fish un-swum, the Commission also added guppies and tropical fish to the ichthyological list.

Now in all those years of living in The City, I didn't know there was such a commission. Imagine the money I wasted on goldfish and tropical fish food when I could have gotten fish food stamps for them. Imagine the money I wasted with private fish veterinarians and medications when I could have had them on Medicaid. And worst of all, I missed out on the Aid to Families with Dependent Goldfish program.

The ban is meant to discourage impulse buys "of pets that sometimes end up at shelters" according to commission member Philip Gerrie. They have shelters for abandoned goldfish? How did I miss that? Goldfish were added to the proposed ban because of "inhumane suffering of fish." Well, I can get behind that. I always suspected that my next door neighbor was a fish-abuser, but I didn't know there was anyone I could report her to. Just think of the suffering I could have prevented if I had only known there were fish police who would remove the tormented fish and take them to a shelter. My guilt knows no bounds.

Pet store owners who have been caught in the act of selling suffering fish to ichthyophiles are clearly upset. "The City is taking more and more control, they are very stupid," said Ocean Aquarium owner Justin Hau. Omigod! That's who I bought most of my fish and aquarium supplies from. No wonder the shop was located in an alley, away from the prying eyes of humane non-human companion owners. I feel so dirty. It's as if I had been sneaking around buying fish slaves from Fu Manchu.

But fish champion Gerrie says that's a response from pet shop owners that was to be expected. "They have a very strong interest to say it's stupid. That's the basic thing with human beings. We exploit everything in the world until it's exhausted." I'm getting exhausted just listening to his explications. "Humans are exploiting the environment--and the fish. There's a huge market for aquarium fish. That creates a demand." Well, not only does Gerrie protect our ichthyological non-human companions, but he understands how the market works too. See? Not all protectors of the innocent victims of human exploitation are socialists.

Gerrie expresses what we all know in our heart of hearts. "Some people argue 'it's just a goldfish.' But some people say, it's just a human, when it comes to some that kill. It's just a matter of degree. Where do you stop?" Good question. I'm gonna spend some time thinking that over. SF Board of Supervisors Member Sean Elsbernd told the San Francisco Chronicle he had doubts the proposal would pass, callng it "another Animal Welfare idea that will end up in the dustbin of history and go absolutely nowhere." Oh? How can a longtime resident of the Queen City of the West possibly think that any idea is impossible to implement there?

I don't know about you, but I take this very seriously. As soon as I'm finished writing this article, I'm going into the guest bedroom and ask my goldfish to tell me if they wish to be freed immediately. I will have to remind them that the closest major town is Bakersfield, and I don't think they have a fish shelter there. Maybe we'll have to take a plane to San Francisco for their release, but I promise they will travel in First Class, with a snack of deluxe brine shrimp to soothe their ruffled fins.

Finally, I am going to write to President Obama about this hidden crisis. I think it would be appropriate for our first black president to issue a Fish Emancipation Proclamation which at the same time immediately halts the fish trade and public auctions of goldfish. Did you know that at these horrendous centers of goldfish trading, mom and dad goldfish are separated from each other, and their goldfish children are sold off willy-nilly to ichthyophiles all over the country. They will never see each other again. Oh, the inhumanity!

20 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I laughed out loud when I read about this last week. At first I thought it was silly, but then remembered it was San Fran, then I became sad as I realized these people are serious.

Thanks for the entertaining article.

LawHawkRFD said...

Jocelyn: You are quite welcome. The only thing more fun than living in San Francisco and writing about its unimaginable foolishness is finally escaping and writing about it from 300 miles away.

Tennessee Jed said...

Geez, Hawk; how stupid can these people get? Happy father's day you old warhorse.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: They have not yet begun to dissemble. LOL

Thanks for the father's day wish, and the same back at ya.

BevfromNYC said...

It is about time some brave souls took up this worthy cause. Why is it always the goldfish who must suffer?!? Release them and let them swim free! Do it now before it is too late. Those brave little golden no-peds who never complain, never show us their sorry, nor their pain. Round and round they go in their little transparent prisons yearning in their little cold hearts to be free.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: I remember being told by one of my junior high school science teachers that as a goldfish makes its little journey around the bowl, by the time it gets back where it started, it has forgotten where it came from--sort of like Democrats.

LawHawkRFD said...

This site is dedicated to keeping all our readers informed of the goings-on in San Francisco (well, at least I am). So here's one for you to think about on a Sunday afternoon: The average San Francisco City worker retires with an annual income of $46,272. That's within pocket-change of the annual household income of American working families. And guess who pays for that pension? Well, it isn't the San Francisco city employee, that's for sure.

Koshcat said...

The only way to bring balance back in the force is to encourage one of the Berkley fraternities to have a Live Goldfish Eating Party!

LawHawkRFD said...

Koshcat: Ya know, they had taken away our right to swallow live goldfish during Berkeley pledge week even back in the 60s. We had to settle for seeing how many pledges we could stuff in a phone booth or a Volkswagen, preferably while wearing panties on their heads. You are absolutely right. Bring back the slippery slidy swallow and restore balance to the Force.

Joel Farnham said...

LawHawk,

Just when I think that San Francisco can't get any screwier this comes along.

Have they totally banned meat? It seems to me that this is where they are going to next. After meat, then it should be vegetables that have a high emotional content in their leaves. ;-) Just a thought.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Frankly, I'm surprised that they didn't ban meat a long time ago. But I guess they comfort themselves with "free-range" and "organic" growing, because a happy cow is a delicious cow. Remember what we've said here before. San Franciscans think that meat comes from supermarkets and boutique markets where it is raised in plastic-covered packages.

I'm sure there's already a well-staffed commission which investigates which plants are most sensitive so they can be banned from eateries first. When they're finally reduced to eating dirt, there will be a commission to determine which dirt is endangered.

T-Rav said...

Obligatory something-something-something-shooting-kittens-in-the-face-something-something comment. Happy Father's Day, everyone.

AndrewPrice said...

Goldfish are people too. Set them free.... into the streets....

At some point, SF should just institute a blanket ban on all things and get it over with.

LawHawkRFD said...

T-Rav: Thank you for fulfilling our daily allotment of something-something-something. I'd wish you happy father's day back, but you're still young and fancy-free,so we'll have to wait to do that in the future.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: Alternatively, they could just ban all the human companions and leave the animals to do their own thing. It would be an improvement. Even a goldfish isn't dumb enough to vote for Nancy Pelosi.

BevfromNYC said...

So "they" don't want you to have a goldfish as a pet, but they encourage tourists to eat every sea creature alive and/or dead at Fishtermans' Wharf?

Is this a "Goldfish good/Lobster bad" kind of Orwellian logic?

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
It is interesting when one tries to analyze a fishes nervous system to determine if a fish can experience pain. Fishes have very sensitive sensory organs which are needed to find food. Their nervous system is not developed into sensing pain. also their tiny little brains just don't hold much in the way of memory as you pointed out once around the bowl and it is a whole new world.
A good proof is the catch and release of fish shows they get caught over and over even with the same bait or lure. The only difference between a pet fish and a pet rock is the fish needs to be fed and it moves.
Good post and I hope you had a good fathers day. I did we saw son and his children which is always a high light.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bev: You didn't expect consistency, did you? It's San Francisco. Even the sea lions which used to take up all the piers at Pier 39 (next to Fisherman's Wharf) have left, and nobody knows where they went. Even they couldn't take the confusion. But at least now there's room for some fishermen on Fisherman's Wharf.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: As far as I'm concerned, the goldfish can take a couple of aspirins and call me in the morning.

Glad you had a good Father's Day.

LawHawkRFD said...

Correction: The figure I gave above for the average retirement income for a San Francisco City worker was bad enough, but I was off by a factor of nearly half. The actual figure for the average city retiree is $76,272 not the $46,272 I originally reported. That means the average working family income nationally is +/- $30,000 less than that of an individual San Francisco retiree. That ought to give you an idea of why the city is broke and getting worse while it continues to fund commissions that set up goldfish shelters.

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