On August 7, 2017, the Cambridge City Council, at the behest of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Massachusetts chapter of the Humane Society of the United States (not a government agency) voted to ban animal sales within the city limits, citing animal cruelty and puppy mills as their reasons.
Despite stringent federal and state measures that make pet stores the most highly regulated source of companion animals in Massachusetts, store chains like PetCo and PetSmart were not given a voice in the regulation process, despite having offered solutions to an outright ban.
Let’s not even mention that there wasn’t even a single pet shop in Cambridge that sold dogs or cats before this ordinance was brought forward for a hearing. Lets concentrate instead on what this means for the young people of Cambridge, those without the means to take themselves to the zoo every weekend and who’d like nothing more than a job working with and learning about exotic animals.
How many of us started in the pet trade? Entry-level jobs in the pet industry offered a chance to work with exotic animals and learn about their care. This final small piece of exposure to exotic animals has been removed from this city and from these young people.
I’m not the biggest fan of large, commercial big box pet shops but I am a big fan of exposure to exotic wildlife, however that exposure manifests itself, be it within the confines of a library during a reptile presentation or in the bird, fish or reptile department of a pet shop.
Animals get used up in the pet trade; this will forever be true, but what needs to be remembered is that many exotic animal species have been successfully saved through commercialization based exactly on the public’s exposure to these animals through importation. What is good for a species may not always be good for a specimen of that species.
I wish to make my next point crystal-clear. The following agencies are enemies of everything that EVERY pet holder holds dear to them.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The Animal Rescue League of Boston.
The Humane Society of the United States and all of it’s state chapters.
(not a government organization).
All three of these organizations take donations from well-meaning pet owners and all three of these agencies work in cooperation with one another to subtly and secretly undermine the privilege of pet owners to own pets. Their names wouldn’t be on this ordinance if this were not true.
You want to donate to help animals? Do not donate to these organizations. Donate your money and your time to local shelters instead.