Los Angeles Creates Thriving Black Market for Pet Bunnies

I admit that I chose to blog about this as an excuse to look at cute bunny photos. Dawww!Los Angeles Times writer
Carla Hall, in an opinion piece, is heartened to see LAPD officers
cracking down on illegal vendors who sell adorable little bunnies,
turtles, kittens and other animals on street corners in the city.
Somebody actually even got jail time over it. She

Vendors display unweaned bunnies in cages and let them nibble on
lettuce leaves (which, by the way, they shouldn’t be fed at a young
age.) Turtles commonly carry salmonella on their outer shells and
skin. Buyers end up with animals that are malnourished, sick,
likely to die once they get them home — or make family members

“Not only is this an issue of animal cruelty, it is a public
safety issue as well,” says Lejla Hadzimuratovic, who set up a
foundation devoted to rescuing and caring for rabbits and also
works with the police to get illegal vendors of all animals off the
street. Children are considered particularly vulnerable to
contacting salmonella from picking up and playing with small
turtles. (Since 1975, the Food and Drug Administration has banned
the sale of small turtles with a shell less than 4 inches

In her conclusion, she declares “[I]t will take more than that
to get people out of the business of illegally selling bunnies and
turtles. It will take people refusing to buy these animals on the
streets and legitimate vendors — and passersby like [Phillip]
Horlings — being assertive enough to call the police when they see
sales taking place.”

There’s a problem here in Hall’s reference of “legitimate
vendors”: In 2012 Los Angeles banned
(pdf) the sale of commercially bred dogs, cats, and rabbits from
pet stores. “Legitimate vendors” in Los Angeles are only permitted
to sell rescued animals of the named species, though pet-buyers are
permitted to go directly to breeders. This new law is never
mentioned in Hall’s commentary and it doesn’t seem to occur to her
that maybe these new regulations introduced a level of pet scarcity
that has fostered this black market. If animal lovers don’t want
people buying sick bunnies from men in trenchcoats on street
corners, learn from every other example provided by our endless
parade of failed prohibitions. Are those “puppy mills” animal
activists hate so much actually worse than this?

More Reason on black markets here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/los-angeles-creates-thriving-black-marke

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