For the past few months animal rights
activists in San Francisco have been harassing Chinatown merchants who
sell live animals for food. The activists were upset that live turtles,
frogs and fish are sold in Chinatown markets and allegedly treated “inhumanely.”
The Chinatown merchants accused the animal rights activists of racism
and claimed they were only preserving the traditional practices of their
California Superior Court Judge
Carlos Bea did the sensible thing and ruled that neither the activists’ concerns
nor the merchants claims about their traditional culture were relevant,
but instead that people have a right to kill animals for food even if
doing so inflicts pain.
Bea told the animal rights activists
that if they want new standards for the way animals are treated in the
markets, they would have to appeal to state legislators.
Prior to the lawsuit, the merchants
and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had entered into
a voluntary agreement setting conditions on housing and killing of animals.
Merchants effectively ignored that agreement once the lawsuit was settled,
but may return to it now that the case seems to be resolved.
Chinatown merchants allowed to sell live animals for food. Greg Chang, Associated Press, July 23, 1998.