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Council To Revisit Animal Slaughter Issue

The El Cerrito City Council, which declined to include a ban on animal slaughter in its new animals ordinance, agreed Monday night to reconsider the slaughter ban following appeals from half a dozen speakers.

After half a dozen speakers urged the El Cerrito City Council Monday night to include a ban on backyard slaughter of animals, the council agreed to revisit the issue.

When the council two weeks ago passed a new law making it easier for residents to keep chickens, bees, goats and pigs, the panel declined to include a ban on the slaughter of animals at home.

Although the council had earlier indicated an interest in banning the slaughter of animals, City Attorney Sky Woodruff said a ban would be difficult to craft because it cannot interfere with freedom of speech and religious expression by banning religious conduct that includes animal sacrifice.

So the council incorporated Woodruff's recommendation that the council adopt regulations on health, sanitation and nuisances that would "address the potential impacts of animal slaughter without creating potential constitutional issues or inadvertently banning commonplace activties," in the wording of the staff report for the council's Nov. 7 meeting.

But before the new ordinance's second reading Monday night, several people spoke during the public comment period urging the council to adopt the ban, saying home slaughter of animals is often inhumane and cruel, in large part because many urban animal keepers aren't trained or skilled in animal slaughter.

A chilling moment came when one speaker played a recording of what he said was a goat in death throes, dying of poison. The speaker, Oakland resident Ian Elwood, said he's a member of Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter.

Mayor Ann Cheng said that her initial "gut reaction" was against home slaughter of animals, but she said she didn't want the city to "get in a position of limiting freedom of religion, freedom of speech."

The council proceeded to approve the second reading of the animals ordinance that was passed two weeks ago, with the understanding that it does not limit the council's ability to add a ban on home animal slaughter at any future date.

Without taking a vote, the council asked the staff to report back with more information on how the city might adopt a ban if it chooses to, including potential legal liability and enforcement options.

Mike November 23, 2011 at 07:54 AM
Esperanza: Your rich, privileged experience of Calcutta? I'm happy that you or your family are rich enough to travel through India. Obviously, anyone who can't afford the plane fare couldn't possibly object to the extreme stratification there. I'm sure you didn't spend any time walking through the slums. I have had friends and business colleagues who traveled to India and were horrified by the acceptance of extreme poverty there--by the office buildings right next to slums with starving children (and livestock). You're concerned about your supposed human right to kill rabbits but you didn't notice any slums or extreme poverty while you were in Calcutta? You're not concerned about the rights of the poor in India? If that's the case you seem to lack empathy and compassion towards other humans.
Esperanza November 23, 2011 at 03:38 PM
Mike: It is a common error to pass judgement on things one knows nothing about, such as assuming a narrow perspective of a place never experienced, or to make an assumption about who a person is because they have been to that place and holds a different opinion. I believe that mechanism of judgement without knowledge is called ignorance. You don't need airfare to know that. Though if you did know anything about me personally, you would know that your comment of me being "rich and privileged" is ironic. Since this thread is no longer about the actual topic at hand, having the right to grow and raise your own food, and has become a tactic of illogical and inappropriate accusations, I am going to leave this comment area. Though I will say that this kind of expedient argument reminds me of witch hunting.
Yvonne November 24, 2011 at 12:23 AM
Hi Esperanza: I see the logic in your desire to continue your family's tradition, but there's a significant demarcation between the process of growing and preparing vegetables for harvesting, and the process of growing and preparing animals for slaughter. Some proponents of urban animal agriculture appear to be sidestepping a significant issue by commonly focusing on one misconception: that opponents of urban animal agriculture would rather animals be raised and harvested within large scale operations, where volume is such the priority that severe neglect and abuse takes place. Indeed, it's a fact that the nature of "factory farming" places virtually no emphasis on animal welfare. This notwithstanding, is it possible there's folly in the assumption that all who may decide to pursue urban animal agriculture will be educated, experienced, and skilled at it? Is it not possible that without regulation and oversight, neophytes, who lack the initiative to properly equip themselves to be backyard farmers, would commit animal neglect and abuse far worse than on factory farms? Although on a smaller scale, would not the suffering be just as intolerable to the animal? Would it not be more conscientious to consider the issue with this broader perspective? Of course, there are the additional issues of environmental degradation, noise concerns, and economic burdens placed on local police departments and animal services agencies. These should not by any means be overlooked.
Yvonne November 24, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Esperanza: You mention 'The vegan organizers of "No Slaughter" have yet to bring forward a case that has been confirmed, not speculated, where animals raised for food are in cruel conditions in Oakland or El Cerrito.' Was the investigation into the attached case not conclusive? Thanks. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/30/BA7R1K4D93.DTL
Frank November 29, 2011 at 06:07 AM
What a sad case of a terrible animal owner. Can we use that to generalize about all those who raise animals?

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