Raymond Young’s Poultry has been selling spent hens by the thousands annually at the Heart of the City Farmer’s Market in San Francisco, Calif. for the past 20 years to people who are into DIY slaughter. As of May 27, he will no longer be welcome there.
Animal welfare organizations including LGBT Compassion, In Defense of Animals (IDA), United Poultry Concerns and Bay Area Vegetarians, along with activists have been protesting the sale of live birds for years, claiming that in addition to involving cruelty to animals, live bird sales pose a potential health hazard for people.
The San Francisco Health Department received many complaints for health violations, and Animal Care and Control also received complaints for cruelty. While citations and warnings were issued, the district attorney declined to do anything.
LGBT Compassion filed a lawsuit in January against the market for cruelty and civil rights violations after a Young employee punched an activist, Alex Felsinger, in the face and stole his camera. However, according to the market, the move to ban sales is voluntary.
“Every year, this ban will protect over 100,000 chickens, quail, and other small birds from the miserable and terrifying experience of being overcrowded in small cages, transported in extreme weather, shoved upside down into a paper bag, and butchered in backyards and kitchens in San Francisco,” according to IDA.
Bullfeathers Quail, another bird vendor, will also be banned. Jayce Benton, the owner, believes the ban is a racial issue.
“They said, ‘What you do is cruel, you shouldn’t be doing it this way, we don’t want you to have this choice, we are going to diminish your ability to live out your culture.’ Period,” she said. “This is intolerance to the Chinese community, that’s what this is.”
Benton, and anyone else playing the race card on this issue, seems to miss the point of the intolerance being against cruelty, oppression and suffering, not against a culture. Hiding cruelty behind tradition doesn’t make it anything other than what it is.
Organizations including LGBT Compassion and IDA are urging people to send a letter of thanks to the Heart of the City’s Farmer’s Market for taking a stand against animal cruelty and violence against humans at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonkringen