Frog & turtle ban at live animal food markets! Finally!
Wow, is this good news! And we owe it all to Eric Mills of Action For Animals (see his letter below) who has been leading this fight for years! Please drop Eric an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and thank him for his his dedication in helping to end the suffering of untold numbers of animals! Eric truly fights the good fight. Thanks, Eric … /Gary
April 12, 2010
TO: VARIOUS MEDIA
FROM: ERIC MILLS, COORDINATOR, ACTION FOR ANIMALS
RE: VICTORY! LIVE ANIMAL FOOD MARKETS – FROG/TURTLE BAN
** See attachment from the State Fish & Game Commission at end of this note.
THIS IS A BIG DEAL, SO I’M HOPEFUL THAT THE MEDIA WILL GIVE THIS ISSUE THE PUBLICITY IT DESERVES. It will spare the lives and prevent the suffering of millions of animals, while protecting the environment and the public health.
On April 8, 2010, at their meeting in Monterey, the State Fish & Game Commission voted 3:0 NOT to issue any future permits for the importation of live turtles and frogs for human consumption. “Aye” votes were cast by Commissioners Richard Rogers, Mike Sutton and Don Benninghoven.
Commissioner Dan Richards was absent, and Commission President Jim Kellogg recused himself, citing a possible conflict of interest (his daughter’s boyfriend owns a pet shop in Concord. Curious, since all five Commissioners, including Mr. Kellogg, voted in favor of the original proposal at the Commission’s March 3, 2010 meeting).
A small coalition of dedicated individuals has been working toward this goal for 15 years. We’ve had hearings before the San Francisco Animal Welfare Commission and the Fish & Game Commission in the mid-1990s, protests, debates, major media publicity, a lawsuit, and more than 2,500 letters in support of a ban over the years. Grandma was right: It pays to persevere.
The current permits will be allowed to expire, all within one year, reportedly. After that, any live frogs or turtles sold for food in the Chinatown markets or elsewhere in California will be deemed illegal, punishable as a misdemeanor.
This is a major and precedent-setting victory for the animals, the environment, and the public health. At present, California imports TWO MILLION American bullfrogs for the markets every year. Most are commercially raised in Taiwan. We also import an estimated 300,000-to-400,000 freshwater turtles for the food trade, ALL taken from the wild in states East of the Rockies, depleting local populations there.
Worse, some 25 recent necropsies on the market frogs and turtles have shown them all to be seriously diseased and/or parasitized: E. coli, salmonella, pasturella (all potentially fatal in humans), giardia, blood parasites, even one case of malaria. It is ILLEGAL to sell such products for human consumption, yet the sales continue unabated. Even more troubling, a January 2009 study published in BIOLOGICAL CONSERVATION documented that, of the market bullfrogs necropsied, 62% tested positive for the dreaded chytrid fungus, a prime suspect in the extinctions of more than a hundred species of amphibians worldwide in recent years. That alone should be enough to shut down this commerce.
The market frogs and turtles are frequently bought alive (which is
prohibited) and illegally released into the wild by well-meaning but uninformed people. None of the market frogs and turtles are native to California, and they cause major damage when dumped into local waters, where they prey upon and displace our native wildlife, and introduce exotic diseases and parasites.
There is horrendous animal cruelty in these abattoirs, though that was not a reason for the Commission’s vote. Their mandate is simply to protect the state’s natural resources. But it was the cruelty issue which first drew many of us into this battle. The frogs and turtles are often stacked four-and-five deep, without either food or water. Many are butchered while fully conscious, though this is illegal (not to mention cruel and immoral).
In sum, this is a major victory for the animals, for the environment, and for the public health.
Here’s hoping you can help spread the good news. Thank you for your consideration.
ERIC MILLS, COORDINATOR, ACTION FOR ANIMALS, Oakland
** Attachment from State Fish & Game Commission:
The Fish and Game Commission declares that:
1. The Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Fish and Game have been charged by the Legislature to protect and wisely manage the State’s living natural resources and the habitats upon which they depend.
2. The importation of non-native turtles and frogs poses threats not only to the State’s native turtles and frogs, but also to the native source populations of the imported turtles and frogs.
3. These threats include, but are not limited to: disease, hybridization, competition, and predation.
Therefore, it is the policy of the Fish and Game Commission that the Department of Fish and Game shall cease issuing importation permits for any live non-native turtles or frogs pursuant to Section 236, Title 14, CCR.
(Adopted: Date of Commission Meeting) (April 8, 2010)