Lisle, Illinois, smack-dab in the center of a contentious area where dog, cat and often rabbit bans are passed and sometimes passed over; where the state legislature missed the mark on a statewide ban back at Thanksgiving, 2015, when they were on track for the first statewide ban on the sales of dogs, cats and rabbits in the world, has set a new milestone.
The little village of Lisle has passed the first comprehensive ban on the sale of all animals in retail stores, by our count, for the first time since the sweeping ordinance in Albuquerque, New Mexico in trying to curb a rampant feral animal population 13 years ago, way back in June 2006.
A few ordinances have included pot-bellied pigs: 2 in Nevada and 1 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Ferret sales were included in bans in 3 bans in Michigan (2 also included long-lived birds and large reptiles) and 2 in Florida.
Activists in states with notably large ban quotients, notably New Jersey and Florida, have stuck to dogs and cats only. Out of Florida’s 64 bans as of this writing, only 5 include rabbits or 4/5 of 1%.
New Jersey has no rabbit bans by our count even though neighboring New York City has a full ban on rabbit sales while only meager, unenforceable strong restrictions on dog and cats sales.
Some in the animal rights and protections movement have long called this selectivity as speciesist: favoring one species over another. The problem of animal farming is the same for dogs, cats, rabbits, ferrets, pot-bellied pigs, long-lived birds, large reptiles, not to mention the serious trafficking in endangered species and species groups of insects and arachnids.
Some argue that just getting dogs and cats passed can be a difficult enough fight. But the argument is strong for ferrets as they are even more at risk as many who take them on don’t have a clue what they bargained for. As in puppies and kittens, ferrets are often the impulse purchase in a pet store, many of them the larger national chains. If not taken well care of, ferrets can produce a copious amount of urine the smell of which is not easily reduced let alone eradicated. They have prodigious energy and need a lot of exercise and if they don’t get it they get sick. There are massive ferret rescues, usually in rural areas, that can’t keep up with the need of talking on castaway animals.
Ferrets should always be included in bans.
The rabbit story is as bleak, as witnessed by New York’s ban. Rabbits grown in hutches for pet stores and not the same breeds in the wild. A family sees a bunny in the pet store near Easter. “Mommy, I have to have one!”
“No, sweetie, we can’t take care of it.”
“But half my schoolmates have one!”
“Maybe next year….”
“I WANT A RABBIT!”
“Can you please add this bunny to my tab.”
But rabbits need a lot of care and attention. They should have at least yearly checkups and should be taken in if they stop eating, are throwing up, are lethargic, you get the picture. Bunnies need a lot of exercise, but they are not built to spend days and nights outside like the cottontails that live in the bush. Some people in northern climates are astonished when the bunny they relegated outside perished before Halloween. Many in the south have no idea their bunnies aren’t built for the heat. If they do survive outside for very long, they’ll eat your vegetation, which leads to the choice of letting them off in the park or the edge of town or near the creek which will either kill them or have them propagating like, well, rabbits and altering the long-standing balance of Nature.
Altogether too often the family brings home a pregnant rabbit, or two rabbits that mate, and a bunny family is running the house before you know it.
Rabbits should always be on a ban list.
Large reptiles can outgrow their welcome in a few years and are often dumped in the sewer system, in swampy areas like the everglades or bayous, near rivers, creeks, streams and lakes where the non-indigenous animals can wreak havoc on the micro-eco-system or inundate entire regions. They should be on all ban lists.
Long-lived birds are often made up of endangered species and are often trafficked illegally with phony papers, similar to the lies about where puppies come from, “We would never buy our pups and kittens from a puppy-mill, never!“
And there’s the long-lived part. Who knows how old the bird you have gotten is. They may live another 100 years. Who will care for them when you are no longer able to, another rescue?
Rats, mice, gerbils, chinchillas, it’s all the same.
Nightmares for the folks back at home, the animals brought home are often sick, behavior challenged, and need more care than anyone in the home has time for. They languish in lives that are not ideal, especially when it comes to the exercise and exploring nearly every animal needs to have optimum health, let alone an appropriate and varied diet.
We hope this first ban of all animals sold in retail pet shops takes off as much as the ban on dogs and cats has.
Activists in jurisdictions that have had success in dog and cat retail sales bans should consider re-visiting their City and County councils and amend the bans to include these species as undergoing the same conditions and travails (and possible extinction) pet mill dogs and cats do. All of these animals are just as individual as a dog or a cat. All of them feel pain, feel sickness, indeed sadness in a melancholy life in a cage or glass too small for them, eating a poor an unvaried diet, and aren’t able to explore, smell, climb, slither, poke, sniff, swim, jump, run as all animals are meant to do.