Thursday, June 30, 2011

21 Confiscated Rabbits May Give Oakland "Paws for Thought"

A couple of weeks ago the City of Oakland Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal modifying zoning regulations to allow “crop growing” as a home occupation. This only includes plants. However, there are those who want to add animals to Oakland’s urban agriculture. The case of 21 rabbits officials removed (see photo of two above) from a home in Oakland Tuesday night that were set to be butchered for food should give officials “paws for thought." It was reported neighbors informed the SPCA about the rabbits caged at a Lake Merritt apartment complex. Wire cages were stacked and the rabbits were covered in their own urine and waste with urine scald sores plus the smell was overwhelming. Their diet consisted of white rice and they suffered from malnutrition. Their stomachs were bloated and their bones deformed. Megan Webb, the Director of Animals Services summed it up well, in the SF Chronicle stating, "This blurs the lines for animal cruelty. When is it okay to raise something for food, and when is it cruelty?" she said.

When the Oakland Planning Commission met I am sure they did not imagine potential abuses that could result from raising animals for food within their city limits. Unfortunately, the abuse of the 21 rabbits described above shows what could happen. In the coming months there will be modifications proposed and submitted to the community, Economic Development Committee and then the City Council in Oakland for consideration  Several weeks ago a speaker at the meeting  said, “We’re very concerned that animals will be part of urban agriculture,” because it could cause public health and animal welfare issues.  She did not know her concerns would be validated so soon with 21 suffering rabbits.  Photo credit: Lance Iversen / The Chronicle