PETA awards Berkeley with the Compassionate City Award

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On Tuesday, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Foundation presented the city of Berkeley with the Compassionate City Award for its ordinance prohibiting the sale of fur in Berkeley.

The Compassionate City Award was presented with a box of vegan, rabbit-shaped chocolates by Scott Anderson, senior vice president of development for PETA, and Tiffany Rose, senior action team coordinator for PETA. Berkeley is the second city to adopt a fur ban ordinance, after West Hollywood.

The award acknowledged Berkeley for its “progressive” decision to ban the sale of fur.

“Berkeley has a history of being at the forefront in fighting for the welfare of all animals,” said Mayor Jesse Arreguín. “We welcome more ideas of legislation.”

In the past, members of the Berkeley Coalition for Animals have stated that they are unaware of any stores that sell new fur products in Berkeley. But Anderson said he believes that the impact of the ordinance goes beyond the effect it would have on the market in Berkeley.

“It sets that precedent that we can then go to other municipality and cities and say that it has worked and there were no negative repercussions,” Anderson said.

PETA has previously honored Beaconsfield, Quebec with the Compassionate City Award for banning the use of animals in circuses and Atlantic City for its ban on the outdoor release of balloons, which can pose threats to marine wildlife.

Berkeley banned declawing in 2009. Arreguín was also involved in the establishment of a no-kill municipal shelter in the city. Arreguín said the fur-ban ordinance is another step in the right direction.

“The whole issue we are fighting for is about stopping animal cruelty, and I believe that it has lost some of its controversiality,” Anderson said.

Arreguín said he believes it is the job of the government to regulate the free market and ensure that the activities are both ethical and promote health and safety.

Contact Ambika Jaykrishna at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @a_jaykrishna.