Target: Elliot Katz, Head of In Defense of Animals
Goal: Praise the people who urged Berkeley City Council to devise a humane alternative to extermination for animal problem
Rather than gassing the squirrels that were posing a threat to the San Francisco Bay Area, Berkeley City Council passed a law that prohibits feeding the animals at a park in order to discourage the squirrels from staying there. The burrowing creatures were reaching so far beneath the park’s soil that they were going to break the barrier that restrains toxic substances from the entering the San Francisco Bay.
Initially, the solution was to kill the squirrels as well as the gophers that live beneath the park. However, Berkeley City Council changed their position, assigning a committee to study the squirrels in depth. The committee ultimately found that putting a stop to feeding the animals would bring the squirrel and gopher population down. As a result, Berkeley City Council will invest in signs and brochures, stating that feeding the animals is considered a crime and will incur a $1,000 fine and/or 6 months in jail.
The reason why Berkeley City Council decided on an alternative was due to the outpour of emails denouncing the murder of so many animals, 81,000 emails to be exact. Many animal welfare groups within the Bay Area, in particular In Defense of Animals, urged the city to develop a plan to deal with problem that did not involve a mass extermination of animals. Luckily, the animal welfare groups prevailed, and Berkeley can be a model for other cities struggling with overpopulation of certain animals.
Please thank the individuals who stood up for the animals that were unknowingly endangering the environment and Berkeley City Council for listening to the voice of the people.
Dear Mr. Elliot Katz,
I am writing to express my appreciation for your advocacy with In Defense of Animals along with other animal welfare groups to protect the animals in Berkeley. Your actions to change the initial verdict of exterminating the entire population of squirrels and to seek another answer to the problem are truly admirable.
Leading the fight to stand up to Berkeley City Council was very noble of you and no doubt inspired the committee to develop a more humane solution. Please continue to ensure the welfare of animals, who need to be heard in today’s society. This instance may serve as a lesson for cities across the country to better handle difficult situations brought upon by animals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sayontan Sinha via A Cute Day