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Fur Flies

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Whether for meat or for fur ("Bunny Tale," April 3), utilizing the byproduct normalizes the fur culture. The message of this bill is for the state to denounce support of this unethical industry and prevent reason for fur sales. Excluding rabbit fur from the bill would not be congruent with the values of the majority of California's constituents. This statewide majority far outweighs the values of the one small Northern California district represented by Assemblyman Levine. Levin's spokesperson states: "Assemblymember Levine supports maintaining the highest ethical standards for the production of legal animal products in California." If it is agreed by the majority that the fur industry is unethical then Mr. Levin must acknowledge all animals regardless of how the byproducts are used.

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Rabbits are the most abused animals on the planet. Exploited not only for their flesh and fur, they are victimized in research, used as bait and live food for other animals, and even as "pets," they are often neglected and abandoned resulting in them being the third most euthanized animal in American Shelters. Exempting them from the meager protection of not being skinned alive in order to take their fur is a slap in the face to those of us who value them as the clean quiet engaging and affectionate companions they are.

The photo in this article makes my heart bleed for those poor babies stuffed into wire bottom cages so small they can barely turn around without a piece of hay (which should make up 80 percent of their diet) or anything to do but await their gruesome fate. The only consolation is that they are killed very young; at about four months of age. Escaping their suffering only in a cruel and violent death.

As a regular shopper at the Marin County Farmers Market where Mr. Pasternak peddles his wares and I buy much of my food and the greens my bunnies enjoy daily, I refuse to go anywhere near his booth. Seeing the dead bodies, skins and other bits of of animals I regard as cherished family members breaks my heart. People who love their dogs and cats should be able to relate; just imagine seeing your German shepherd's cousin turned into a fur bikini.

The evisceration of a bill that would make history for all fur-bearing animals being tortured and killed for their skins by Levine may very well die a painful death at his hands. The animal advocate community can see that the exclusion of rabbits will certainly lead to a monopoly on their skins as they will be the only fur available and have come out in mass in opposition to this exclusion. Even if the skins are supposed to be only from animals killed for their flesh, there is simply no way of regulating the origin of the pelts and will certainly result in an increase the number of rabbits raised and killed for either or both and be a boon for the people who produce them.

I wish everyone reading this would call member Levine's office and ask him to represent his entire district, not just a single constituent and withdraw this ill fated request.

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If we want a ban on fur, we want a ban on fur. No exemption.

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Will Carruthers, thank you for taking the the time to interview me for this article. Much of what I said is not included in the article. It's important that we provide accurate information about rabbits in general, and rabbit fur in specifics.

First, I would like to clarify that SaveABunny is not an animal rights group. We are a 501c3 nonprofit rescue and advocacy group that provides an invaluable, community service. While some individuals who volunteer for this group may be involved with animal rights groups, the majority of our supporters are families who have adopted rabbits as treasured members of their family.

We work with over 30 animal shelters and have rescued 5,000 rabbits since 1999.

We provide an invaluable, life-giving and positive service to California and receive no government funding. We are a grass-roots, primarily volunteer-based group. Unlike Mark Pasternack, we do not have a paid lobbyist or a politician working on our behalf.

The photo of rabbits in this article are living in painful, cruel conditions while they wait to die. They are the exact same breed and species you can adopt from your local shelter or a rescue group as a pet. Any rabbit can be called a meat rabbit for convenience. The rabbits in the photo are also babies and juveniles. What you see is the equivalent of immobilizing veal crates for rabbits.

Rabbits are as intelligent as cats and dogs. Their basic needs to be able to move freely and exercise is not given. Additionally, they are living on hard wire cages which routinely cut into their feet leaving deep, stabbing wounds that go untreated.

For whatever reason people do not understand rabbits. It is a romantic notion to them that a farmer wants to raise and slaughter baby bunnies for profit.

What is the benefit to the community at large of rabbit farming?

Pasternak himself exhibits how there will be increased rabbit farming when he says he sold a trio of breeder rabbits to someone. What is the business arrangement for this and who does it benefit?

If California truly wants to be a fur free state rabbits should be included and protected in the ban. Otherwise, it is hypocritical and serves a very small group of people who will make a lot of money.

We would appreciate the opportunity for you to do a follow up on rabbits as companions in the state of California. In the U.S., rabbits are the 4th most popular pet with over 3 million homes living with companion rabbits. Even Vice President Mike Pence lives with a pet rabbit, so rabbits as pets is hardly a fringe idea and lifestyle.

Thank you again for your time and consideration of the points I have raised.

Founder and Executive Director, SaveABunny

Rabbits are loved and cherished by so many people who have them as beloved pets in their homes. For Marc Levine to dismiss this for the sake of just one constituent who even admits he will not go broke if rabbits are included in the fur ban is absolutely ludicrous. Rabbits are considered pets by so many and live in peoples' homes. They are so lovable and deserving of protection yet in 2019 are still being classified as poultry and livestock and given no protection whatsoever. Please do not let a few rabbit farmers' greed for profit dictate the fate of these beautiful, gentle, loving animals.

Please include all breeds of rabbits in the California fur ban bill.

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