The Heart of the City farmers' market was the only farmers' market in San Francisco that allowed the sale of live birds. The treatment of the chickens, transported to and from the market in small crates and sent home with customers in plastic bags to be killed, raised concerns with animal advocates and local officials. However, since poultry is exempt from animal cruelty laws in California, there was no legal action that could be taken to protect the birds.
For nearly a year, local activists protested the market. In late February, Change.org members joined the protest with an online petition targeting the market. The online campaign came at a time when local activists were stepping up their efforts against city officials. A little over two months and 1,500 signatures later, the market announced that it was banning live poultry sales.
The Heart of the City Farmers' Market at the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco sells many fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. However, they also sell live chickens, pheasants, chuckers and quail.
Vendors say there's nothing wrong with the way they handle the birds, but animal advocates think otherwise.
The live birds are stuffed into crates for transport and when a person makes a purchase, they take their bird home in a plastic bag. At home, the birds are killed and cooked.
Despite numerous animal cruelty complaints, no charges have been filed. California exempts poultry from animal cruelty laws but that doesn't mean birds should be mistreated.
The Heart of the City Farmers' Market is the only market in the city to allow live birds to be purchased.
Urge the market to stop allowing vendors to sell live birds.
Photo credit: Brent Moore