Live chickens and other birds have been sold at the Heart of the City Farmers' Market at the United Nations Plaza in San Francisco for the past two decades. The management of the market recently agreed to a new policy banning live bird sales, following years of investigation and protest by animal advocates. Sellers of live birds have received numerous citations from San Francisco Animal Care and Control, but cruelty prosecutions have not been possible due to an interpretation that the state’s animal cruelty law exempts birds. Birds sold at markets suffer from lack of water, poor ventilation, overcrowding, and confinement to paper or plastic bags. The new policy will prevent the sale of more than 100,000 live animals in San Francisco each year. The Richmond Certified Farmers' Market is now the last known Bay Area market to allow the sale of live birds.
AWI Quarterly Issue