You may not know this, but San Francisco has been rated highest in humane attitudes towards its animals. That’s according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), whose annual Humane Index ranking looks at a wide collection of animal welfare issues, not the standard pet friendliness and amenities of other rankings.
Twelve major issues are factored into its catchily-captioned index:
Bird “Shooters” (the ratio of watchers to hunters)
News Hounds (animal presence in the media)
Fur Shame (the number of fur retailers)
Egg-citing Policies (consumer use of non-caged egg products)
Captive Entertainers (the number of these “service” providers)
Citizen Activists (how many animal activists)
Puppies in Windows (the number of pet retailers)
Wildlife Whisperers (the number of wildlife care providers)
Big-Top Cruelty (how many circus acts)
Humane Eats (animal-aware dining habits)
Congressional Compassion (how our legislators vote)
Seal Protectors (think baby seals shouldn’t be clubbed)
To me, it’s no surprise the Bay Area takes top honors for urbane sophistication in more than just art, dining and public policy. In my estimation, enlightened animal consciousness is a great bellwether for progressive thinking all around.
Which is why I’m not surprised to see my beloved Miami ranked 21 out of 25 major American cities. While I adore my hometown for its natural resources and abundance of colorful culture, its animal attitudes are downright deplorable. The only reason it isn’t ranked dead last is because we don’t really sell fur, we have no seals to protect so it’s easy to say we love them, we aren’t allowed to shoot birds in the Everglades and because we (in the vocal minority) make sure animals aren’t left out of our media. On every other issue we bomb—and big.
Sigh…as much as I’d love give up my sunny home for a spot in the fog—on principle alone—someone’s got to stay here and mind the media, if nothing else.