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Letter: City Council Decision on Animal Testing Ordinance a Disappointment

To the Editor:

Supporters of prohibiting animal testing on City properties were greatly disappointed by the recent City Council meeting (see Council Approves Narrow Animal Testing Ban). The proposed ordinance, which was heard on April 16, would have prohibited animal testing only at City-owned properties. Private properties, like Harbor Bay Business Park, and the Marina Village Business park, were not going to be restricted by any such ban.

Alameda Post - City Hall with a circle and slash of a bunny and a syringe, indicating no animal testing. IN the bottom right hand corner is an asterix with the words "some exceptions apply"The ordinance was initiated by Trish Herrera Spencer and co-signed by Malia Vella in early February. It seemed a reasonable ban given the fact that the City already has 36 Life Sciences companies that can perform testing with whatever animals they want: primates, dogs, cats, wild birds, rabbits, etc.

However, prior to the April 16 City Council meeting, Ms. Vella refused to take phone calls or emails from supporters. What was going on? No one knew. Then, at the April 16 meeting, Ms. Vella put forth Option B as her choice, which would have carved out a zone around Spirits Alley at Alameda Point to ban animal testing (it would be exempt from animal testing). But Option B would have also allowed animal testing in the Enterprise Zone, which is a very large area and close to West End homes.

Then Tracy Jensen, who is strongly in favor of unlimited animal testing, suggested amending Option B by removing the verbiage that refers to any exempted animal testing areas, thereby gutting Option B. Surprisingly, Ms. Vella agreed to Ms. Jensen’s amendment and then that motion/vote passed with the Mayor (Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft) adding the third vote. Ms. Spencer and Tony Daysog voted no to the amended Option B, staying their course with the original ordinance Option A which would preclude testing at all City-owned properties.

As a result, the final wording of the new ordinance means nothing. As Mr. Daysog said, “We are back to where we started.”

So, Alameda has lost an opportunity to do something significant about animal testing/animal cruelty. Regardless, all supporters of limiting Alameda animal testing/animal cruelty, take heart. This is not the end of discussing or legislating for limited animal testing. Please stay tuned and stay alert. More will be coming.

Reyla Graber,

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