New York City, NY. New York City Legislators revised Section 81.08 of the New York City Health Code (The Regulation to Phase Out Artificial Trans Fat in New York City Food Service Establishments) so that it now requires nutrition labels to be issued with dog licenses. The nutrition label would be featured on the back of the metal dog tag. The law also initiates a tax based on the trans-fat content per pound of the registered breed. Although eating dogs is currently illegal in the state of New York proponents of the bill argue that the homeless population of New York City frequently consumes stray dogs and that they should be made aware of the tremendous health risks of doing so.
Critics of the bill argue that the stray dogs that are most likely to be consumed are not registered anyway and therefore the required nutrition labels will not be effective. Many dog owners are also upset that the city’s Health and Human Services Department has labeled some breeds inedible while others are deemed edible. The outrage comes from the fact that whenever a dog is in public it must be fitted with a fluorescent orange vest with the word “Inedible” or “Edible” emblazoned on the both sides of the vest.
Bill Andrews is a dog owner who is angry with the development of the new law. “It’s embarrassing to walk Binky, my Chihuahua, through the park with a big ‘Edible’ sign on him. I get all kinds of crass and downright hurtful comments. I would never dream of eating my little Binky but people see the ‘edible’ sign and assume I’m suggesting that eating my dog is a good idea.”
Amanda Smith owns an English Mastiff which has been labeled “inedible.” She’s not upset with the vest requirement but says the trans-fat tax is ruining her financially. “It’s absurd,” she says. “The annual tax is ten dollars a pound and my dog weighs 110 pounds. Do the math! I’d vote those idiots out of office but I really want the homeless people to eat healthier. It’s for a good cause.” She says she loves her dog and will make sacrifices to keep it. “I can sell my car and put a saddle on my dog. It’s big enough to ride around town.”
The extra revenue garnished from the canine trans-fat tax goes into a special fund which is used to raise obesity awareness among the homeless population. Jackson Darius is the Trustee of the fund. He says, “The fund has prepared a literary smorgasbord of brochures and pamphlets advising the less fortunate among us which food scraps to eat and which to avoid.” The committee also goes around to popular homeless hangouts and removes the unhealthy scraps of food, such as hamburgers and french fries, from the dumpsters.
Many people have criticized the fund saying obesity among the homeless is practically nonexistent. Darius, however, says that if just one unfortunate citizen is saved from the “debilitating curse of fatness then the millions we’ve spent will all be worth it.”
Darius says progress has been made, but people can do even more to help. “Throw out lots of fresh produce and lean, well cooked meat. This will provide the less fortunate with good choices in food leftovers.” Darius says a program is being set up where citizens can be reimbursed for all the healthy food they throw away. “This is a great step towards eliminating bad food choices among the less fortunate among us.” He says, “Everyone should have the opportunity to make only healthy choices.”