It was a unanimous vote to protect animal rights.

San Francisco decided last week to ban the sale of non-rescue dogs and cats in pet shops. The measure is intended to prevent the distribution of animals that come from large-scale puppy and kitten mills. It also encourages adopting pets from the city’s animal shelters.

In addition, the ordinance bans the sale of puppies and kittens that are less than eight weeks old.

It does not prevent licensed breeders from doing business in the city, though. Cats and dogs can still be purchased directly from breeders or adopted from shelters.

San Francisco is not the first city to take such a measure. Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, and Austin have all introduced similar legislation.

Mimi Bekhechi, director of international programs for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), said the ordinance sets a good example.

“Pet shops’ greed fuels the cruel commercial breeding industry that keeps female dogs and cats prisoner inside filthy wire cages—whose only purpose is to churn out litters of inbred puppies and kittens who are then taken away from them, transported hundreds of miles, and sold,” Bekhechi told The Independent.

In an op-ed for the San Francisco Examiner, city supervisor Katy Tang and other influential city leaders made their case for the ordinance.

“The large majority of pet stores in this country have stopped selling puppies and kittens and instead profit from selling pet-related products and offering quality services,” the op-ed states. “Most also partner with local shelters to promote the benefits of adoption and regularly host events to help animals find new loving families.”

Tang and the others claim that buying a puppy or kitten from a pet store has many disadvantages. Often the pet stores tell their customers that the animal came from humane, small-scale breeders, which makes the pet more expensive.

However, the Humane Society of the United States has conducted several investigations and found that pet stores around the country actually sell pets from unlicensed and unregulated vendors who care only about profit and not the animals’ well-being.

For this reason, they often lie about the animal’s lineage and the conditions in which they were bred and raised, which is often in cages and separated from their mothers too early.

“Most animal lovers are horrified at the thought of keeping their beloved family pet in a dirty wire cage for a second—let alone a week, month, or even years,” the op-ed continues. “Yet that is the fate of many animals at large-scale commercial breeding operations across the nation, including the mothers of many puppies and kittens sold in pet shops.”

Lawmakers see this ordinance as an opportunity to “take a stand against an immensely cruel industry.” They encourage residents to educate themselves about the realities of puppy and kitten mills. And they ask everyone to share that knowledge with friends and family.

“Break the cycle by not purchasing puppies or kittens online or from local pet stores,” the op-ed states. “Adopt from a local shelter or rescue organization.”