New anti-live market abuse, rodeo shocking, and animal testing laws in Calif.––and more!
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, November 2000:
SACRAMENTO––”After five years of
failed agreements, undercover investigations, and
heated public hearings,” San Francisco SPCA
Department of Law and Advocacy chief Nathan
Winograd announced on October 3, “animal welfare
advocates have passed a law protecting live
animals sold for food in California. Governor Gray
Davis has signed AB 2479, introduced by assembly
member Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica).
“The new law prohibits stores from skinning
and dismembering live animals, as well as
storing and displaying animals in ways likely to
result in injury, starvation, or suffocation. The law
applies to frogs, turtles, and birds sold for food,”
whom antiquated legal language previously
exempted from coverage by the California anti-cruelty
“The new law is based on voluntary
guidelines for store owners developed by the San
Francisco SPCA in 1998,” Winograd continued.
“Local live animal merchants initially agreed to follow
the guidelines, but abandoned the agreement
days before it was to be implemented. Months of
public hearings and heated debate between the merchants
and animal advocates followed,” while San
Francisco attorney Baron Miller pursued an unsuccessful
lawsuit seeking enforcement of existing legislation
to halt abusive live-market practices.
Although the lawsuit failed both at the
introductory and appellate levels, it was instrumental
in determining which aspects of existing law
needed to be changed.
The live market battle centered on San
Francisco, whose live markets mostly serve the
oldest major ethnic Asian community in North
America, and one of the largest, making up about
45% of the city electorate. However, similar abuses
were discovered at live markets in Oakland,
Stockton, San Jose, and Los Angeles.
Bans rodeo shocking
Altogether, Governor Davis––a conservative
Democrat not known for anything involving
animals when elected in 1998––may have signed
more major animal protection bills in just three
weeks’ time than any other U.S. governor ever.
Davis signed AB 2479 just a few days
after signing 1462, a bill by state senator Don
Peralta (D-Oakland) requiring rodeos to have either
an on-site or on-call veterinarian; requiring written
reports on animal injuries to be submitted to the
California Veterinary Medical Board within 48
hours of the conclusion of any rodeo; requiring the
presence of a means of humanely removing injured
animals from the rodeo area; and––in an apparent
national precedent––banning the use of electric
prods on any animal in a rodeo holding chute unless
necessary to protect spectators or participants.
The ban on electroshocking follows
extensive video documentation by Steve Hindi and
associatiates with SHARK of the use of such
devices to make bulls and broncos buck more vigorously
in timed riding events––including at some of
the biggest California rodeos. Riders’ scores in
such events are weighed against the efforts of the
animals to throw them off.
Oakland resident Eric Mills, founder of
Action for Animals, had lobbied for such legislation
for more than a decade.
First approved by Davis was AB 1178, a
relatively non-controversial measure to increase
from $1,000 to $5,000 the maximum penalty for
killing migratory and native non-game bird species,
including damaging their nests and/or eggs. The
maximum jail sentence for a violation remains six
months. The new law is directed at bird deaths
caused by property maintenance activities, such as
hosing swallows’ nests from under eaves or trimming
brush at times when birds and eggs are in the
nests. Thoughtlessly destructive property maintenance
is believed to be a major factor in regional
declines of songbirds, some of which have become
extirpated, endangered, or threatened.
Davis signed AB 1178 at the same time as
AB 1173, a bill to bring fallow deer ranching under
the regulation of the California Department of Food
and Agriculture. Both bills were introduced by
assembly member Peter Frusetta (R-Tres Pinos),
and as AB 1173 is regarded as favoring the exotic
meat trade, no one recognized at the time that
Davis had begun a pro-animal roll.
Next signed was a bill by state senator
Jack O’Connell (D-San Luis Obispo) to require
testers of consumer products such as household
chemicals, cosmetics, and pesticides to use federally
approved alternatives to animal testing.
Backed by the consumer product makers
Procter & Gamble and Colgate-Palmolive, as well
as by animal advocacy groups, the new law resembles
earlier O’Connell bills which twice cleared the
legislature in previous sessions, but were vetoed by
former governor Pete Wilson, a Republican.
Procter & Gamble has invested approximately
$100 million since 1984 in developing alternatives
to animal testing. Several other firms have
invested heavily in alternative methods, and the
Food and Drug Administration and Environmental
Protection Agency have recognized some of the
new non-animal tests as superior to standard animal-based
product safety testing, but product liability
insurers and other regulatory bodies have often
demanded that conventional animal tests be done
parallel to applications of the new tests.
Right to keep pet
On September 20––over the strenuous
opposition of politically powerful organizations of
landlords––Davis signed a precedent-setting bill by
assembly member Helen Thomson (D-Davis) which
requires condominium and mobile home park associations
to allow new members to keep at least one
pet. The bill overrides a 1994 California Supreme
Court verdict that favored anti-pet clauses in residence
contracts. It is expected to open tens of thousands
of condominum and mobile park residences
to adoptive pets, especially at sites catering to
senior citizens, whose members are typically the
most polarized over whether or not to allow pets.