The California State Legislature declared unequivocally last week that the Golden State stands with animals, advancing five different innovative bills to protect pets and wild animals from harm and exploitation.
“Make no mistake, this was a landmark week for animal rights across the world,” said Judie Mancuso, Founder and CEO of Social Compassion in Legislation, a sponsor of the five bills. “It has been an evolution over many years, but our longevity at the state capitol and tenacity to keep fighting for the animals is paying off. I’m proud to be a Californian.”
“Exploiting beautiful wild animals in circuses for profit runs contrary to California values, and we must not tolerate it. I want to thank my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for advancing this important bill, and I look forward to seeing it passed into law to end the cruel training and constant confinement endemic to animal-based circuses,” said Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), the author of one of the bills, Senate Bill (SB) 313.
“Tigers, bears, and other animals are not ours to do with as we please, and keeping them caged and forced to perform is not only wrong for the animals, but dangerous to the general public,” added Mancuso. “There is nothing fun about taking your family to see a lion that has been ripped away from hers in order to be beaten and forced to stand on a ball or some other frivolous trick.”
“In California, tigers, lions, camels, and other animals are now one step closer to being safe from circus chains and cramped cages,” said People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation Vice President of Captive Animal Law Enforcement Delcianna Winders, on the subject of SB 313. “This important bill is now on its way to the full California Senate, and it will be a happy day for animals and all the humans who care about them when it is signed into law.” PETA is also a co-sponsor of SB 313.
On SB 64, the bill to mandate microchipping of cats and dogs in shelters so that they make it home safely if they become lost, author Senator Ling Ling Chang (R-Diamond Bar) said, “Anyone with a pet knows the fear of losing them. I want to thank my colleagues for their bipartisan support of this important legislation, which will let Californians rest easier in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can to help lost cats and dogs make it home safely, as well as shortening their stay in shelters, which will save taxpayer dollars.”
Assembly Bill (AB) 273, authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, will ban commercial and recreational trapping of all fur-bearing mammals in California. “California’s ecosystem is among the most fragile in the world, and our wildlife are already under constant threat from wildfire, drought, and development – the last thing they need is to try to survive an outdated and heartless fur trapping policy,” Mancuso said of this bill. “Californians have showed up time and time again at the polls and vote overwhelmingly to protect our wildlife; we value them alive, rather than as commodities to be killed, skinned and sold. We thank the Assembly for taking a stand for all of us today.”
“This unnecessary commercial activity is both cruel and doesn’t make sense for the state financially,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said. “California’s fur trapping program has long faced a funding shortfall. Taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing the destruction of our wildlife.”
“Commercial fur trapping threatens native species, contradicts conservation values held by most Californians and wastes taxpayer dollars,” said Jenny Keatinge, California Wildlife Policy Specialist at the Center for Biological Diversity, a cosponsor of AB 273. “The State Assembly’s passage of AB 273 brings California another step closer to preventing this antiquated and ecologically destructive practice for good. We commend Assemblywoman Gonzalez for her leadership and urge the Senate to end the subsidized exploitation of our wildlife in foreign fur markets by swiftly passing this bill.”
The five bills are:
- SB 64, on pet microchipping, which passed the Senate floor unanimously, 37-0
- AB 273, a ban on outdated and costly fur trapping, which passed the Assembly floor by a vote of 50-19
- SB 313, to prevent animal cruelty in circuses, which passed Senate Judiciary by a unanimous vote of 7-0
- SB 202, to allow voluntary donations in veterinary blood banks and provide proper oversight, also passed Senate Judiciary by a unanimous vote of 9-0
- AB 486, to require evacuation plans for animals in the event of natural disaster, which passed the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee by a unanimous vote of 12-0
“Each of these bills will make an immediate and measurable difference in saving animals’ lives and from cruelty,” Mancuso said. “I look forward to seeing each one of them signed into law.”
Featured image: a tiger performing in a circus. The life of performing animals in circuses are full of stress and suffering. California’s SB 313 seeks to ban the use of any animal other than dogs, cats, and horses in circuses. Image credit DirkJan Ranzijn, CC BY-SA 3.0.