California to Impose Prohibitions Against Trade in Kangaroo, Elephant, and Rhino Parts

By on September 15, 2015 with 15 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

California lawmakers adjourned for the year with a bang when it comes to animal welfare, sending a raft of major pro-animal bills to Governor Jerry Brown and blocking several maneuvers to backtrack on animal welfare issues. The state cemented its place as the friendliest one for animals, setting a high bar for other states to emulate.

The one measure that hung in the balance until the very end of the session concerned an effort by the government of Australia and its kangaroo-killing industry to secure permanent access to the California market for skins and meat from kangaroos shot in the Outback. A number of major companies, including Nike and Gucci, sell footwear made from kangaroo skins. The law banning imports had been suspended for the last seven years, enabling those sales, but an attempt this year to extend that suspension of the law and to repeal it entirely failed badly, after HSUS lobbyist Jennifer Fearing conducted a brilliant campaign to block it.  Major newspapers throughout the state – including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, and San Diego Union Tribune – urged defeat of a late-session maneuver by Assemblyman Mike Gipson, D-Carson, to bypass regular order and to pass the bill in the waning hours. KGO-TV’s Dan Noyes did a hard-hitting piece. The effort didn’t even come to a vote because of broad bipartisan opposition.

Lawmakers also rejected an attempt to block local ordinances to restrict hunting and trapping activities and a separate effort to repeal protections for bobcats. In fact, in July, the California Fish and Game Commission, in interpreting the law that one pro-trapping lawmaker sought to nullify, banned all commercial trapping of bobcats. With more than 1,000 bobcats trapped and killed the prior year, that was a highly significant move by the state commission to protect these beautiful creatures.

State lawmakers not only preserved strong laws to protect animals, they added new statutes, approving separate bills banning the use of bullhooks and also banning any commercial trade in ivory. The anti-trafficking bill, AB 96, championed by Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, passed the Senate and Assembly by wide margins, putting California in a position to join New York and New Jersey in adopting strong statutes to restrict just about any trade in ivory or rhino horn. The legislature also gave final approval to SB 716, authored by Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, to ban the use of bullhooks on elephants. That effort was set up by Ringling’s March announcement that it would phase out its use of elephants in traveling acts. California will be the first state to prohibit the use of bullhooks in managing elephants, but almost certainly not the last.

Lawmakers approved a bill, AB 147 by Assemblyman Matt Dababneh, D-Van Nuys, requiring that any public university or college that confines dogs or cats for science or research purposes should offer them to an animal adoption or rescue group before killing them. They passed a series of bills from Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, R-San Diego, to protect animals, including one measure (AB 494) to authorize restraining orders or protective orders, and another (AB 316) to waive in out-of-state veterinarians to deploy and help animals in disaster situations. Assemblyman Das Williams, D-Santa Barbara, shepherded to passage a bill, AB 485, that would enable voluntary contributions from taxpayers to the Prevention of Animal Homelessness and Cruelty Fund, which would provide money to local groups to fund life-saving activities.

Also in a first, the legislature sent to Governor Brown SB 27, authored by Senator Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, to prohibit the use of antibiotics for livestock unless prescribed by a veterinarian.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 23,000 people die each year from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Estimates are that more than 80 percent of antibiotics used in the United States are administered to animals on farms. Dr. Michael Blackwell, representing the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and using his 20 years’ experience with the Food and Drug Administration, helped craft this landmark bill to restrict antibiotic overuse.

In recent years, lawmakers banned hounding of bears and bobcats, outlawed the use of lead ammunition in shooting wildlife, forbade tail docking of dairy cows, and passed dozens of other statutes to help animals. So many of these laws got a lift from the landslide passage of Proposition 2 in 2008, which forbid the extreme confinement of veal calves, laying hens, and breeding sows.  After lawmakers saw the huge supermajority of animal voters in the state, they got the message.

Some of these measures now await the signature of Governor Brown, and we’re hoping to see him sign them promptly, placing a capstone on this banner year for animals in the Golden State.

Animal Research and Testing, Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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    • Cheechako says:

      Sii, absolutely. Estoy trabajando para expandir mas y mas la demanda de una ley international para encarcelar a todo hombre en el planeta k se atreva a matar y comercializar sin importar de donde son.Apoya mi cause cuando sea que veas mi nombre Cheechako, por la defensa de los indefensos.

  2. Connie Katterjohn says:

    I’m so happy about these changes for kangaroos . Nike & Gucci need to use faux leather on their shoes . I vow never to buy these products til they change their materials . Also for change in using antibiotics in our meats tho I don’t eat meat no longer . Great news but I’m hoping Governor Jerry Brown signs those immediately . Thank you .

  3. Marie says:

    Good work!

  4. Su says:

    Yahoo for all of these.
    The only one I’m a bit Leary on is the cat and dog animal one. If good homes with lots of patience in their rehabilitating whete do they go. Euthanasia to me would be the most humane. Most of the animals have never smelled fresh air or grass on their feet. Living most of their lives in a cage, rehab could be so traumatic on them.

  5. Sharon Fenderson says:

    I applaud this feat and hope all states follow California’s lead!!! Thank you on behalf of these precious animals and to those of us who respect them!!

  6. Rose Vawter says:

    People who harm and abuse any animal are animals themselves. Usage of bull hooks and any other item is so cowardly. These people who hunt like walter palmer and the disgusting cheerleader have no compassion for animals or people. There hearts are cold you can see it in their eyes. I pray that God deals severely with each and every animal abuser on any animal that he has created for man to enjoy. I has many people want Ringling Bros to free the elephants now.

  7. John Manion says:

    We are a pathetic race of human animals. We will kill and drive other animals to extinction, we will finally realize what we have done as a greedy, corrupt populous race and it will be to late. Every last beautiful and majestic creature will be gone. And it’s all because of our hatred and misunderstanding that we are doomed as a people. We will pay in the end for our sins to animals.

  8. Donna Lysinger says:

    I don’t agree to put any animal down , unless it’s very bad sick or abused so bad it’t near death. I fell give them all the chance there is. Animal’s caged & let out yes let them free & to know what love & caring from human’s is like. Any one that abuse & kill animal’s for body part’s to make money off of isn’t human. To go hunting for food it’s o k only when the season is in not trapping, or baiting that’ not with in the law. A lot of us out there not for animal abuse, & want to see the law more harsh punishment law’s aganist it.

  9. Donna Lysinger says:

    WE animal lover’s would like to see this killing & abuse & poaching come to an end. Then harsh punishment & justice brought to them. This country of zimbawbe better wise up with taking the money from people to kill & poach the animal’s mostly elephant’s has got to stop.Any one out there with a good way to stop this horrible killing let it known. Zimbawbe I seem on computer, & in the new’spaper are taking money form hunter’s to kill the wild life & elephant’s a lot are being killed every day. Isn’t there a way we could save them & the baby’s left behind. Rino’s also I’m sure lion’s & tiger’s too. This to me is heartbreaking, doing this for clothing & trophy’s. Any one have a suggestion to save these inocent animal’s?

  10. Donna Lysinger says:

    I go not agree with SU. They have already been put in home’s & are working out fine. Love caring & free to live & some help they would be fine.

  11. Donna Lysinger says:

    These wild animal’s need to be free of poaching & killing for trophy’s, there are way’s to stop it once & for all. Save all animal’s from abuse .

  12. Anne says:

    Reading about animal abuse, killing or neglect is just exhausting. I feel though there is no end even though time to time I hear of victories by the help of such organizations such as HSUS and good samaritans. the minute I go online, someone has abused, killed a dog, all the poaching and killing still going on in Africa, Asian countries continue killing and eating dogs. Animals have suffered in the hands of humans for centuries now, from the beginning of time, we have used animals for our needs. I wait and hope that someday, just someday, animals will also have the chance to live out their lives free. Free from captivity, pain and suffering. Enough is enough. This is a miserable world, and we,humans have made is miserable both for us and the animals.

  13. Suzy Hayes-Tripp says:

    I am proud of my home & native State of California.

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