BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   SB 135|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  SB 135
          Author:   Florez (D), et al
          Amended:  5/4/09
          Vote:     21

           SENATE PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE  :  5-2, 4/28/09
          AYES:  Leno, Cedillo, Hancock, Steinberg, Wright
          NOES:  Benoit, Huff
          AYES:  Florez, Maldanado, Hancock, , Pavley
          NOES:  Hollingsworth

           SUBJECT  :    Animal abuse:  cattle:  tail docking

           SOURCE  :     Humane Society of the United States

           DIGEST :    This bill makes the practice of tail docking  
          cattle a misdemeanor unless performed by a veterinarian for  
          veterinary purposes.  

           ANALYSIS  :    Developed in New Zealand in the early 1900s,  
          tail docking is the practice of removing part of the solid  
          portion of an animal's tail.  In dairy cattle, tail docking  
          is alleged to improve milking personnel comfort, cow utter  
          cleanliness, and heightened milk quality.  Further, tail  
          docking is alleged to promote milking personnel health  
          through the prevention of leptospirosis a bacterial disease  
          spread by urine from infected animals via contact with skin  
          abrasions or wounds or contact with mucous membranes of the  


                                                                SB 135

          eyes, nose, and mouth.  

          The practice of tail docking has varying restrictions  
          around the world.  It is prohibited in Denmark, Germany,  
          Scotland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  Canada  
          recommends that only competent personnel perform the  
          procedure, and Australia has varying degrees of regulation  
          from requiring that veterinarians perform the procedure to  
          outright prohibition.  

          In the United States, cattle are docked near weaning, most  
          commonly by rubber band constriction.  The banded tail  
          detaches after three to seven weeks, removing one-third to  
          two-thirds of the tail.

          California law makes the practice of tail docking horses or  
          the importation of tail-docked horses a misdemeanor.

          This bill does allow for "docking" only when the solid part  
          of an animal's tail must be removed in an emergency for the  
          purpose of saving the animal's life or relieving the  
          animal's pain, provided that the emergency treatment is  
          performed by a licensed veterinarian and is performed  
          consistent with the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

          According to the sponsors of the bill, tail docking causes  
          acute pain to the animal at the time of docking.  In  
          addition to the pain of the actual procedure, docked cattle  
          lose the ability to protect themselves from flies and other  
          insects as they no longer have sufficient tail to swat away  
          the insects.  

          A recent University of California study found that tail  
          docking does not add any improvement in dairy worker safety  
          and comfort or the health and cleanliness of the cow's  

          In a recent report by the Humane Society of the United  
          States they offer an alternative to tail docking of  
          improved handling, housing management, and seasonal switch  
          trimming.  The switch being the long hairs growing at the  
          end portion of the cow's tail.



                                                                SB 135

           FISCAL EFFECT  :    Appropriation:  No   Fiscal Com.:  Yes    
          Local:  Yes

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  5/19/09)

          Humane Society of the United States (source)
          Animal Place
          Animal Protection and Rescue League
          Born Free USA
          California Animal Association
          California Veterinary Medical Association
          Farm Sanctuary
          Food Empowerment Project
          Humane Farming Action Fund
          Humane Society Veterinary MedicalAssociation
          League of Humane Voters
          Paw PAC
          Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production
          San Diego Animal Advocates
          United Animal Nations

          TSM:do  5/19/09   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

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