BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  SB 135
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          Date of Hearing:   August 19, 2009

                                Kevin De Leon, Chair

                     SB 135 (Florez) - As Amended:  July 6, 2009 

          Policy Committee:                              Public  
          SafetyVote:  4-1
                        Agriculture                                    6-1

          Urgency:     No                   State Mandated Local Program:  
          Yes    Reimbursable:              No


          This bill makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months  
          in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 to dock - or cut -  
          the solid part of the tail of cattle or horses. The prohibition  
          does not apply 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 the treatment is  
          performed by a licensed veterinarian consistent with the  
          Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.

           FISCAL EFFECT  

          1)Negligible state costs. 

          2)Unknown, likely minor, nonreimbursable local law enforcement  
            and incarceration costs, offset to an unknown degree by  
            increased fine revenue.   


           1)Rationale  . Proponents, generally animal protection groups,  
            contend tail docking is an unnecessary and painful procedure  
            that should be outlawed. 

            According to the author, "Scientific studies have shown that  
            the mutilation of tail causes serious welfare problems for  
            animals, including distress, pain, and increased fly attacks.  
            SB 135 would ban the inhumane practice of tail docking. This  
            practice is simply inhumane and unnecessary. Tail docking is  
            performed on some dairy cattle in this State, and results in  


                                                                  SB 135
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            removing more than one-half of a dairy cow's tail without  
            anesthesia. Even more troubling is the fact that there is no  
            scientific justification for engaging in this inhuman  
            practice. This practice is cruel, plain and simple. This is  
            why California law already prohibits tail docking on horses." 

            The American Veterinarian Medical Association (AVMA) opposes  
            tail docking of cattle, stating, "Current scientific  
            literature indicates that routine tail docking provides no  
            benefit to the animal, and that tail docking can lead to  
            distress during fly seasons. When medically necessary,  
            amputation of tails must be performed by a licensed  

           2)Current law  makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six  
            months in county jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 to cut -  
            or dock - the solid part of the tail of any horse for the  
            purpose of shortening the tail, and makes it a misdemeanor,  
            punishable by up to one year in county jail and/or a fine of  
            to $20,000, to maim, mutilate, torture, or wound a living  
            animal or maliciously or intentionally kill an animal. 

           3)Tail Docking Background  . The Humane Society states that  
            California has approximately 1.7 million dairy animals on an  
            estimated 2,200 facilities, and recent industry estimates  
            indicate that docking is practiced at 10% to 15% of those  

            According to the AVMA, tail docking is a management practice  
            used within the dairy industry. The dairy industry in New  
            Zealand developed the process during the early 1900s as an  
            attempt to reduce the incidence of leptospirosis in milking  
            personnel. The stated goals of tail docking include improved  
            comfort for milking personnel, enhanced udder cleanliness,  
            reduced incidence of mastitis, and improved milk quality and  
            milk hygiene. 

            Tail docking is usually performed on young heifers or calves  
            near weaning age, removing one-thirds to two-thirds of the  
            tail. A variety of methods are used to dock tails, including  
            cauterizing irons, elastrator bands and surgical excision. 


                                                                  SB 135
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           Analysis Prepared by  :    Geoff Long / APPR. / (916) 319-2081