BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  SB 1345
                                                                  Page  1

          Date of Hearing:   June 29, 2010

                   ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS AND WILDLIFE
                            Jared William Huffman, Chair
                    SB 1345 (Calderon) - As Amended:  May 11, 2010

           SENATE VOTE  :   23-5
           
          SUBJECT  :   Prohibited importation of dead animal parts

           SUMMARY  :   Extends to 2016 the exemption from a ban on importing  
          kangaroo parts, if some reporting requirements are met.   
          Specifically,  this bill  :   

          1)Requires that the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) receive  
            confirmation, in writing, from the Australian government that  
            the commercial harvest of kangaroos in any future year will  
            not exceed the official quota established for that year,  
            consistent with Australian national and state law, and of the  
            sustainability principles on which that quota is based.
          2)Extends the sunset clause of the current exemption from 2011  
            to 2016.

           EXISTING LAW
           
          1)Makes it unlawful to import into this state for commercial  
            purposes, to possess with intent to sell, or to sell within  
            the state, the dead body or any part or product thereof, of  
            any polar bear, leopard, ocelot, tiger, cheetah, jaguar, sable  
            antelope, wolf, zebra, whale, cobra, python, sea turtle,  
            colobus monkey, kangaroo, vicuna, sea otter, free-roaming  
            feral horse, dolphin or porpoise, Spanish lynx, or elephant.

          2)Makes a violation of this section a misdemeanor, punishable by  
            a fine of $1,000 to $5,000 and/or six months in county jail.    
              

          3)Contains an exemption, allowing the importation of kangaroo  
            parts provided the following:
               a)     That the kangaroos were harvested lawfully under  
                 Australian national and state law, the federal Endangered  
                 Species Act of 1971 (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.), and  
                 applicable international conventions, and
               b)     That the DFG is annually informed, by  the  
                 Australian government that the commercial harvest of  








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                 kangaroos in any future year will not exceed the official  
                 quota established for 2007 or the lawful take of  
                 kangaroos in each subsequent year, whichever is the  
                 lesser.  If DFG fails to receive this report it shall  
                 halt the importation of kangaroo parts into this state  
                 for commercial purposes, and possession with intent to  
                 sell, or sale within the state will be subject to the  
                 provisions of this section.
               c)     That this exemption will remain in effect only until  
                 January 1 , 2011,  and as of that date is repealed,  
                 unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before  
                 January 1, 2011,  deletes or extends that date.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown

           

          COMMENTS  : 
            
           1)Background:  Kangaroos are marsupial (pouch-bearing) mammals in  
            the family Macropodidae, endemic to the continent of  
            Australia.  Of the 47 species in the macropod family, the four  
            larger species are referred to as kangaroos, while their  
            smaller relatives include wallabies, quokkas, and pademelons.   
            Several of the smaller species (wallabies, pademelons) have  
            declined since European colonization, mostly because of  
            habitat loss and predation from the introduced dogs, cats, and  
            foxes.  The larger species - the Kangaroos - are not  
            endangered however, and are abundant in some areas, leading to  
            an annual "cull" or organized commercial hunt.  An annual  
            quota is set for each region where the annual cull is  
            conducted, based on the population numbers of the kangaroos in  
            that area.  Only five species can be harvested (as of 2010):  
            the Red, Eastern Gray, Western Gray, and Euro (Wallaroo)  
            kangaroo and Bennett's Wallaby (only on King Island,  
            Tasmania). According to the Australian Department of the  
            Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, the quotas are "a  
            scientifically estimated sustained yield and represent an  
            upper harvest limit independent of industry demand".  "To  
            ensure there is no detriment to any species in any region,  
            each state is divided into zones for monitoring and  
            quota-setting." Also, "state-wide quotas are rarely met  
            although they may be met for a particular zone. Over the  
            period from 2001 to 2009, the total number of kangaroos  
            harvested has been 64 per cent of the total annual quota over  








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            that period".  For 2009, the quota was 4.1 million animals,  
            but (perhaps reflecting the low prices for kangaroo meat and  
            leather) only 1.9 million animals were actually harvested; the  
            population of kangaroos in the harvest area was estimated at  
            just over 27 million.  The quota for 2010 is just over 4  
            million animals.  Kangaroo leather is used for the manufacture  
            of some specialty products (e.g., soccer shoes, and boots used  
            by law enforcement).

           2)Purpose  :   The author has introduced this bill to ensure that  
            importation and sale of products made from kangaroo hides  
            remains legal in California.   Prior to passage of SB 880  
            (Calderon) in 2007, California was the only state that  
            prohibited importation of kangaroo products.  If no action is  
            taken by the Legislature, then SB 880 will sunset by its own  
            terms and kangaroo products would again be an illegal  
            commodity in California. The Committee may consider such a  
            result to be impractical, given that some degree of retail  
            trade has now become established, and in fact, had been  
            established to some degree even before the ban was lifted.

           3)Arguments in support  : Because kangaroo products may be legally  
            imported and sold in the other 49 states, and can be purchased  
            by Californians over the internet,  the author contends that  
            allowing the SB 880 exemption to sunset would only put  
            California sporting good stores and other retailers selling  
            athletic shoes at a competitive disadvantage vis-?-vis  
            out-of-state retailers.  The supporters argue that the bill is  
            needed to ensure that the products made from leather of  
            non-endangered kangaroos remain legal for sale in California,  
            and that without SB 1345 an ambiguity will be created in law  
            and retailers will face possible litigation exposure.  The  
            sponsor (5.11 Tactical) points out the importance of kangaroo  
            leather in production of specialty boots used by law  
            enforcement.  The Australian government supports this bill and  
            asserts that there have been no adverse impacts on kangaroo  
            populations in over twenty years from commercial harvesting.

           4)Arguments in opposition:  Opponents, primarily organizations  
            devoted to animal protection, argue that Australia's  
            regulation of kangaroo hunting does not ensure that only  
            abundant species of kangaroo are being killed.  Kangaroo  
            harvesting occurs primarily at night, and opponents claim that  
            many endangered species continue to be killed by hunters who  
            cannot differentiate between endangered species and the  








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            abundant species that can legally be harvested.  This argument  
            is contradicted by Australian literature which indicates that  
            the endangered species (some wallabies and pademelons) are  
            very distinct (for one, they are much smaller) and are  
            entirely different-looking from the large and abundant  
            kangaroos.  The contacted expert indicated that he knew of no  
            instances of an endangered species getting accidentally shot  
            during the kangaroo hunt. 

          In addition, the opposition expresses a lack of confidence in  
            the Australian government's management of the species and  
            claims that some species of kangaroos are being shot at a rate  
            which exceeds their reproduction rate.  This argument  
            contradicted by the past three decades of kangaroo research,  
            which indicate a stable kangaroo population whose size is  
            influenced mainly by its forage food availability (which, in  
            turn, is controlled by precipitation: kangaroo populations  
            decline during droughts, when the vegetation is scarce and the  
            animals starve to death), rather than by harvesting. 

          The main argument raised by opponents is their objection to  
            harvesting wildlife for profit (which, they point out, is not  
            done in California), as well as to what are perceived as  
            inhumane methods of killing kangaroos, particularly joeys  
            (baby kangaroos) found in the pouches of mother kangaroos  
            which are shot.  The Australian Code of Practice for humane  
            shooting of kangaroos provides that "Shot females must be  
            examined for pouch young and if one is present it must also be  
            killed.  Decapitation with a sharp instrument in very small  
            hairless young or a properly executed heavy blow to destroy  
            the brain in larger young are effective means of causing  
            sudden and painless death."  The latter argument is likely to  
            be factually correct in that joeys are indeed likely killed as  
            a result of the hunt.  Royal Society for the Prevention of  
            Cruelty to Animals Australia (RSPCA Australia), in its review  
            of compliance with the Code of Practice for the Humane  
            Shooting of Kangaroos notes that "RSPCA Australia believes  
            that the only solution which would avoid the potential of  
            cruelty to pouch young would be to avoid shooting females  
            altogether".
           
           5)Comment - Kangaroos as pests or a resource  : The Committee may  
            wish to consider a novel suggestion for kangaroo management,  
            namely the concept that an increased market for kangaroo meat  
            and leather would lead to a better environmental outcome in  








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            Australia by allowing a reduction in the sheep population and  
            a recovery of overgrazed lands (argument advanced by Prof. G.  
            Grigg from the University of Queensland in Brisbane).  

          Explanation from Prof. Grigg: some kangaroos have become more  
            abundant since European colonization both because their  
            predators (e.g., dingoes) have declined, and especially  
            because of the expansion of irrigated pasture lands.  Those  
            pasture lands are used for grazing sheep, and many areas  
            suffer from overgrazing and consequent erosion and  
            desertification.  Unfortunately, the kangaroos - which are  
            also grazing animals - are then perceived to be (a) competing  
            with sheep, and (b) degrading the land, and are currently seen  
            as "pests" by both many ranchers and some local governments in  
            Australia.  The annual cull ends up being in part a means of  
            "pest control" (which, regrettably, allows ranchers to stock  
            even more sheep), as the current prices for kangaroo leather  
            are low (and even lower for kangaroo meat), reflecting a lack  
            of market demand.  According to this argument, if the demand  
            for kangaroo were higher, the prices paid for kangaroo meat  
            and leather would rise (because the kangaroo supply is  
            strictly limited by the quota), and the ranchers may be able  
            to reduce their sheep herds and instead focus on providing  
            pasture to kangaroos.  The potential result, prof. Grigg  
            asserts, would be a reduction in overgrazing damage to  
            Australian grasslands, and also a shift in perception of  
            kangaroos from a pest to a resource.  However, the opponents  
            of this concept note that after decades of kangaroo harvesting  
            little has been done by the ranchers to either conserve  
            kangaroos or improve their habitat.

          6)DFG has an official "neutral" position on this bill, and  
            reports that they have successfully received an official  
            report from Australia on the 2009 kangaroo quota and harvest  
            numbers.  The opponents of the bill argue that the 2009 report  
            "was received at the last minute" just prior to the bill's  
            hearing in the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee.


           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :

           Support 
           
          5.11 Tactical (sponsor)
          Adidas America, Inc.








                                                                  SB 1345
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          Australian Consulate-General, Los Angeles
          California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
          Club Deportivo Chivas USA
          Los Angeles Galaxy
          Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
          US Youth Soccer
           
            Opposition 
           
          Humane Society of the United States
          One individual

           Analysis Prepared by  :    Igor Lacan / W., P. & W. / (916)  
          319-2096