BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó


          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                   AB 634|
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                                 THIRD READING

          Bill No:  AB 634
          Author:   Huber (D)
          Amended:  7/12/11 in Senate
          Vote:     21

           SENATE AGRICULTURE COMMITTEE  :  6-0, 6/21/11
          AYES:  Cannella, Rubio, Berryhill, Evans, La Malfa, Vargas
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Wolk

          AYES:  Simitian, Strickland, Blakeslee, Hancock, Kehoe, 
            Lowenthal, Pavley

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  :  60-0, 4/14/11(Consent) - See last page for 

           SUBJECT  :    Vertebrate pest control:  carbon monoxide

           SOURCE  :     California Farm Bureau Federation 

           DIGEST  :    This bill authorizes using carbon monoxide for 
          vertebrate pest control, as specified.

           ANALYSIS :    Existing law defines a vertebrate pest for 
          purposes of requiring the Secretary of the Department of 
          Food and Agriculture to establish and administer a research 
          program to control vertebrate pests, and prohibits the 
          killing of any animal by means of carbon monoxide. 

          This bill authorizes the use of carbon monoxide for the 


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          control of vertebrate pests, subject to specified 
          provisions governing pest control operations and the use of 
          agricultural chemicals.


          In California, it is currently illegal to kill any animal, 
          including vertebrate pests, using carbon monoxide (an 
          odorless, colorless gas that is a cumulative poison).  
          Vertebrate pests include any specie of mammal, bird, 
          reptile, amphibian, or fish that causes damage to 
          agricultural, natural, or industrial resources, or to any 
          other resource.  Anticoagulant bait, zinc phosphide bait, 
          gas cartridge fumigation and trapping are current methods 
          used for vertebrate pest control in California.  

          The United States Department of Agriculture estimated in 
          2009 that California's farmers see crop losses caused by 
          rodents and other vertebrate pests in excess of $500 
          million annually.

          In addition to crop losses, vertebrate pests can damage 
          irrigation equipment, produce hazards to machinery and 
          livestock by causing unstable ground around their burrow 
          systems, and create health hazards as carriers of diseases 
          especially bubonic plague.  As an example, burrowing 
          rodents are believed to have been a contributing factor to 
          the breaking of the West Levee of Upper Jones Tract in San 
          Joaquin County that flooded 12,000 acres and cost $90 
          million in repairs.

          The use of carbon monoxide for vertebrate pest control 
          purposes is legal in 49 other states.


          According to the author's office, California farmers and 
          ranchers have limited options when trying to control 
          vertebrate pest infestations damaging their crops.  Many 
          control methods are only effective during certain seasons 
          and in certain situations.  California farmers need 
          expanded methods of vertebrate pest control.  Carbon 
          monoxide is an additional tool for vertebrate pest control 
          and is a safe, targeted, and humane method.  New and 


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          improved pest control technologies, such as the use of 
          carbon monoxide, will benefit farmers by cutting down crop 
          and equipment damage losses.

          According to the  American Veterinary Medical Association 
          Guidelines on Euthanasia  published in June 2007, carbon 
          monoxide is an effective method for euthanasia for small 
          mammals, but does pose hazards and should be handled 

           Prior Legislation
          AB 2776 (N. Waters), Chapter 757, Statutes of 1990, 
          established a research program to control vertebrate pests 
          which pose a significant threat to the welfare of the 
          state's agricultural economy and public.

          SB 1659 (Kopp), Chapter 751, Statutes of 1998, banned the 
          use of carbon monoxide in the killing of animals.  The 
          focus of the bill was to prevent the use of a carbon 
          monoxide chamber in animal shelters for animal euthanasia.  
          The bill did not address or discuss the use of carbon 
          monoxide as a pest control.  AB 634 corrects the 
          inadvertent consequences of SB 1659. 

          SB 872 (Denham), Chapter 176, Statutes of 2005, extended 
          the sunset of the vertebrate pest control program to 
          January 1, 2016.

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

           SUPPORT  :   (Verified  8/15/11)

          California Farm Bureau Federation (source)
          Agricultural Council of California 
          All-Pro Pest Control (Oak Hills)
          CAL-AG Enterprises (Fowler)
          California Association of Pest Control Advisers 
          California Association of School Business Officials 
          California Cattlemen's Association 
          California Certified Organic Farmers 
          California Chamber of Commerce 
          California Grain and Feed Association 


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          California Grape and Tree Fruit League 
          California Seed Association 
          California Warehouse Association 
          Chico Farm & Orchard, Inc.
          Community Alliance with Family Farmers
          Dale's Rodent Control (Tehachapi)
          Dorrance Ranches, LLP (Hollister)
          Ginner & Company (Portola Valley)
          Haire Management Co. LLC (Napa)
          Harman Bros. Ranches (Dos Palos)
          High Jack Ranch (Van Nuys)
          Lonesome Dove Ranch (Geyserville)
          Pacific Egg and Poultry Association 
          Park View Cemetery (Manteca)
          Patterson Westside Farm (Patterson)
          Pina Vineyard Management, LLC (Oakville)
          Pretty Penny Vineyard (Paso Robles)
          Shields Ranch (Brawley)
          York Ranch (Alturas)
          Zack Ranch LLC (Bishop)

           OPPOSITION  :    (Verified  8/15/11)

          Center for Biological Diversity
          Defenders of Wildlife

           ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT  :    According to the bill's sponsor, 
          the California Farm Bureau Federation, this bill allows 
          farmers and ranchers to use carbon monoxide for the control 
          of vertebrate pests such as gophers and ground squirrels.  
          An estimated $500 million in crop losses are attributed to 
          rodents and other vertebrate pests in California.  
          Supporters state that carbon monoxide is a safe, targeted, 
          and humane method of rodent control. 

          The California Association of School Business Officials 
          states that vertebrates pests cause safety concerns on 
          school property throughout California with school play 
          yards and fields littered with small piles of dirt and 
          countless holes left behind as tripping hazards.  Using 
          poisons, traps, propane explosions and other methods are 
          not feasible on or around school property, but using carbon 
          monoxide would present a safe and quiet control method that 
          leaves no residue.


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           ARGUMENTS IN OPPOSITION  :    Opponents state this bill would 
          have "unacceptable impacts on endangered and sensitive 
          wildlife species that rely on rodent burrows.  The bill as 
          it stands does not prevent use of carbon monoxide in 
          endangered and sensitive species habitats, nor does it 
          prevent use of carbon monoxide in ground squirrel burrows.  
          ? Because carbon monoxide is a byproduct, not an active 
          ingredient, of rodent control devices used to fumigate 
          burrows, carbon monoxide poisoning may not be adequately 
          regulated under federal pesticide law such as FIFRA 
          ÝFederal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act] if AB 
          634 passes as currently written.  Allowing the 
          indiscriminate use of carbon monoxide would be an end-run 
          around EPA labeling restrictions on fumigants in burrows."  

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR  : 
          AYES:  Achadjian, Allen, Ammiano, Atkins, Beall, Bill 
            Berryhill, Block, Blumenfield, Bonilla, Bradford, 
            Brownley, Buchanan, Campos, Carter, Cedillo, Chesbro, 
            Cook, Davis, Dickinson, Donnelly, Eng, Fletcher, Fong, 
            Fuentes, Furutani, Gatto, Gordon, Hagman, Halderman, 
            Hall, Hayashi, Roger Hernández, Hill, Huber, Hueso, 
            Huffman, Jeffries, Lara, Bonnie Lowenthal, Ma, Miller, 
            Mitchell, Monning, Nestande, Nielsen, Norby, Pan, Perea, 
            V. Manuel Pérez, Portantino, Silva, Skinner, Smyth, 
            Solorio, Swanson, Torres, Valadao, Wieckowski, Yamada, 
            John A. Pérez
          NO VOTE RECORDED:  Alejo, Butler, Charles Calderon, Conway, 
            Feuer, Galgiani, Garrick, Gorell, Grove, Harkey, Jones, 
            Knight, Logue, Mansoor, Mendoza, Morrell, Olsen, Wagner, 
            Williams, Vacancy

          MEL:mw  8/15/11   Senate Floor Analyses 

                         SUPPORT/OPPOSITION:  SEE ABOVE

                                ****  END  ****


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