BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                  AB 343
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          Date of Hearing:   April 17, 2013

                           Susan Talamantes Eggman, Chair
                   AB 343 (Patterson) - As Amended:  April 11, 2013
          SUBJECT  :  Animal cruelty: duty to report.

           SUMMARY  :  Requires any person, except journalists as specified,  
          who knowingly documents evidence of farm animal cruelty with  
          film, photograph, images, print, recordings or videotapes to  
          (documented evidence) provide a copy to local law enforcement or  
          an animal control officer within 120 hours.  Specifically,  this  
          bill  :  

          1)Requires any person, except journalists, who willingly or  
            knowingly produce documented evidence of animal cruelty, to  
            provide a copy to local law enforcement within 120 hours, in  
            order to assist law enforcement with a timely investigation  
            and enforcement of suspected animal cruelty.

          2)Makes a violation of not reporting documented evidence of  
            animal cruelty to local law enforcement, punishable with a  
            $250 fine.

          3)Specifies that the $250 fine be applied only once against a  
            person for withholding documented evidence for an  
            investigation of an individual or employer so long as the  
            information collected demonstrates that documented incidences  
            of cruelty are related to the same person or employer.

          4)Exempts the unintended documentation of animal cruelty by  
            video surveillance, security systems or other imaging systems  
            from reporting requirements. 

          5)Specifies that reporting documented evidence shall not limit  
            or impede ongoing investigations, as long as documented  
            evidence is turned over to law enforcement within 120 hours of  
            the documentation.

          6)Specifies that law enforcement is not required or encouraged  
            to reveal the source of the documented evidence to individuals  
            or employers suspected of animal cruelty. 

          7)Clarifies that reprisal against employees who report  


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            documented evidences of suspected animal cruelty to local law  
            enforcement is prohibited by current law.

          8)Specifies that persons who report documented evidence shall  
            not be held civilly or criminally liable.

          9)Specifies that a person who reports documented evidence, who  
            is asked by law enforcement to provide information on the  
            individual or employer suspected of cruelty, shall not be held  
            civilly or criminally liable for providing the requested  

          10)Allows the California Department of Food and Agriculture to  
            report individuals suspected on not reporting documented  
            evidence to the appropriate district attorney. 

          11)Defines animal as any domestic bovine animal, horse, mule,  
            burro, sheep, goat, or swine, or the hide, carcass, or portion  
            of a carcass of any such animal. 

          12)Defines animal cruelty as maliciously and intentionally  
            maiming, mutilating, torturing, or wounding a living animal,  
            or maliciously and intentionally killing an animal, as  

          13)Defines poultry as any domesticated bird, whether live or  

          14)Provides that no reimbursement is required by this act.

           EXISTING LAW:

           1)Establishes a variety of offences relating to animal cruelty,  
            including but not limited to, maliciously, intentionally, or  
            cruelly maiming, mutilating, torturing, wounding or killing a  
            living animal.

          2)Provides for a fine of up to $20,000 and/or up to one year in  
            jail for a misdemeanor conviction of animal cruelty, or, for a  
            fine of up to $20,000 and/or up to three years in prison for a  
            felony conviction of animal cruelty.

           FISCAL EFFECT  :  Unknown. This bill is keyed fiscal by  
          Legislative Counsel.  


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           COMMENTS  :  California has enacted some of the strongest laws in  
          the nation relating to cruelty of, cruelty towards, or neglect  
          of animals. These laws protect domesticated pets, stray animals,  
          wild animals and farm animals. California does not have a  
          mandatory reporting law for animal cruelty or cruelty.

          In 2008, a video was released depicting acts of cruelty by  
          employees at a livestock harvesting facility in Chino. This  
          footage was compiled over a six week period in the fall of 2007  
          and was released to the media in January of 2008.  This video  
          led to a recall of 143 million pounds of raw and frozen beef,  
          along with criminal convictions for people involved in the  
          animal cruelty. 

          Under current law, there is no requirement to report witnessed  
          or recorded acts of animal cruelty evidence to law enforcement.   
          According to the sponsors, if the Chino footage had been turned  
          over to management and law enforcement immediately, corrective  
          actions would have instantly occurred, preventing the suffering  
          of additional cattle. The author states this is the sole purpose  
          of the bill, to prevent farm animal cruelty. 

          According to supporters, this bill will, in instances of  
          recorded animal cruelty, ensure corrective actions are taken  
          immediately, improve animal welfare and assist in bringing to  
          justice those responsible for farm animal cruelty.  Sponsors  
          state that this bill protects employees and does not infringe of  
          the rights of whistleblowers. 

          Opponents state that this bill is an attempt to chill free  
          speech, and, limit whistleblowers or activists who want to  
          inform the public of animal cruelty and food safety issues.   
          Opponents further state that this bill, if in place in 2008,  
          would have stopped workers from exposing the animal cruelty and  
          fraud, while not preventing the act of cruelty and fraud. 

          Opponents from news gathering organizations have stated that  
          holding a photographer or videographer criminally liability if  
          he or she captures or records images of animal cruelty, but  
          fails to provide them to local law enforcement, would violate  
          both Federal copyright law and the First Amendment. Under  
          copyright law, once an image or recording is lawfully captured,  
          the person who takes the picture or shoots the video has an  
          instantaneous intellectual property interest in the work that is  
          protected.  Furthermore, opponents state that this amounts to  


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          the taking of property without due process.

          The committee may wish to consider if the stated goal of this  
          bill, to "improve animal welfare and ? expeditiously hold those  
          responsible for farm animal cruelty accountable", will be  
          achieved. This bill does not require those who witness farm  
          animal cruelty, whether employees, employers or members of the  
          public, to report the cruelty to anyone.  The circumstances  
          which cause a person to become a mandatory reporter, under this  
          bill, are limited. The limitations on who is a mandatory  
          reporter of farm animal cruelty could also limit the protections  
          offered to farm animals, which is the stated purpose of this  



          Absher Land & Livestock Company
          California Cattlemen's Association
          California Farm Bureau Federation
          California Grain & Feed Association
          California Horse Council
          California Pork Producers Association
          California Thoroughbred Breeders Association
          Ventura County Cattlemen's Association
           Six individual 


          A Well Fed World
          ACLU of California
          American Society for the Prevention of   Cruelty to Animals
          Animal Legal Defense Fund
          Animal Place
          Animal Welfare Institute
          Born Free USA
          CA Teamsters Public Affairs Council
          California Horsemen's Alliance
          California Labor Federation
          California Newspaper Publishers Association
          Compassion in World Farming
          Compassion Over Killing


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          Diana Basehart Foundation
          Ena Valikov, DVM
          Equal Justice Alliance
          Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM)
          Farm Forward
          Farm Sanctuary
          Farmer at Tipping Tree Farm
          Food & Water Watch
          Food Empowerment Project
          Humane Farming Association
          Humane Society of the United States
          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
          Injured & Orphaned Wildlife
          Inland Valley Humane Society & SPCA
          Jim Reynolds, DVM, MPVM
          League of Humane Voters
          Marin Humane Society
          Mercy for Animals
          Monterey County SPCA
          National Press Photographers Association
          Organic Consumers Association
          Paul Kortez, Los Angeles City Council 
               Fifth District 
          Paw Pac
          Paw Project
          Protecting Earth & Animals with Compassion & Education (PEACE)
          Public Interest Coalition
          Public Justice Center
          Rescue House
          Resqcats, Inc.
          San Francisco SPCA
          Senior Citizens for Humane Legislation and       Education
          Sierra Club California
          Slow Food USA Governor, Central Valley Region of California
          Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL)
          Socially Responsible Agriculture Project (SRAP)
          Stare Humane Association of California
          Sustainable Economies Law Center 
          Take Me Home, Animal Rescue
          Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry
          United Food & Commercial Workers, Western States Council
          Vegan Coalition
          Whistleblower Support Fund
          11 individual


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          Analysis Prepared by  :    Victor Francovich / AGRI. / (916)