BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

          |SENATE RULES COMMITTEE            |                       AB 1453|
          |Office of Senate Floor Analyses   |                              |
          |(916) 651-1520    Fax: (916)      |                              |
          |327-4478                          |                              |

                                   THIRD READING 

          Bill No:  AB 1453
          Author:   Bloom (D), et al.
          Amended:  8/17/16 in Senate
          Vote:     27 - Urgency

           SENATE NATURAL RES. & WATER COMMITTEE:  8-0, 8/11/16
           AYES:  Pavley, Stone, Allen, Hertzberg, Jackson, Monning,  
            Vidak, Wolk
           NO VOTE RECORDED:  Hueso

           AYES:  Lara, Bates, Beall, Hill, McGuire, Mendoza, Nielsen

           ASSEMBLY FLOOR:  Not relevant

           SUBJECT:   Protection of orcas:  unlawful activities

          SOURCE:    Author

          DIGEST:   This urgency bill prohibits captive breeding of orcas  
          in California, and allows the orcas that are currently being  
          held in captivity after June 1, 2017, to be used only for  
          educational presentations. It codifies an existing commitment  
          from Sea World in San Diego. 

          Senate Floor Amendments of 8/17/16 add clarifying language to  
          define bona fide educational or scientific institution for  
          purposes of identifying those institutions that possess orcas  
          for educational purposes and makes other drafting changes.


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          Existing law: 

          1)Prohibits the take of any whale species without specific  
            authorization. Allows permits to be issued for take of a whale  
            from the wild for a limited number of purposes, including for  
            scientific research, for purpose of public display, or for  
            enhancing the survival or recovery of specific stocks.  
            Authorization can also be given for incidental take of marine  
            mammals in the course of conducting certain activities. The  
            National Marine Fisheries Service is responsible for  
            enforcement of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Requirements  
            for permits for public display include that the entity offers  
            a program for education or conservation based on  
            professionally recognized standards of the public display  
            community, is registered or holds a license under the Animal  
            Welfare Act, and maintains facilities open to the public on a  
            regularly scheduled basis.

          2)Governs captive care, handling, treatment and transportation  
            of marine mammals held for public display, and maintenance of  
            marine mammal exhibits, under the federal Animal Welfare Act.  
            The Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health  
            Inspection Service is responsible for enforcement of the  
            Animal Welfare Act. Standards for maintenance and structure of  
            orca pools include: minimum horizontal dimension, volume and  
            depth requirements; a plan of care approved by a veterinarian;  
            and that animals be housed with at least one compatible animal  
            of the same or biologically related species. Examples of pool  
            dimensions include that a pool holding two orcas must have a  
            minimum diameter of 48 feet, a depth of 12 feet, and a minimum  
            volume of 615 meters.

          This bill: 

          1)Makes it unlawful for any person to do any of the following:


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             a)   To hold an orca in captivity, whether wild-caught or  
               captive-bred, for purposes of display, performance or  

             b)   To breed or impregnate any orca in captivity in the  

             c)   To export, collect or import the semen, gametes, or  
               embryos of an orca held in captivity for the purpose of  
               artificial insemination.

             d)   To export, transport, move or sell an orca located in  
               the state to another state or country unless authorized by  
               federal law.

          2)Requires orcas currently in captivity to be used only for  
            educational presentations after June 1, 2017. 

          3)Permits the transfer of an orca to another facility in North  
            America that meets standards comparable to those in the Animal  
            Welfare Act. 

          4)Makes any person who intentionally or negligently violates any  
            of the above prohibitions guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable  
            by a fine not to exceed $100,000. 

          5)Exempts orcas that are rescued or stranded and held by a bona  
            fide educational or scientific facility for rehabilitation and  
            adds definition of bona fide educational or scientific  

          6)Provides that this bill does not apply to an orca that is held  
            for rehabilitation after a rescue or stranding, or for  
            research purposes and requires an orca that is held for  
            rehabilitation or research to be returned to the wild whenever  
            possible, and if return to the wild is not possible, prohibits  


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            such an orca from being used for breeding, performance or  
            entertainment purposes.

          7)Defines "educational presentation" for purposes of this bill  
            to mean live, scheduled orca display in the presence of  
            spectators that includes natural behaviors, enrichment and  
            exercise activities and provides live narration and video  
            content providing science-based education to the public about  

          8)Includes a severability clause, providing that if any of the  
            provisions in the bill are invalidated, that the other  
            provisions can be given effect. 

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

          According to the Senate Appropriations Committee, minor and  
          absorbable costs to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

          SUPPORT:   (Verified8/18/16)

          Animal Legal Defense Fund 
          Animal Welfare Society 
          Born Free USA 
          California League of Conservation Voters 
          Cetacean Society 
          International Defenders of Wildlife 
          Environment California 
          Humane Society of the United States 
          In Defense of Animals 
          Marin Humane Society 
          North County Watch 
          Performing Animal Welfare Society 
          San Francisco SPCA 


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          Sierra Club California 
          Whale and Dolphin Conservation 
          Wildlands Conservancy 
          World Animal Protection 

          OPPOSITION:   (Verified8/18/16)

          None received

          ARGUMENTS IN SUPPORT:   The author indicates that while he  
          wholeheartedly endorses SeaWorld's announcement to end captive  
          breeding, company leadership can change and with it, so can  
          company directions. The author asserts that the people of  
          California and the animal welfare advocates who have been at the  
          forefront in calling for this change need and deserve the  
          assurance that codifying the end of captive breeding of orcas in  
          California will bring. 

          According to the animal welfare and environmental coalition  
          letter in support, there are 11 orcas currently in San Diego  
          representing the last generation of captive orcas that would be  
          displayed in the state. 

          Many supporters describe orcas as a very socially and  
          ecologically complex species that are dependent on very close  
          social bonding in their natural environment. 

          Prepared by:William Craven / N.R. & W. / (916) 651-4116
          8/18/16 16:57:25

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