BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  1

          Date of Hearing:  June 30, 2015

          Counsel:               David Billingsley


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair

          716 (Lara) - As Amended May 5, 2015

          SUMMARY:  States that it is misdemeanor for any person who  
          houses, possesses, or is in direct contact with an elephant to  
          use specified devices designed to inflict pain for the purpose  
          of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant.  
          Specifically, this bill:

          1)Specifies that on or after January 1, 2018, it shall be a  
            misdemeanor for any person who houses, possesses, or is in  
            direct contact with an elephant to use a bullhook, ankus,  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  2

            baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, or similar device  
            designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or  
            controlling the behavior of an elephant. 

          2)Prohibited behavior includes brandishing, exhibiting, or  
            displaying any of the devices, listed above, in the presence  
            of an elephant.

          EXISTING LAW:  

          1)Specifies that it is a misdemeanor for any owner or manager of  
            an elephant to engage in abusive behavior toward the elephant,  
            including the discipline of the elephant by any of the  
            following  methods:  

             a)   Deprivation of food, water, or rest. (Pen. Code,   
               596.5, subd. (a).)

             b)   Use of electricity. (Pen. Code,  596.5, subd. (b).)

             c)   Physical punishment resulting in damage, scarring, or  
               breakage of skin. (Pen. Code,  596.5, subd. (c).)

             d)   Insertion of any instrument into any bodily orifice.  
               (Pen. Code,  596.5, subd. (d).)

             e)   Use of martingales. (Pen. Code,  596.5, subd. (e).)


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  3

             f)   Use of block and tackle. (Pen. Code,  596.5, subd.  

          2)Specifies the actions of a person who maliciously and  
            intentionally maims, mutilates, tortures, or wounds a living  
            animal, or maliciously and intentionally kills an animal as a  
            criminal offense. (Pen. Code,  597.)

          3)Specifies when a person overdrives, overloads, drives when  
            overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of  
            necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter, cruelly beats,  
            mutilates, or cruelly kills any animal, or causes or procures  
            any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when  
            overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of  
            necessary sustenance, drink, shelter, or to be cruelly beaten,  
            mutilated, or cruelly killed; and whoever, having the charge  
            or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise,  
            subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts  
            unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses  
            any animal, or fails to provide the animal with proper food,  
            drink, or shelter or protection from the weather, or who  
            drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for  
            labor as a criminal offense. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (b).)

          4)Requires punishment as a felony by imprisonment pursuant to  
            subdivision (h) of Section 1170, or by a fine of not more than  
            twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or by both that fine and  
            imprisonment, or alternatively, as a misdemeanor by  
            imprisonment in a county jail for not more than one year, or  
            by a fine of not more than twenty thousand dollars ($20,000),  
            or by both that fine and imprisonment for violations of Penal  
            Code section 597(animal cruelty). (Pen. Code,  597, subd.  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  4


          5)Requires that if a defendant is granted probation for a  
            conviction animal cruelty, the court shall order the defendant  
            to pay for, and successfully complete, counseling, as  
            determined by the court, designed to evaluate and treat  
            behavior or conduct disorders. If the court finds that the  
            defendant is financially unable to pay for that counseling,  
            the court may develop a sliding fee schedule based upon the  
            defendant's ability to pay. The counseling shall be in  
            addition to any other terms and conditions of probation,  
            including any term of imprisonment and any fine. If the court  
            does not order custody as a condition of probation for a  
            conviction under this section, the court shall specify on the  
            court record the reason or reasons for not ordering custody.  
            This does not apply to cases involving police dogs or horses  
            as described in Section 600. (Pen. Code,  597, subd. (h).)
          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.


          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "SB 716 simply  
            codifies industry standards for elephant management by  
            prohibiting the use of bullhooks, bats, and pitchforks to  
            discipline an elephant. A bullhook is typically embedded into  
            most sensitive areas of an elephant, which involves areas  
            around the ears, mouth, and back of the legs. The use of this  
            instrument also puts handlers at severe risk, should an  
            elephant decide to rebel against the trainer. Since 1990,  
            there have been at least 16 human deaths, and 135 injuries in  
            the U.S. have been attributed to elephants, primarily in  
            circus-related incidents. Simply put, it is time for the State  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  5

            to prohibit this inhumane practice."

          2)Federal Protection Afforded to Elephants under the Animal  
            Welfare Act:  Under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA), zoos,  
            circuses, transporters, roadside menageries and exhibitors of  
            elephants must be licensed and participate in record-keeping  
            and marking requirements.  Additional protections exist  
            governing their care, handling, and transport.  The AWA gives  
            power to the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States  
            Department of Agriculture, whose power is further delegated to  
            the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to  
            administer and enforce the AWA's requirements.  APHIS enforces  
            the Act through conducting inspections and instituting rules  
            and regulations for facilities.  APHIS is required to conduct  
            yearly inspections and investigate facilities whenever a  
            complaint is filed.

          The AWA does not prohibit any particular instruments in the  
            handling of elephants or other warm blooded animals.

          3)Guide, Bullhook, and Ankus are Terms which Refer to the Same  
            Tool:  The guide is a shaft with a tapered metal hook  
            attached, and it sometimes has a blunt metal point at the end.  
            It is also sometime referred to as the ankus, (bull)hook, or  
            goad.  The guide extends a handler's reach so s/he may touch,  
            push, or pull various parts of the elephant's body. A guide is  
            used in all free contact programs in the United States, and  
            may also be used in conjunction with protected contact.  
            Literature Review on the Welfare Implications of Elephant  
            Training, (April 2008)  

          4)American Veterinary Medicine Association (AVMA) Policy Does  
            Not Prohibit the Use of Guides/Bullhooks:   AVMA policy  
            prohibits the use of guides in a manner which inflicts harm on  
            an elephant, but allows use of the guide as a husbandry tool  
            for elephant management.


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  6

          "The AVMA condemns the use of guides to puncture, lacerate,  
            strike or inflict harm upon an elephant.  Elephant guides are  
            husbandry tools that consist of a shaft capped by one straight  
            and one curved end. The ends are blunt and tapered, and are  
            used to touch parts of the elephant's body as a cue to elicit  
            specific actions or behaviors, with the handler exerting very  
            little pressure. The ends should contact, but should not tear  
            or penetrate the skin." (Elephant Guides and Tethers, AVMA.)  

          "The AVMA recommend tethers only be used for the shortest time  
            required for specific management purposes. Tethers provide a  
            means to temporarily limit an elephant's movement for elephant  
            or human safety and well-being. Tethers can be constructed of  
            rope, chain, or nylon webbing, and their use and fit should  
            not result in discomfort or skin injury. Forelimb tethers  
            should be loose on the foot below the carpal joint, and hind  
            limb tethers should fit snugly on the limb between the tarsus  
            and knee joints. Tether length should be sufficient to allow  
            the elephant to easily lie down and rise unless required for  
            medical procedures for a limited period.. The AVMA also  
            recognizes that shorter or otherwise modified tethers may need  
            to be applied for limited period of time to perform medical  
            procedures safely. 

          "Guides and tethers are used for training elephants in some  
            elephant management systems, and appropriate training is  
            important for facilitating veterinary care. However, guides  
            and tethers should only be used in a manner consistent with  
            the promotion of optimum welfare of the elephant. Personnel  
            using these devices should be trained adequately, as well as  
            introduced to alternative management systems." (Elephant  
            Guides and Tethers, AVMA.)  

          5)Under Existing Law, it is a Crime to Engage in Abusive  
            Behavior Towards an Elephant:  "It shall be a misdemeanor for  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  7

            any owner or manager of an elephant to engage in abusive  
            behavior toward the elephant, . . ." (Pen. Code,  596.5,  
            subd. (a).)  The statute goes on to list specific conduct  
            which is included under "abusive behavior," but does not limit  
            the definition of abusive behavior towards and elephant in any  
            way.  A "bull hook" or "guide" used by an owner or manager to  
            engage in abusive behavior toward the elephant is already a  
            crime under existing law.

          6)Criminalizing the Use of the "Bullhook" or "Guide" Will  
            Eliminate Elephants in Live Performances:  There are two  
            models for elephant trainers and caretakers to interact with  
            elephants:  "protective contact" and "free contact."  In the  
            protective contact model, the trainer or caretaker only  
            interacts with elephants through a barrier or fence.  In free  
            contact the trainer/caretaker shares a physical space with the  
            elephant.  The bullhook/guide is necessary for free contact  
            training or management.  Without use of the "bull hook" or  
            "guide," free contact is not a viable model for interacting  
            with elephants.  In order to have a live performance involving  
            an elephant, free contact is necessary.  Live performance with  
            elephants typically occurs in a circus, but can also include  
            use of elephants in films, or events like county fairs.  If  
            the use of the bullhook is prohibited, participation of  
            elephants in those events will not be possible.

          7)Argument in Support:  According to The Humane Society, "The  
            bullhook is the most commonly used device to train, punish,  
            and control elephants.  A bullhook is approximately 2 to 3  
            feet long and resembles a fireplace poker.  It has a sharp  
            metal hook and spike at one end and the handle is typically  
            plastic or wood.  Bullhooks are used to poke, prod, strike,  
            and hit elephants on their sensitive skin in order to "train"  
            them.  Often the elephants are hit behind the ears and eyes  
            which are paper thin and around their feet, mouth and trunk  
            which are rich in nerve endings.

          "Elephants are often hooked and hit with bullhooks before  
            performances in order to instill fear and, in turn, ensure  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  8

            that tricks or other desired behavior will be performed on  
            command, during training to teach and reinforce tricks, to  
            punish the animals when they fail to perform as instructed,  
            and to control elephants during routine handling.  The handle  
            is used as a club, inflicting substantial pain by striking  
            areas where little tissue separates skin and bone.  In  
            response to criticisms that bullhook use constitutes abuse,  
            the industry has publicly started calling it a "guide."  Just  
            brandishing the bullhook provides a constant reminder to  
            elephants of the painful punishment that can be meted out  
            against them at the whim of their handlers.

          "California zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and  
            Aquariums (AZA) no longer use bullhooks, nor does the  
            Performing Animal Welfare Society's sanctuary which is home to  
            numerous rescued elephants.  The AZA now also urges all its  
            member zoos to switch to a safer and more humane elephant  
            training system that does not utilize the bullhook.  

          "In addition to the inhumane treatment of elephants, traveling  
            shows and other performances that use elephants in the state  
            also pose a threat to public safety by bringing people into  
            dangerously close proximity to an incredibly powerful and  
            stressed wild animal.  The use of bullhooks promotes  
            aggression and the device will not prevent an elephant from  
            rampaging or protect the public when such an incident occurs.   
            There have been numerous incidents where elephants have run  
            amok, sometimes causing death, injury, or property damage."

          8)Argument in Opposition:  According to The Elephant Managers  
            Association, "With respect to the proposed bill SB 716, we  
            would like the Committee members to be aware of some facts  
            regarding captive elephant management:

               "There are current, and widely accepted, professional  
               industry standards such as the EMA Guidelines for Elephant  
               Care and Management and the EMA supported Elephant  
               Husbandry Manual, as well as the Association of Zoos and  
               Aquariums' (AZA) Elephant Standards and Guidelines.   


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  9

               Additionally the American Veterinary Medical Association  
               (AVMA) has gone on record supporting the use of  
               professional tools, including the guide, to manage  

               "There are existing federal regulations that strictly  
               govern elephant care under the Animal Welfare Act and that  
               are overseen and revised frequently by the U.S. Department  
               of Agriculture, animal and Plant Health Inspection Service  
               (USDA/APHIS).  USDA/APHIS utilizes trained veterinary  
               professionals who are instructed specifically in  
               animal/elephant care and welfare to conduct regular  
               inspections of all license exhibitors of elephants (and  
               other animals);

               "All animal species are able to be trained using "operant  
               conditioning."  This is a type of learning in which the  
               probability of a behavior recurring is increased or  
               decreased by the consequences that follow.  This teaching  
               process includes both positive and negative reinforcement.   
               Operant conditioning is used in all forms of elephant care,  
               and the process of training animals responsibly utilizes a  
               variety of science-based techniques which are critical to  
               providing proper welfare and husbandry.  Utilizing and  
               elephant guide and employing positive reinforcement are  
               often part of the same overall operant conditioning system.

               "All animal species are vastly different in their husbandry  
               needs and each species requires specialized equipment to  
               ensure proper care.  Tools such as elephant guide (or  
               bullhooks) are safe and productive components of elephant  
               care and training.  As will all specialized equipment,  
               their effective sue requires skill and training while their  
               complete elimination inhibits effective and proper  
               management techniques that are specific to elephants due to  
               their size and unique evolutionary adaptations.  Elephant  
               tools are not intended to injure or harm the animal and are  
               proven and humane husbandry tools that are widely utilized  
               by knowledgeable and experience elephant care professionals  


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  10

               in a variety of settings.  They also add an increased  
               degree of safety for the trainer, the animal, and the  

          9)Prior Legislation:  

             a)   AB 777 (Levine), of the 2007-2008 Legislative Session,  
               would have prohibited specified conduct in relation to  
               housing, possessing, contacting, or traveling with an  
               elephant.  AB 777 was held in the Assembly Public Safety  

             b)   AB 3027 (Levine), of the 2005-2006 Legislative Session,  
               would have prevented the use an Ankus, bullhook, or similar  
               device on an elephant. Would have prevented the use of any  
               chain that is used to restrain an elephant, except if  
               utilized for the shortest amount of time necessary to  
               provide actual medical treatment.  AB 3027 was held in the  
               Assembly Appropriations Committee.




          Active Environments, Inc. 


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  11

          Amboseli Trust for Elephants 

          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 

          Animal Legal Defense Fund (San Francisco Bay Area) 

          Best Friends Animal Society 

          City of Oakland   

          Detroit Zoo 

          Earth Island Institute 

          Elephant Voices 

          Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee 

          The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center 

          The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos 

          Global Sanctuary for Elephants 

          The Humane Society of the United States 


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  12

          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association 

          In Defense of Animals 

          Last Chance for Animals 

          The League of Humane Voters 

          Councilmember Paul Koretz, City of Los Angeles 

          Lions, Tigers & Bears 

          LIUNA Locals 777 & 792 

          March for Elephants and Rhinos San Francisco 

          The Marin Humane Society 

          Oakland Zoo 

          Performing Animal Welfare Society 

          Sacramento SPCA 

          San Diego Humane Society 


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  13

          San Francisco SPCA 

          Santa Clara County Activists for Animals 

          Sierra Club California 

          Sierra Wildlife Coalition 

          SPCA-Los Angeles 

          State Humane Association of California 

          Katy Tang, Supervisor, District 4, City and County of San  

          Uganda Carnivore Program

          6 Private individuals




          Asian Elephant Support 


                                                                     SB 716

                                                                    Page  14

          Circus Fans Association of America 

          Have Trunk Will Travel, Inc. 
          The Elephant Managers Association 
          International Elephant Foundation 

          Feld Entertainment, Inc.
          Jack Hanna, Director Emeritus, Columbus Zoo 
          Monterey Zoological
          Southwick's Zoo 
          Western Fairs Association (Need letter)

          Zoological Association of America

          25 Private individuals

          Analysis Prepared by:David Billingsley / PUB. S. / (916)