BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



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          Date of Hearing:  June 14, 2016


                  ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON WATER, PARKS, AND WILDLIFE


                                 Marc Levine, Chair


          SB  
          1062 (Lara) - As Amended May 26, 2016


          SENATE VOTE:  29-9


          SUBJECT:  Elephants:  prohibited treatment


          SUMMARY:  Prohibits, beginning January 1, 2018, the use of a  
          bullhook and other devices designed to inflict pain to train or  
          control an elephant.  Specifically, this bill:


          1)Prohibits any person who houses, possesses, manages, or is in  
            direct contact with an elephant, from using, or authorizing or  
            allowing an employee, agent or contractor to use, a bullhook,  
            ankus, baseball bat, axe handle, pitchfork, or other device  
            designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or  
            controlling an elephant.  Use includes brandishing,  
            exhibiting, or displaying the devices in the presence of an  
            elephant.


          2)Makes any person who violates this prohibition subject to a  
            civil penalty of not less than $500 and not more than $10,000  
            per violation, and immediate suspension or revocation of a  
            restricted species permit.









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          3)Authorizes a person to appeal a restricted species permit  
            suspension or revocation to the Fish and Game Commission  
            (FGC).


          4)Clarifies that a person who violates the prohibition is not  
            subject to criminal penalties under the Fish and Game Code.


          5)Provides that the prohibition in this bill is in addition to  
            and not in lieu of other existing animal welfare laws,  
            including any state or local laws.


          EXISTING LAW:


          1)Prohibits the importation, transportation, possession, or  
            release of specified wild animals, including elephants, in  
            California except under a restricted species permit issued by  
            the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), in cooperation with  
            the Department of Food and Agriculture.  Authorizes the FGC to  
            adopt regulations governing the importation, possession,  
            transportation, keeping, and confinement of wild animals,  
            including elephants.  Makes a violation of these requirements  
            subject to a civil penalty of not less than $500 and not more  
            than $10,000 per violation.  Also makes a violation a  
            misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months imprisonment in a  
            county jail, or a fine of up to $1,000.

          2)Makes it a misdemeanor for any owner or manager of an elephant  
            to engage in abusive behavior towards the elephant, including  
            disciplining an elephant by any of the following methods:



               a)     Deprivation of food, water or rest.
               b)     Use of electricity.








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               c)     Physical punishment resulting in damage, scarring,  
                 or breaking of skin.


               d)     Insertion of any instrument into any bodily orifice.


               e)     Use of martingales (head immobilizing straps).


               f)     Use of block and tackle.





          3)Makes it unlawful to purchase, sell, offer for sale, possess  
            with intent to sell, or import with intent to sell, elephant  
            ivory or rhinoceros horn, or to possess, sell, offer for sale,  
            trade, or distribute a shark fin in this state. Makes it  
            unlawful to import into this state for commercial purposes, or  
            possess with intent to sell, the dead body, or any part or  
            product thereof, of a 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, porpoise, Spanish  
            lynx, or elephant.
             
          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, pursuant to Rule 28.8, negligible if any state costs.


          COMMENTS:   This bill would prohibit the use of bullhooks and  
          other devices designed to inflict pain for the purpose of  
          training or controlling the behavior of an elephant.  According  
          to the author and supporters of this bill, bullhooks are used by  
          a dwindling number of elephant handlers to train, punish and  








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          control elephants.  The author and sponsors describe a bullhook  
          as a device that resembles a fireplace poker, with a sharp metal  
          hook and spiked tip, and a handle that is typically plastic or  
          wood.  


          1)Author's Statement:  This bill 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 the 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.  Los Angeles and Oakland have prohibited  
            use of the bullhook, and San Francisco has banned performances  
            using elephants and other performing wild animals.  It is time  
            for the state to follow suit and prohibit this inhumane  
            practice.

          2)Background:  This bill follows up on last year's SB 716  
            (Lara), which would have addressed the issue by criminalizing  
            the use of bullhooks.  SB 716 was vetoed by the Governor,  
            along with several other bills, because the bills created new  
            crimes.  This bill responds to the veto by proposing to make  
            the use of bullhooks subject to civil penalties, and grounds  
            for revocation of a restricted species permit instead of  
            creating a new crime.  Restricted species permits are issued  
            and enforced by the DFW, and are required for possession and  
            handling of elephants and other wild animals in California.





            The author and supporters of this bill emphasize that the  
            bullhook is an outdated tool.  They point out that zoos  
            accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and  
            the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary now use a  
            method called protected contact, which relies on positive  








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            reinforcement, making use of the bullhook obsolete.  The  
            author and sponsors believe this is now the industry standard.  
             According to these groups, bullhooks are based on negative  
            reinforcement, and are used by elephant handlers to prod,  
            hook, strike and hit elephants on their sensitive skin areas  
            in order to inflict pain during training, performing, and  
            handling.  Elephants who have been trained with bullhooks  
            later may comply out of fear just upon seeing the tool.  

            However, opponents of this bill, which include members of the  
            circus and entertainment community, as well a number of  
            veterinarians and researchers, assert that the bullhook is an  
            important tool that facilitates the ability of elephant  
            handlers to provide veterinary care and conduct elephant  
            research.  They prefer the term "guide" to describe the tool  
            rather than bullhook, and assert that it is not harmful or  
            abusive when used correctly.

            The committee received a letter opposing the use of bullhooks  
            signed by more than75 professionals, including veterinarians,  
            scientific researchers, former elephant keepers and others.   
            The letter emphasized the following arguments: 1) That the  
            bullhook is an outdated and inhumane tool that unnecessarily  
            subjects elephants to fear and pain, and puts keepers and  
            veterinarians at serious risk of injury and death; and 2) That  
            the protected contact method of elephant training and  
            management is a superior method of managing elephants,  
            eliminates the need for bullhooks, and is now the industry  
            preferred standard.  This method relies on positive  
            reinforcement training and a protected barrier, enables  
            keepers to provide high quality elephant husbandry and  
            veterinary care, and is based on cooperation and respect  
            rather than domination and control.  The protected contact  
            method is now required for all facilities certified by the  
            AZA.

            The committee received a separate letter supporting the use of  
            bullhooks (guides) signed by more than75 professionals,  
            including veterinarians, scientific researchers, elephant  








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            keepers and others.  The letter emphasized the following  
            arguments: 1) That the "guide" is the only husbandry tool  
            effective for managing elephants in a free contact environment  
            where elephants are not confined exclusively to their  
            enclosures; 2) That this bill is unnecessary as the few  
            remaining venues using the bullhook are regulated by the USDA  
            and the Animal Welfare Act; and 3) That the bullhook is not  
            used on sensitive areas, and when used correctly is not  
            abusive.  They also emphasize that important scientific  
            research on elephants is performed with the aid of the  
            bullhook for management and care.  

          3)Double-referral:  This bill is double-referred to the Assembly  
            Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media  
            Committee, which is scheduled to hear this bill next after  
            this committee.

          4)Prior and Related Legislation:  SB 716 (Lara) of 2015  
            prohibited use of bullhooks for managing elephants but placed  
            the prohibition in the Penal Code, making a violation of the  
            law a crime.  SB 716 along with 8 other bills was vetoed by  
            the Governor.  The veto message stated:


              "Each of these bills creates a new crime - usually by  
            finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct  
            that is already proscribed.  This multiplication and  
            particularization of criminal behavior creates increasing  
            complexity without commensurate benefit.


              Over the last several decades, California's criminal code  
            has grown to more than 5,000 separate provisions, covering  
            almost every conceivable form of human behavior.  During the  
            same period, our jail and prison populations have exploded.


              Before we keep going down this road, I think we should pause  
            and reflect on how our system of criminal justice could be  








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            made more human, more just and more cost-effective."



              AB 777 (L. Levine) of 2007, among other things, would have  
            prohibited use of any implement or device on an elephant that  
            may reasonably result in harm to the elephant, including the  
            elephant's skin.   AB 3027 failed passage in the Assembly.

              AB 3027 (L. Levine) of 2006, among other things, would have  
            prohibited use of a bullhook or similar device.  AB 3027 was  
            held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

              AB 96 (Atkins), Chapter 475. Statutes of 2015, made it  
            unlawful to purchase, sell or import elephant ivory or  
            rhinoceros horn.

          5)Suggested Technical Amendment:  A technical committee  
            amendment is proposed that would amend lines 15-19 on page 2  
            to read as follows:
            


            (b) Any person who violates this section is subject to the  
            civil penalty set forth in Section 2125 for each violation,  
            and  the restricted species permit  is subject to immediate  
            suspension or revocation  of his or her restricted species  
            permit  by the department.



          6)Support Arguments:  Supporters emphasize that bullhooks have  
            historically been used by elephant handlers to train, punish  
            and control elephants.  They have been used to inflict pain  
            and evoke fear in order to forcefully achieve desired  
            behaviors.  The presence of the hook even when not in active  
            use is a threat of painful punishment for elephants that have  
            been trained by this method.  There have been numerous  
            documented incidents of elephants being wounded or scarred by  








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            abusive use of bullhooks.  In addition to the inhumane  
            treatment of elephants, performances that use elephants  
            threaten public safety by bringing people into dangerously  
            close proximity to elephants.  Use of bullhooks promotes  
            aggression and will not prevent an elephant from rampaging, or  
            protect the public when such an incident occurs.  Supporters  
            note that since 1990 there have been 16 human deaths and 135  
            injuries in the United States attributed to elephants,  
            primarily in circus-related accidents.  

          The Humane Society of the United States is only aware of two  
            California-based businesses that still use bullhooks, neither  
            of which is accredited by the AZA or the Global Federation of  
            Animal Sanctuaries.  In 2014 the AZA adopted a policy  
            prohibiting keepers from sharing unrestricted space with  
            elephants.  Protected Contact, a progressive elephant  
            management method based on positive reinforcement instead of  
            punishment is a viable and more humane alternative.  The  
            California Association of Zoos and Aquariums, in support,  
            notes that all zoos accredited by the AZA in California are  
            using Protective Contact and operant conditioning training.   
            Today no county fair in California offers elephant rides run  
            by operators who use bullhooks, and the Ringling Brothers  
            circus has also ended all use of elephants for circus  
            performances in California, effective May 2016.    
            
          7)Opposition Arguments:  Opponents assert that the use of  
            bullhooks is not abusive and helps those who use them to  
            provide more superior care than can be provided to those  
            managed without them.  They are concerned that taking away  
            their ability to use bullhooks will adversely affect their  
            ability to provide elephants with required care.  The American  
            Association of Zoo Veterinarians asserts that the bullhook  
            should be referred to as an elephant "guide" and claims it is  
            commonly used to aid in communication by gentle touch or  
            visual cues to direct the elephant, and that when used  
            properly it should not inflict pain or punishment.  Some  
            opponents assert the bullhook is comparable to the use of a  
            harness and reins for horses, or collars and leads for dogs.   








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            Because it is useful in providing veterinary care, the state  
            of California by removing its use would be removing an  
            essential safety and welfare tool for handling a large and  
            potentially dangerous animal.  



          Some opponents are also concerned that this bill will negatively  
            impact the ability of the entertainment industry to use  
            elephants in performances, fairs and festivals, and for people  
            in the animal industries to maintain their livelihoods.   
            Others believe it will hamper research and conservation  
            efforts that are beneficial to elephants.

            Opposition Amendments:  The Western Fair Associations opposes  
            this bill unless amended to add a grandfather clause that  
            would allow the two organizations that still use bullhooks in  
            California to continue using the bullhook for management of  
            the nine elephants under their care.  They assert that, unless  
            amended, this bill would prevent the nine elephants at the two  
            facilities from continuing to interact safely with people  
            other than their keepers.  The nine elephants are all over the  
            age of 30 and have been managed with free contact their entire  
            lives.  As such, they are accustomed to interacting with the  
            public and their handlers.  The amendment would also require  
            an additional annual inspection of the facilities.



            The author has declined the amendment, and maintains that the  
            delayed effective date in this bill will give operators time  
            to transition to new means of managing elephants.  The  
            Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) asserts that all  
            elephants can make the transition from bullhook-based training  
            to a protected contact management system.  This positive  
            reinforcement-based method uses a long handled pole with a  
            soft tip to cue behaviors.  The elephants are trained to move  
            toward the target and the behavior is reinforced with rewards  
            and praise.  PAWS indicates that they have successfully  








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            retrained elephants who were trained from birth with bullhooks  
            to respond favorably to the protected contact system of care.   
            They also reference a study published in Zoo Biology (Wilson,  
            et al., 2015) that was conducted at Zoo Atlanta as the zoo  
            transitioned from bullhook-based management to protected  
            contact.  The authors' found that the transition was  
            associated with improved elephant welfare.   

          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          The Humane Society of the United States (sponsor)


          American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals  
          (ASPCA)


          Animal Legal Defense Fund


          Best Friends Animal Society


          Born Free USA


          California Association of Zoos and Aquariums


          California Travel Association


          Center for Animal Protection and Education








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          City of Oakland


          Compassion Works International


          Connection Africa


          Detroit Zoological Society


          Earth Island Institute


          East Bay Zoological Society (Oakland Zoo)


          Elephant Aid International


          Elephant Sanctuary of Tennessee


          Global Sanctuary for Elephants


          Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association


          Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust


          In Defense of Animals


          Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom








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          Lions, Tigers & Bears


          Liuna Locals 777 & 792


          March for Elephants


          Marin Humane Society


          Performing Animal Welfare Society


          San Diego Humane Society


          San Francisco SPCA


          Santa Clara County Activists for Animals


          Sierra Club California


          Sierra Wildlife Coalition


          State Humane Association of California


          Numerous individuals, including veterinarians.











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          Opposition


          American Association of Zoo Veterinarians


          Animals All Around


          Asian Elephant Support


          California Fairs Alliance


          California Responsible Pet Owners Coalition


          Circus Fans Association of America


          Feld Entertainment, Inc.


          Have Trunk Will Travel


          International Elephant Foundation


          Livingston Exotics LLC


          Los Angeles Foundation for the Circus Arts









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          Pacific Animal Productions


          QE Productions


          The Shrine Circus, Pittsburgh


          Traveling Paws LLC


          Western Fair Association's Ag Council


          Wild Wonders, Inc.


          Wildlife Safari


          Zoological Association of America


          Numerous individuals, including veterinarians.




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















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