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April 3, 2018 > Political animals

Political animals

Submitted By Eric Mills

?For anyone to enjoy the State Legislature, you need only a strong stomach and a total insensitivity to the needs of the people.?
?Molly Ivins, late Texas political pundit

?Sentiment without action is a wound upon the soul.?
?Edward Abbey

Below are a few animal welfare bills now before the California State Legislature, all in need of your support:

Senate Bill 1138 (by Senator Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley): Plant-based Food Initiative. Would require that state-run hospitals, prisons, and public schools always have plant-based meals available, as well as reduce or cut out completely servings of processed meat. Contact

Senate Bill 1249 (by Senator Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton): Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Testing and Sales Act. Co-sponsored by Social Compassion in Legislation (SCI) and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Would ban the sale or marketing of any cosmetics that have been tested on animals, including any of the cosmetics? component ingredients. Long-overdue; would be the first such in the nation. Contact:

Senate Bill 1487 (by Senator Henry Stern, D-Canoga Park/Malibu): Endangered Species Trophy Act. Would ban the possession of sport-hunted trophies of some iconic endangered species, such as lions, elephants, and rhinos. We can?t depend upon the Trump Administration. Contact:

Assembly Bill 2362 (Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D-Azusa/West Covina): Safe Transportation of Dogs and Cats Act. Would establish health and safety standards for mobile or traveling housing facilities for dogs and cats, including standards governing sufficient heating and cooling, ventilation, and lighting. The bill would apply to animal control agencies, SPCA?s and humane societies, or a rescue group that is in cooperative agreement. Contact:

All State Legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Google their websites for further info.

Most legislators keep a bill or two in reserve for emergency situations, called ?spot bills.? Here are three in need of an author: (1) to amend current rodeo law, Penal Code 596.7, require on-site veterinary care at all rodeos. The current on-call option is not working, and animals are suffering needlessly; (2) ban the rodeo?s brutal ?steer tailing? event, standard at the Mexican ?charreadas,? some 800 held in California annually. Tails may be stripped to the bone, even torn off, and horses risk broken legs when the steers run the wrong way. Already outlawed in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, and the State of Nebraska; (3) ban the cruel and indiscriminate glue traps. Rodents and wildlife alike suffer. There are humane alternatives. (Banned in New Zealand.) Likely authors: Senators Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley/Oakland), Steven Glazer (D-Walnut Creek), Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont), Jim Beall (D-San Jose), Scott Wiener (D-S.F.); and Assemblymembers Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) and Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). Let them hear from you!

HARD update
On March 1 the Hayward Recreation and Park District (HARD) yet again betrayed the animals and their own human constituents. For three years, advocates have been asking for HARD to ban two particularly cruel (and non-sanctioned) rodeo events: ?wild cow milking? (in which a cow was killed at the 2015 Rowell Ranch Rodeo), and the children?s ?mutton busting? event, dangerous for all, and banned in New Zealand.

HARD has received more than 400 letters in support of the requested bans (East Bay SPCA, Ohlone Humane Society, Hayward Friends of Animals, State Humane Association, Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (with 1,000-plus California members), Humane Farming Association, In Defense of Animals, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund, et al., as well as an on-line petition posted by Animal Place, with more than 168,000 signatures, all to no avail.

The ethically-challenged Board again voted 4-1 for the status quo. Only Director Minane Jameson showed any ethics or heart. As Dr. Rene Gandolfi noted, ?This ain?t rocket science, folks!? Write: Paul McCreary, General Manager, HARD, 1099 E Street, Hayward, CA 94541; email - (Note: Rowell Ranch Rodeo takes place at the Castro Valley arena this year on May 19-20, 1:30 p.m. Demo, anyone? (

Hope on the Horizon
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors is currently considering these same rodeo issues and needs to hear from you. Note that both wild cow milking and mutton busting are also featured at the June Livermore Rodeo; mutton busting has also been featured at the Alameda County Fair. Write to: Supervisor Wilma Chan, president, Alameda County Board of Supervisors, 1221 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94612; email Chan?s Chief-of-Staff, Dave Brown, at

Finally, some Good News
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to ban the sale of new furs throughout the city. May other jurisdictions soon follow suit. On the rodeo front, the Los Angeles City Council is presently considering a ban on all rodeo events within the city limits. Can the Bay Area/state/country be far behind?

As Wendell Berry says, ?Be cheerful, even after considering all the facts.?

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