Law is first of its kind in the nation; prohibits breeding and capture of orcas
Washington, D.C., September 14, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends California governor Jerry Brown for signing S.B. 839 yesterday: a budget bill that includes the California Orca Protection Act. Authored by Assembly member Richard Bloom (D-50), this law bans the possession, capture, export, and breeding of orcas in California, with an exemption for orcas currently held in captivity.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “California is setting a momentous precedent by becoming the first state in the nation to outlaw breeding and future possession of orcas. This legislative remedy remains urgently necessary, even after SeaWorld’s major announcement on March 17 that it would immediately end the breeding program for its orcas globally and phase out its theatrical orca shows by 2019. The California Orca Protection Act is an essential next step to legally codify SeaWorld’s business decision, and also prevent other corporations from filling this newly vacant entertainment space. It ensures that the 11 orcas in San Diego are the last generation of captive orcas displayed in the state.”
Orcas are unsuited to captivity and suffer enormously in marine parks. These remarkably intelligent animals swim 100 miles per day in the wild and have profound relationships with their family pods. In the wild, the average lifespan is 30 years for males and 46 years for females, although they have been known to live 90 years. Captive orcas are susceptible to a range of ailments and issues that cause misery and drastically shorten their lives. Mental anguish takes a severe toll and orcas have been known to self-mutilate out of boredom and desperation. Most die before they reach age 25 in tanks that are only 1/10,000th of one percent the size of their natural home ranges.
Roberts adds, “The needs of these smart and social animals cannot be met at all in captivity. Great progress has been made for orcas this year, and California’s new law is another groundbreaking step toward ending orca captivity entirely. Born Free USA hopes other states will follow California and pass similar compassionate legislation to empty the tanks.”
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, the organization leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to North America the message of “compassionate conservation”—the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free USA’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
California becomes second state to outlaw cruel weapon used to control elephants
Washington, D.C., August 30, 2016 -- Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, commends California’s Governor Jerry Brown for signing S.B. 1062 yesterday to ban the use of bullhooks and other weapons designed to inflict pain for the purpose of training or controlling the behavior of an elephant. Introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33), the law will go into effect on January 1, 2018.
A bullhook is a long, thick pole with a sharp metal hook attached to the end, used to inflict pain as negative reinforcement. It is a common, yet highly notorious weapon in the elephant trainer’s arsenal. California is the second state in the nation to pass a prohibition on bullhooks, following Rhode Island’s precedent-setting law in July.
According to Adam M. Roberts, CEO of Born Free USA, “We are seeing a groundswell of public support across the country for ending the use of cruel bullhooks as the public becomes increasingly concerned about the welfare of performing animals—and legislators from coast to coast are responding. Bullhooks and other weapons used by trainers produce unimaginable suffering in elephants who are forced to submit to unnatural acts before an audience day after day, year after year. There is no justification for causing this type of physical and mental anguish.”
In addition, numerous elephant experts claim that sharp implements can do severe damage to elephants’ thick but highly sensitive skin. Trainers often embed the bullhook into the soft tissue behind the ears, inside the ear or mouth, under the trunk and chin, in the armpit area, on the back of the legs, in and around the anus, and in tender spots around the feet. The fear that the bullhook instills in elephants means they will, under duress, do everything possible to escape further blows. Its cruel power to implement negative reinforcement techniques explains why the bullhook has historically been a ubiquitous weapon for circus trainers. After that type of abuse, simply holding the bullhook near the elephant when in front of an audience is threatening enough to compel obedience.
“We thank Senator Lara for sponsoring this crucial legislation and applaud Governor Brown for making the compassionate choice to sign it into law,” says Roberts. “This is a momentous step forward in the fight to end brutality against performing animals, and I hope other states will follow California’s example without delay.”
Born Free USA is a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic "pets," trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to America the message of "compassionate conservation": the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son, Will Travers. Born Free's mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally. More at www.bornfreeusa.org, www.twitter.com/bornfreeusa, and www.facebook.com/bornfreeusa.
NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) and the American Red Cross issued the following statements in response to California Gov. Jerry Brown’s veto of AB 317, an important bill that would have enabled emergency responders to establish temporary animal shelters to assist animals in need during disasters. Sponsored by Assembly Member Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego), AB 317 overwhelmingly passed the state legislature in September.
“The ASPCA is frequently called upon to assist law enforcement and local agencies during disasters like the recent wildfire in Lake County, so we have seen firsthand how the ability to respond quickly and effectively during these devastating events is critical to saving lives and reuniting lost pets with their families,” said Kevin O’Neill, senior state director of ASPCA Government Relations for the Western region. “We thank Assembly Member Maienschein for his support on this legislation and we will continue working to improve California’s emergency response capabilities.”
“We are looking forward to bringing this very important issue back next year,” said Christy Woods, Director of Government Relations of the American Red Cross. “There are always missing or injured animals during disasters as we saw in the Butte and Valley wildfires recently, so we want to ensure they are safe as well.”
The ASPCA and Red Cross are grateful that the Governor included in his veto message a directive to his agencies to work with the author to resolve their issues and bring the bill back next year. The groups look forward to working with the Governor and his agencies to clarify the language of this bill to ensure relief organizations are able to move swiftly to prevent the suffering of animals.
The ASPCA expressed thanks to Gov. Brown for signing another animal protection bill, AB 316, to assist local animal care agencies across the state who step up to care for animals seized during large-scale cruelty investigations. Animal cruelty investigations dealing with issues such as animal fighting, hoarding and puppy mills can result in large numbers of animals suddenly needing intensive veterinary care and sheltering. Since most animal care agencies in California operate at or near full capacity, these temporary shelters are critically important.
For more information about the ASPCA, or to join the Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.
Gov. Brown signs bill prohibiting the cruel use of dogs in hunting bears, bobcats
NEW YORK— The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today commended California legislators and Gov. Jerry Brown for enacting Senate Bill 1221 to prohibit the cruel and unsporting practice of “hounding” bears and bobcats. Sponsored by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance), the new law bans the use of packs of dogs to chase and kill wildlife for trophy hunting. California now joins the more than 30 states that do not permit the inhumane and unnecessary practice of hounding.
“Today Governor Brown has ended a blatant and needless form of animal cruelty,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “We commend him for signing Senator Ted Lieu’s bill into law and for adding California to the list of states where hounding is no longer allowed. Enactment of this law illustrates that when citizens are opposed to a cruel practice, their elected officials will listen and take action on their behalf.”
Hounding involves fitting dogs with radio devices that allow the bear or bobcat hunters to monitor the dogs' movements remotely. Dogs are released to chase a frightened wild animal for miles until the animal is exhausted and typically seeks refuge in a tree. At that point, the hunter approaches the cornered animal and shoots the bear or bobcat down from a limb at close range.
In addition to the fatally wounded bears and bobcats, the hunting dogs are frequently injured, too. In the course of defending themselves, bears have inflicted fatal injuries to dogs. Often times, when a dog becomes injured or is perceived as being too timid or slow, the dog is abandoned and left to starve to death. Due to this type of hunting, animal shelters are often inundated with abandoned or injured hunting dogs that are no longer wanted by their owners.
“Even in states where hunting is still a popular practice, hounding has long been banned,” added Perry. “California is viewed as a leader in animal welfare and a ban on this disgraceful practice was long overdue.”
For more information on the ASPCA and to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade, please visit www.aspca.org.
About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.