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Uniting for the Animals

Published 06/15/05
Source: Animal Issues, Volume 36 Number 2, Summer 2005

The Animal Protection Institute is proud to announce the formation of the California Animal Association (CAA), dedicated to represent the interest of animals at the California State Capitol.

CAA is a coalition of 17 local, state, and national animal advocacy groups representing more than 275,000 Californians. API is a founding member of this association and, as is represented on the Board of Directors.

In addition to API, the organizations that make up the association are: American Anti-Vivisection Society, Animal Legislative Action Network, Animal Place, Animal Protection Institute, Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, California Animal Defense and Anti-Vivisection League, California Lobby for Animal Welfare, Doctors for Kindness to Animals, Farm Sanctuary, In Defense of Animals, Last Chance for Animals, Orange County People for Animals, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, The Paw Project, United Animal Nations, United Poultry Concerns, and Viva! USA.

This unique association — the first of its kind among animal protection groups in the U.S. — represents a golden opportunity for animals in the Golden State. API is excited about the formation of CAA and has the great expectations for it success. We are also hopeful that others will use CAA as a model and will replicate this collaborative effort in state capitols across the country.

Why an Association?

The reasons for the formation of CAA are many. In the past, animal advocates have worked separately or in small groups to establish and strengthen animal protection measures. By joining together, we will now be representing a large number of constituents and can act as a more cohesive voice for animals in the legislature of the most populous state.

CAA’s structure is simple. In each legislative session, CAA members select a bill or bills on which to work. We meet monthly to discuss issues surrounding the selected bill, to work towards successful passage of the bill, and to begin preparing a new bill for the next legislative session. These efforts are funded by the member organizations of CAA and will be used to hire a lobbyist to represent CAA and help us pass our sponsored legislation.

In our work, CAA will focus on a broad spectrum of animals, including companion animals, farmed animals, exotic animals, animals used in research, and wildlife. CAA plans to introduce at least one legislative initiative during each two-year session and to rotate the focus of the legislation among different animal species.

The Road Ahead

During the 2005 California legislative session, CAA is sponsoring two bills relating to farmed animals. One is The Farmed Animal Protection Act (AB 1587), which seeks to ban certain egregious methods of killing animals on farms, including burning, burying, grinding, suffocating and rapid-freezing. This bill, which would apply to individuals who put animals to death outside of a commercial slaughterhouse setting, would require that the method used to kill farm animals be accepted by the veterinary profession as reliable and appropriate to that species of animal, and would require that the method be as rapid and painless as possible.

The other, related CAA bill is The Humane Slaughter of Poultry Amendment (SB 662), which seeks to amend California’s Methods of Slaughter Law so that it includes provisions for “spent” hens and small game birds (spent hens are hens discarded from the egg-laying industry).

When the Methods of Slaughter Law, which requires that animals used for food must be rendered insensible to pain prior to having their throats cut, was amended in 1990 to include poultry, spent hens and small game birds were excluded. This means that millions of animals are not being afforded the same protection that other animals in the state receive. As a result of this exclusion, spent hens and game birds are commonly bled to death while conscious.

At press time, both AB 1587 and SB 662 were pending action by the legislature. API will keep supporters posted on the status of these two important pieces of legislation through Animal Issues.

CAA believes that animal issues deserve the same professional representation as any other interest group represented at the Capitol. We’re proud to be a strong voice for compassion and justice for animals in California.

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