April 28 Hearing Scheduled for CA SB 716
The Senate Public Safety Committee has scheduled a hearing regarding California Senate Bill 716 on Tuesday, April 28. Witness testimony at the hearing will be limited, so it is important that Committee members receive letters of opposition this week in order to ensure that our opposition is considered as part of the Committee’s Bill Analysis information (this document will list Supporters and Opponents of the bill, and is a matter of public record).
Please take a moment to contact the members of the Senate Public Safety Committee (see below) with a short e-mail, phone call, or letter, and encourage your friends and family to do the same – especially those who live in California or who have been to circus performances or elephant exhibits in the state. Sample talking points for your correspondence are listed at the end of this alert, but please use your own words and your own experiences as a circus animal supporter to express your opposition to CA SB 716.
If passed, this legislation would ban the use of the elephant guide (also called a bull hook/ankus) in the State of California beginning in 2018. It would apply not only to circuses but zoos and all other elephant exhibitors and facilities in California. As you well know, this widely accepted and humane elephant management tool is absolutely necessary to safely display elephants in a public setting, whether it be in a circus, at a fair or on a movie set.
Committee Contact Information:
Senate Standing Committee on Public Safety
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Email for Committee: SCOPS@sen.ca.gov<mailto:SCOPS@sen.ca.gov>
Committee website (with links to individual members): http://spsf.senate.ca.gov/
*Please note that individual email addresses for the Senators are not available, but on the Committee website you can click on “Contact Me” for each member to fill out a message, or use the SCOPS@sen.ca.gov<mailto:SCOPS@sen.ca.gov> email address to send a general email to the whole Committee.
Senator Loni Hancock, Chair
Senator Joel Anderson, Vice Chair
Senator Mark Leno
Senator Carol Liu
Senator Mike McGuire
Senator Bill Monning
Senator Jeff Stone
Sample Talking Points:
The following are suggestions for your correspondence in California, but please use your own words, and you do not need to include every bullet point. Please keep all correspondence respectful.
· Politely tell the Public Safety Committee members that you are OPPOSED to any measure that would prevent circuses and other traveling exhibitors with elephants from visiting California.
· Circus elephants and other performing animals are well cared for and generally are healthier and live longer than their counterparts in zoos.
· True animal experts know that a safe and secure environment is the only acceptable and successful method of training any animal, including elephants. The elephant guide, sometimes called a bull hook or ankus, has been used by elephant handlers for thousands of years. Elephant handlers in zoos, nature preserves and circuses throughout the world use the guide as an extension of the trainer’s arm along with a voice command.
· If any animal is being mistreated in any environment, then the right answer is to enforce existing laws and regulations to punish bad actors, as opposed to punishing an entire industry and the public who enjoy circuses.
· Proponents of performing animal bans mischaracterize or misunderstand the facts about the training and handling of circus animals. Most of the organizations that advocate such bans do so as part of a larger, animal rights agenda which opposes all or most human interaction with animals.