Sometimes The Good Guys Win, The CA Ban of the Elephant Guide Has Been Vetoed!
If you are involved in the animal business and especially the exotic animal business it is very easy to get discouraged with all the negative publicity and nasty legislation that we are confronted with daily. Every once in a while though we get some good news. Today California Governor Brown vetoed SB 716 the bill that would have banned the use of the elephant guide in America’s largest state.
What is really interesting is why he vetoed the bill. The veto letter states ” Each of these bills creates a new crime– usually by finding a novel way to characterize and criminalize conduct that is already proscribed”. This is a very astute assessment by the governor because that was the exact argument that was made against this bill in the first place. Very strong animal cruelty laws are already in place in the state of California, so if elephants are being abused as the animal activist groups claim, then it is already illegal!!! The truth of course is that the guide is not abusive and is never intended to be, it is just a husbandry tool, nothing insidious.
This is without a doubt a huge win for those who fought tooth and nail to stop this bill. The Johnson’s at Have Trunk Will Travel did an amazing job mobilizing people in the industry to write, email, call, and tweet out against this bill. As an industry we need to learn from this hard fought victory in CA. We are stronger together than apart and this has made that abundantly clear.
I wish that I could tell you that this fight was over, but unfortunately that is far from the truth. The fight to use best management practices to take care of elephants and all other animals will be a life long one. HSUS is not very happy with the outcome of this piece of legislation and HSUS czar Wayne Pacelle had this to say on his blog today. “The Humane Society of the United States and the thousands and thousands of supporters of SB 716 will return to the legislature next year with a version of the legislation that Governor Brown can sign and on the same timetable that SB 716 envisioned”
His threats of legislation for next year have been heard loud and clear, so this fight is far from over. What this means is that it is up to each and every one of us to continue to educate our lawmakers and inform the public about how the elephant guide is really used. It is also imperative that we take action when necessary. It is not difficult to make a phone call and write a letter, when the way of life for ourselves and our animals is at stake.
—Gavin Livingston, The Unlikely Conservationist