Help WUD elevate your voice in the capitol by filling out a letter to your Assembly representative!
I am writing to express my strong opposition to California Assembly Bill 554 and to urge you to vote against its passage. This bill, if enacted, would have severe and detrimental consequences for various industries involving animals, including production agriculture, fairs, zoos, rodeos, and other activities. I believe it is crucial to consider the potential ramifications of this legislation and protect the interests of businesses and organizations involved.
One of the primary concerns with AB 554 is its susceptibility to abuse by extremist groups that are fundamentally opposed to animal-related industries. The bill’s provisions could be exploited by such groups to bring forth meritless civil suits against businesses, causing reputational and financial harm. The current regulations under the Corporations Code allow for the easy incorporation of groups as an SPCA, enabling activists to launch unwarranted legal actions against legitimate businesses.
Despite efforts made by concerned parties to propose amendments that align with the bill’s stated intent, they were unfortunately rejected. The author of AB 554 has publicly expressed that the bill aims to target puppy mills and backyard breeders, but they have refused amendments that would limit the bill to companion animals while preserving the right of SPCAs to take appropriate action in cases of genuine animal abuse. This refusal indicates that our organizations, which are vital to the economy and welfare of California, are indeed the intended targets of the sponsors.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), the bill’s sponsor, contends that commonplace and legal practices within the livestock industry constitute “cruelty.” AB 554 would empower ALDF to pursue its subjective definition of cruelty through civil courts, allowing them to harass or eliminate animal agricultural production, fairs, accredited zoos, rodeos, and other activities where animals are present. Such a strategy is not conducive to promoting animal welfare but rather undermines the agricultural and entertainment sectors in California.
It is important to acknowledge that all the organizations opposing this bill prioritize animal welfare. California already boasts the highest animal welfare standards in the nation, and we strongly believe that those who abuse or neglect animals should face prosecution in criminal courts, where claims of animal abuse can be thoroughly assessed by an unbiased prosecutor in cooperation with an SPCA.
In light of the aforementioned concerns and the potential adverse effects on multiple industries, I implore you to vote against California AB 554. Let us ensure that the legislative decisions we make uphold the integrity of businesses, protect the livelihoods of hardworking individuals, and maintain California’s reputation as a leader in animal welfare.
Thank you for your attention to this matter, and I trust that you will consider the viewpoints and concerns presented by those who oppose AB 554.