California Assembly Bill 1587 seeks to ban the use of certain cruel methods of disposing of unwanted animals. These methods include grinding up live birds in woodchipping machines (designed to grind up trees and yard trimmings), burning, drowning, suffocating, freezing, and live burial. Affected animals would include cattle, calves, horses, mules, pigs, sheep, goats, fallow dear, and birds. The bill, introduced by California Assemblywoman Lori Saldana (D-San Diego), is sponsored by the California Animal Association (CAA), of which United Poultry Concerns is a steering committee member along with the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights, Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Viva!USA.
Yesterday the California farm lobby blocked, but did not kill, the bill. The California Poultry Association called the bill "ill-conceived" and complained that charges of inhumane killings and more regulations would harm the business climate, according to the Copley News Service.
AVAR’s executive director Teri Barnato told the news media that the poultry industry’s opposition to a bill that would ban burying animals alive, drowning them, and certain other obviously cruel methods of destruction is ridiculous.
Meanwhile, AB 1587 is not defeated. Assembly Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Barbara Matthews is working with CAA lobbyists to resolve issues surrounding the proposed legislation. In February 2003, egg producers in Southern California were caught using woodchipping machines to destroy more than 30,000 live hens during the Exotic Newcastle Disease epidemic. While the poultry industry insists that the use of woodchippers in that instance was unique, a comprehensive report by the San Diego County Department of Animal Services contains documents that show otherwise.