A man among animals
|Fellow CW reporter Malcolm Maclachlan wrote a bit back that Assemblymen Lloyd Levine and Paul Kortez headed the Legislature's unofficial Animal Caucus. Well, it looks like Levine wants to make his post a bit more official. Today, the Van Nuys Democrat sent a letter to Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez requesting the creation of a Select Committee on Animal Welfare.|
Guess who would chair the committee? Levine.
"The purpose of the Committee would be to investigate, highlight, and understand what the state can do to move away from the often unnecessary exploitation of animals in California," said a release from Levine's office.
The immediate cause of the letter, according to Levine's office, is the death last month of Gita, an Asian elephant in the Los Angeles Zoo. Levine's office describes the death as a "tragic passing". Levine has introduced legislation, AB 3027, which he calls the Elephant Protection Act, to regulate the space given to elephants at zoos.
Levine envisions that the new committee would have "subpoena power" to gather information "regarding the care the elephant received in her final days."
Here's what Levine wrote to Nunez:
We need, in a special way, to work twice as hard to help people understand that the animals are fellow creatures, that we must protect them.... We know we cannot be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them – exploiting animals in the name of science, exploiting animals in the name of sport, exploiting animals in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting animals in the name of food.
Like you, I have strived to serve Californians by not turning my back on them, on not only acknowledging but standing up for the voiceless and most vulnerable among us. By acknowledging that the welfare and suffering of animals matters, and by striving to extend them compassion, I believe we undermine the worst parts of us, those which allow us to turn our backs on each other.
Levine also took at shot at the anti-animal protection community, writing "With this authority it is my belief that we can uncover truths that are all too often shielded from ordinary Californians by well-funded lobbying efforts."
Still waiting for comment from Nunez's office.