10 Remarkable Ways California Is Leading the Nation on Animal Rights

On Saturday, California governor Gavin Newsom tweeted that he had signed into law one of the strongest animal rights bills in the nation. The groundbreaking law, which takes effect in 2023, bans the sale and production of new fur products throughout the state. As California is the world’s fifth largest economy, this is not only incredible news for animals, it’s a devastating blow to the cruel fur industry worldwide.

But this is definitely not the first time California has led on animal issues. The state has a long history of firsts when it comes to passing animal protection legislation. Additionally, it is home to some of the most innovative minds working on plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as cellular agriculture or “clean meat.”

Here is undeniable proof that California is leading the nation for animals:

1. California is the first state to ban the sale and production of fur.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / #MakeFurHistory

California became the only the state in the US to ban the sale and production of new fur products when Governor Newsom signed AB44 into law over the weekend. The bill, authored by state assemblywoman Laura Friedman, takes effect in 2023.

2. The use of wild animals in circuses is also banned statewide.

In addition to signing the fur ban into effect this weekend, Governor Newsom also signed another law that forbids the use of wild animals such as elephants, tigers, and bears in circuses. Only two other states, New Jersey and Hawaii, have similar bans.

3. California banned fur trapping this year as well.

Photo credit: Joseph Witham, St. George News

Just last month, California passed the Wild Animal Protection Act which bans trapping animals for fur commercially or recreationally on both public and private lands. In 2017, more than a thousand animals were snared in sadistic traps. California is the first state to pass such a ban.

4. It is also the first state to ban the sale of cosmetics tested on animals.

Last year, the California legislature unanimously passed a bill that bans the sale of cosmetics tested on animals. This includes products such as shampoo, deodorant, skincare, etc. The law also mandates that ingredients used in these items not be tested on animals. It’ll take effect in 2020.

5. And the first state to ban the sale of dogs, cats, and rabbits in pet stores.

In 2018, California became the only state to forbid the sale of companion animals in pet stores unless they come from a rescue or shelter, thwarting business for breeders.

6. The production and sale of foie gras are also banned.

Due to the appalling cruelty in its production, California passed a law banning foie gras in 2004. The law took effect in 2012 but was viciously challenged in the courts. The law was eventually upheld and the ban is still in effect.

7. California has also passed some trailblazing laws regulating the treatment of animals exploited for food.

Photo credit: Jo-Anne McArthur / Essere Animali

Though falling way short of banning the use of animals for food outright, California has taken some big steps in trying to eliminate some of the cruelest factory farming practices. In 2008, Proposition 2, a ballot measure initiated by Californians, passed with over 60 percent of the vote. It outlawed the use of veal crates for calves and gestation crates for mother pigs. It also required more room for egg-laying hens. Ten years later, Proposition 12 expanded on the 2008 law and outlawed cages for egg-laying hens completely. It also forbade the sale of any animal product from out of state that doesn’t comply with these standards. It is now being challenged by the meat industry.

8. Major cities in the state ban the declawing of cats and a statewide ban is being considered.

Los Angeles, San Francisco, and six other California cities forbid the declawing of cats. This year, AB1230 was introduced in the California legislature by Assemblyman Bill Quirk. If passed, the cruel practice will be outlawed throughout the state.

9. California is home to some of the most innovative businesses seeking to disrupt animal agriculture.

From the LA basin to Silicon Valley, California is a hub for businesses producing plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs, as well as cellular agriculture. Companies like Beyond Meat, Perfect Day, Miyoko’s, and Memphis Meats are all based in California. Additionally, California is home base for two of the country’s most popular all-vegan fast food chain restaurants, Native Foods and Veggie Grill.

10. The most vegan-friendly city in the world is in California.

OK, so maybe I’m biased because I live here, but to me Los Angeles is vegan heaven. With more than 80 vegan restaurants to choose from, LA boasts some of the best vegan food on the planet. We have everything from upscale dining to food trucks to ice cream shops to pizzerias. We also have all-vegan grocery stores and festivals. If you’ve never been, you have to visit!