New California law would stop farm animals that win top county fair prizes from automatically being slaughtered for food

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Assemblymember Ash Kalra, 52, introduced Bill 3053 last week to allow kids to enter their animals in county fairs without watching them being slaughtered 
  • The bill would also allow bidders to pick up their animal winners live rather than as slabs of meat
  • It follows a lawsuit filed by Jessica Long’s daughter, 9, against Shasta County and the fair for killing her beloved pet goat 

A new California law is set to prevent farm animals that win top county fair prizes from automatically being slaughtered for food after a nine-year-old girl sued the state fair for killing her beloved pet goat.

Last week, Assemblymember Ash Kalra, 52, introduced Bill 3053 to allow kids to enter their animals in county fairs without the risk of them being sentenced to death. 

The bill would also permit children to withdraw their entries any time before offsite transport and allow bidders to pick up their animal winners live rather than as slabs of meat. 

The proposal follows the cruel slaughter of Cedar the goat, a seven-month-old white Boer cared by Jessica Long’s daughter who entered it into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction but later changed her mind. 

The fair denied the family’s request to withdraw and sold Cedar – so the mom brazenly stole the goat back before it was given to the buyer.

A new California law is set to prevent farm animals that win top county fair prizes from automatically being slaughtered for food after a nine-year-old girl sued the state fair for killing her beloved pet goat (pictured)

The proposal follows the cruel slaughter of Cedar the goat, a seven-month-old white Boer cared by Jessica Long's daughter(pictured with a photo of Cedar) who entered it into the Shasta District Fair's junior livestock auction but later changed her mind

The proposal follows the cruel slaughter of Cedar the goat, a seven-month-old white Boer cared by Jessica Long’s daughter(pictured with a photo of Cedar) who entered it into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction but later changed her mind

The bill would also permit children to withdraw their entries any time before offsite transport and allow bidders to pick up their animal winners live rather than as slabs of meat. Pictured: a pig named Lola who was sent to farm sanctuary instead of a livestock auction

The bill would also permit children to withdraw their entries any time before offsite transport and allow bidders to pick up their animal winners live rather than as slabs of meat. Pictured: a pig named Lola who was sent to farm sanctuary instead of a livestock auction

What followed was a wild goat chase – sending officers hundreds of miles across the county to retrieve the goat via a search warrant, before handing the creature to individuals who killed Cedar and roasted him on a barbecue for their guests. 

The Long family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit last year against Shasta County and the fair, demanding actual, general and punitive damages, and California Attorney Genral Rob Bonta countersued, demanding the family to pay the government’s attorneys’ fees. 

‘A few years ago, we spent $5,000 trying to find a home for pigs after kids had a change of heart,’ said Judie Mancuso with Social Compassion in Legislation, an animal rights nonprofit. 

‘Then came the Cedar debacle…We said, “The timing is right. Let’s do this bill.”‘ Mancuso, who is also the bill’s sponsor, told the Orange County Register.

Cedar, described as a beloved white goat with beautiful chocolate-colored markings, was sold at the Shasta District Fair for $902 to a representative of State Senator Brian Dahle. 

The mother, after seeing her daughter sob by the goat’s pen at the fair, decided to steal back the animal at the last minute and ‘deal with the consequences later.’

In an email to the Shasta District Fair on June 27, Long wrote: ‘I knew when I took it that my next steps were to make it right with the buyer and the fairgrounds. I will pay you back for the goat and any other expenses I caused. I would like to ask for your support in finding a solution.’

'' few years ago, we spent $5,000 trying to find a home for pigs after kids had a change of heart. Then came the Cedar debacle¿We said,

” few years ago, we spent $5,000 trying to find a home for pigs after kids had a change of heart. Then came the Cedar debacle…We said, “The timing is right. Let’s do this bill.”‘ Mancuso, who is also the bill’s sponsor, told the Orange County Register

Cedar, described as a beloved white goat with beautiful chocolate-colored markings, was sold at the Shasta District Fair for $902 to a representative of state Senator Brian Dahle

Cedar, described as a beloved white goat with beautiful chocolate-colored markings, was sold at the Shasta District Fair for $902 to a representative of state Senator Brian Dahle

Melanie Silva, Shasta District Fair Chief Executive Officer, responded to her email and demanded that she return the goat immediately.

She wrote: ‘Making an exception for you will only teach out youth that they do not have to abide by the rules that are set up for all participants. Unfortunately, this is out of my hands. You will need to bring the goat back to the Shasta District Fair immediately.’

Shortly after, the organizer of the barbecue contacted her lawyers over the theft of the animal – and the livestock manager of the fair, B.J. Mcfarlane, texted Long warning that law enforcements would be brought in if the goat was not returned. 

According to the lawsuit, Mcfarlane threatened to have her charged with a felony count of grand theft if she did not return Cedar.  

Two weeks after Long’s goat heist, Shasta Sheriff’s Office Detective Jeremy Ashbee filed a search warrant affidavit – in a bid to seek permission to seize the stolen animal. 

Judge Monique McKee signed one on July 8, permitting officers to ‘utilize breaching equipment to force open doorway(s), entry doors, exit doors, and locked containers in pursuit of their target.’

Cops then raided Bleating Hearts Farm and Sanctuary in Napa – but the goat was not being hidden there.  

Instead, Cedar was being kept at an unnamed Sonoma County farm that Long had emailed in a desperate bid to save the animal from slaughter. 

Officers took the goat - and drove more than 200 miles back before delivering it to an unnamed individual at the fair 'for slaughter/destruction', the lawsuit alleged.

Officers took the goat – and drove more than 200 miles back before delivering it to an unnamed individual at the fair ‘for slaughter/destruction’, the lawsuit alleged.

Fortunately, if the bill is approved, the tragedy happened to Cedar the goat and the Long family will not repeat, and California kids would be able to watch their animals grow and thrive

Fortunately, if the bill is approved, the tragedy happened to Cedar the goat and the Long family will not repeat, and California kids would be able to watch their animals grow and thrive

Two officers then rushed to the other farm, despite having no search warrant for that location, nor a warrant to seize Cedar from there, according to the lawsuit.

They took the goat – and drove more than 200 miles back before delivering it to an unnamed individual at the fair ‘for slaughter/destruction’ – despite the fact that the warrant required them to hold the goat for a court hearing to determine its lawful owner, the lawsuit alleged. 

Attorney General Rob Bonta, who represented the fair as part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, later filed a counterclaim, which he ultimately dropped amid overwhelming backlash.  

Vanessa Shakib, Jessica Long’s lawyer, wrote: ‘We argued the Attorney General’s counterclaim was legally frivolous and intended to chill the First Amendment rights of the Long family.’ 

‘In Cedar’s case, a group of government officials transformed a $63 civil dispute into felony theft to create a false pretense for an unlawful search and seizure. 

‘These officials drove hundreds of miles at taxpayer expense, and stopped at nothing – including the United States Constitution – to ensure a child’s animal was illegally slaughtered without due process.’ 

Bruno Barba(pictured), a high school student in 2015, raised a pig named Lola and ultimately sent it to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California

Bruno Barba(pictured), a high school student in 2015, raised a pig named Lola and ultimately sent it to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California

Students have already opted to seek alternative homes for their animals in sanctuaries or farms, rather than participating in livestock auctions

Students have already opted to seek alternative homes for their animals in sanctuaries or farms, rather than participating in livestock auctions

Fortunately, if the bill is approved, the tragedy that happened to Cedar the goat and the Long family will not repeat, and California kids would be able to watch their animals grow and thrive.  

Students have already opted to seek alternative homes for their animals in sanctuaries or farms, rather than participating in livestock auctions. 

Bruno Barba, a high school student in 2015, raised a pig named Lola and ultimately sent it to the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, California. 

His mother said: ‘I think it’s very different to see firsthand. To see the life of the animal, as opposed to seeing it at the market and thinking, “Here’s dinner.”‘ 

Shakib, the Longs’ attorney, said: ‘We applaud proposed legislation allowing successful bidders to take their animals home alive.’ 

‘The government shouldn’t force people to kill their animals. This commonsense language is an important step in protecting property rights.’ 

California

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