More petitions to come


Back in May, I wrote of a ballot initiative petition circulating in Colorado that would devastate the livestock industry in that state.  

Initiative 16, a section referred to as “Wilbur’s Law,” would have added livestock and fish to the state’s animal cruelty law and redefined what constituted a “sexual act with an animal,” including practices used in breeding and animal husbandry. It would have also banned the processing of any animal until it had reached a quarter of its natural lifespan. 

Luckily, the question never got on the ballot. The Colorado Supreme Court rejected the measure, ruling that Initiative 16 violates the state’s single-subject requirement. Colorado law requires a single subject, and by combining the treatment of livestock and changing the laws relating to sexual abuse of all animals, it was rendered invalid. 

The ruling may have been a sigh of relief for livestock producers in that state, but it could mean two initiative petitions in the future. 

A similar measure in Oregon could still make that state’s November election. Initiative Petition 13 organizers are currently gathering signatures. The petition would turn breeding an animal into “sexual assault.” It would only allow animals being raised for meat to be processed after they die of natural causes, such as old age.

Oregon is not the only state where animal rights groups are gathering signatures. Oregon is not the only state where animal rights groups are gathering signatures. 

In Arizona, the Arizona Farm Animal Confinement Initiative needs to gather 237,645 valid signatures to qualify an initiated state statute. According to some media reports, a group sponsored by World Animal Protection called Arizonans Against Farm Animal Cruelty filed the petition to “prevent animal cruelty by phasing out extreme methods of farm animal confinement.”

The measure would establish minimum space requirements based on square feet for calves raised for veal, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens. It also bans the sale of veal from calves, pork from breeding pigs, and eggs from hens when the animals are confined to areas below minimum square-feet requirements.

As I have warned, it’s only a matter of time before we start to see more of these measures make their way to the Ozarks.

Farrowing crates, for example, are illegal in 10 states. Nine states have banned veal crates and require all eggs sold to be from cage-free facilities. Unfortunately, it’s cases of those few doing things inhumanely that have impacted everyone else. 

Many say these petitions and laws are to protect and improve animal welfare. Still, I see them as was to eliminate animal agriculture a little bit at a time by trying to give non-farming folks a warm, fuzzy feeling by saying they are “helping animals” by signing a petition or casting their vote. 

Millions are spent in the name of “animal welfare” every year, yet when it comes down to physically caring for animals, the organizers of these petitions are nowhere to be found. I’m sure everyone could have used an extra hand or two during our recent winter weather. 

Every animal should be treated in a humane way, I agree, but it should not be up to those who have never raised livestock to dictate what is “required” for proper health and care. 

When it becomes illegal to help a cow during birth, keep a sow from squishing her babies or keeping birds safe from predators, how is that better for the animals? 

Today, more than ever, it’s critical for farmers and ranchers to be advocates for agriculture and keep abreast of things that could impact the industry. Your livelihood depends on it. 

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here