Politics

The animal cruelty initiative is exacerbating controversy among Colorado ranchers

Coloradans who took part in the Governor-inspired Great Meat Battle in 2021 either ate a roast steak on Saturday or opted for a vegan burger and a side of veggies.

But last weekend’s battle, propelled by Gov. Jared Polis’ advertisement for MeatOut Day was nothing compared to a battle brewing over what cattle farmers describe as the worst attack on the livestock industry in Colorado history.

The proposed 2022 polling initiative will renew the Animal Cruelty Act, defining many common agricultural practices as “sexual acts” to aid the reproduction or examination of an animal’s reproductive organs. It would also require cows, pigs and other livestock to live at least 25% of their normal lives before heading to the slaughterhouse, which ranchers say will devastate Colorado’s agricultural economy.

Cattle are usually slaughtered for beef around the age of two, but under the proposal, this will change to the age of five. By that time, the meat was no longer suitable for tender steaks, and the extra aging would make the chops stiff and unappetizing, say farm owners who fear the proposal will hit the ballot box.

The title board in the foreign minister’s office last week Granting polling initiative organizers The starting signal to start collecting signatures. As with all other measures created by citizens – including a hard-passed wolf reintroduction measure last year, exacerbating livestock keepers – this measure requires 124,632 signatures of registered voters to get the ballot.

“This will be the largest shift in livestock policy in US history,” said State Rep. Richard Holtorf, a third-generation cattle farmer in Washington County.

Brett McMurray checks the direction of a moving truck while feeding cows on his farm on March 8th in Natrop. (Hugh Carey, Colorado Sun Special)

Eastern Plains Republicans have no doubts about being called an animal rights group Pause To protect animals from unnecessary suffering and exploitation – you will obtain the required signatures. He said registered voters, especially those walking the streets in Denver and Boulder, were unlikely to understand the full implications of the proposal. The only question city dwellers will hear, he said, is whether they want to ban sex with animals.

“They will have urban dwellers who in many cases do not know where the hamburger comes from, not know where a piece of lamb or roast pork or even toppings on their pizza comes from, and they will be asked the simple question,” he said. “Who Wants to Have Sex with Animals?”

The proposal removes the cattle exclusion in the state law on animal cruelty and broadens the definition of a sexual act with an animal. The new language says that sexual acts with an animal include “any interference or penetration, no matter how slight, with a body or part of the human body into the anus or the genitals of the animal.”

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Farm owners say they will prevent them from undergoing IVF, embryo transfer, pregnancy checks and a host of other common practices.

The polling scale also determines the life span of animals: 20 years for the cow, 15 years for the pig, eight for the hen, and six for the rabbit. She says they must each live at least a quarter of their normal life before going to harvest.

Holtorff, who accused the initiative’s backers of failing to consult with the livestock industry or experts in veterinary medicine, said the group had misunderstood normal lives. “The oldest cow I have ever seen is 15 or 16 years old, and then it dies of old age,” he said. “I don’t know where to get their numbers from, but they are not based on reality.

“People in my area do not abuse animals outside. This is their livelihood. It is these constant attacks on rural Colorado by urban activists that make the urban-rural divide wider and wider. They have no desire to understand or talk to rural Colorado and the people in our industry.” “.

Farm animals will get the same protection as dogs and cats

Alexander Sage, one of the two people listed in the Secretary of State’s office as supportive of the initiative, said he has consulted veterinarians but not the livestock industry. He said the backlash from the livestock community was violent.

“About once a day, I receive a phone call, a Facebook message, or an email with someone who talks at least in a condescending tone telling me what I know and that I shouldn’t do what I’m doing or simply talk to him glory said.” “This is not unusually surprising.”

Sage said the aim of the initiative is to “broaden compassion and reduce cruelty to animals.” Its supporters want to protect farm animals in the same way as dogs, cats and other pets, said Sage, who said he is a data scientist in Broomfield who has not previously been involved in animal rights policies.

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“In general, you are permitted to abuse, neglect, overstrain or overwork any animal,” he said. Sage said language in the proposal would not prevent spaying, neutering, or helping an animal to deliver safely, nor would it prohibit reproductive care that benefits the animal’s health.

“We did not feel that slaughtering young animals was human,” he said. “The average coladan color, based on a lot of market research, wants the cattle that eventually fall into their plate not be mistreated unnecessarily.”

The group plans to vote in November 2022 and is requesting volunteers to help with signature collection events.

Police says the measure would “destroy jobs”

Cattle farmers, already alarmed at the governor over MeatOut Day, called on the police to speak out against the proposed ballot procedure before it gained momentum. In response to a question from the Colorado Sun, a spokeswoman for Governor Shelby Wiman said that Police “agrees with farmers and ranchers that the provisional ballot initiative will harm Colorado and destroy jobs, and he opposes it.”

The relationship between management and the agricultural industry is in a rough form, evidenced by the backlash against the anti-meat police declaration. MeatOut Day encouraged additional beef and meat menus throughout rural Colorado, as well as a massive social media campaign to eat as much beef as possible on March 20.

Police responded to the “Meat Out” case by saying that he was “happy” that his announcement “helped start a popular movement in support of the livestock keepers and the beef industry”. Monday is also announced as Colorado Honorary Livestock Day.

Brett McMurray walks near painted straw bales on his ranch along Highway 285 in Nthrop on March 8. Brett and his brother Ken, the owners and operators of McMurry Land and Livestock, drew the straw after hearing about the Governor’s “MeatOut Day” announcement. (Hugh Carey, Colorado Sun Special)

Kenny Rogers, Yuma’s rancher and incoming president of the Colorado Livestock Association, said he hopes Governor and Agriculture Commissioner Kate Greenberg will be “in front of this.” Greenberg’s office said the Agriculture Department, as a government agency, is barred from taking a position on polling initiatives, but that the office has been talking to stakeholders about the potential impact on farm owners if they are passed.

Rogers said that if the animal cruelty scale were passed, it would devastate an entire sector of the Colorado economy and beyond. He said that the cascading effects would extend first to corn cultivation, grain producers, and then to the trucking industry.

In addition, he added, livestock producers are being trained to handle and assist their animals in order to preserve their health and not to abuse them. He said, “You cannot do things to animals that do not allow you to or that you are uncomfortable with it, because they will harm you next time.”

to me Financial analysis Members of the state’s nonpartisan legislature said the measure would cost Colorado an estimated $ 200,000 annually to hire employees to investigate allegations of animal cruelty. The office also indicated additional costs for provincial and local law enforcement agencies.

As for the proposal section requiring animals to live 25% of their normal life, analysts said this could lead to higher production costs and higher prices for meat products.

Supporters of the ballot initiative can begin collecting signatures as soon as Thursday, unless objection is filed with the Secretary of State’s office. If a proposal is made to rehear, the title board will have to reconsider last week’s decision to agree to the signature collection phase. The group has six months to collect the required signatures.

Sage, with PAUSE, said he was expecting a challenge and a rerun.

Sean Martini, vice president of advocacy with the Colorado Agriculture Bureau, described the initiative as “one of the most radical and backward-looking proposals this state has ever seen”.

“If it were to pass, Colorado wouldn’t be a Silicon Valley of Agriculture,” he said. A more appropriate title might be “Stone Age Agriculture.”

Red Angus calves make their way to a hay bag at Fraser Farms and River Bend Ranch in Lemon on March 9 (Catherine Scott, exclusive to the Colorado Sun)
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