Proposed ballot initiative could affect ranching

PAUSE proponents start process that could lead to measure for 2022 election

Tabatha Stewart
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 3/8/21

The Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation — or PAUSE — proposed initiative for the 2022 ballot was filed with Colorado legislative staff last month, and aims to make some …

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Proposed ballot initiative could affect ranching

PAUSE proponents start process that could lead to measure for 2022 election

Posted

The Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation — or PAUSE — proposed initiative for the 2022 ballot was filed with Colorado legislative staff last month, and aims to make some serious changes to the existing animal cruelty laws across the state.

Grant Thayer, who lives east of Kiowa and has experience with cattle and ranching, said the proposed changes would devastate not only Elbert County, but all of agriculture in Colorado. Thayer is a county commissioner but was not speaking in his official role.

The initiative — which is in very early stages of a long process — aims to make amendments to Colorado Revised Statute 18-9-201. It proposes that the life span of animals be considered and would only allow ranchers to butcher the animals after they had lived a quarter of their natural life span. PAUSE also asks to have “accepted animal husbandry practices” stricken from the statute’s language. The initiative seeks to expand the description of sexual act with an animal, potentially making it illegal to artificially inseminate an animal.

The statute’s current language addresses health care for animals, but PAUSE would delete “accepted animal husbandry practices” as health care.

“They’re basically saying we can’t butcher our cattle, we can’t neuter our cats or dogs,” said Thayer. “If this were to happen, our county would be devastated. Our economy. And not just ours, but all of Colorado’s.”

The initiative states that a cow has an estimated life span of 20 years. Under proposed changes, ranchers could not legally butcher their cattle until they were at least 5 years old.

“You can’t manage a herd that way,” said Thayer. “And if we can’t butcher cattle in Colorado, we’re going to have to start sending it out of state, then exporting it back again. That’s not good business sense.”

The two designated representatives listed on the PAUSE filing — Alexander Sage of Broomfield and Brent Johannes of Boulder — did not respond to requests for comment on the initiative. PAUSE, or Wilbur’s Law, is currently awaiting an initial hearing with the state of Colorado.

To find a full version of the initiative visit www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Initiatives/titleBoard/filings/2021-2022/16OriginalFinal.pdf.

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