Letter to the Editor: Comment on Prop 16

 

To the Editor:

I wrote this. It was adopted by the Rural Initiative of the Colorado Democratic Party. The only good thing about Proposition 16 – the PAUSE act – is that it has brought Democrats, Republicans, and Independents together to fight this extremist proposition.

Prop 16, the PAUSE proposal, ignores important and accepted animal care practices and would have dire consequences for animals, agriculture, and consumers. That’s why ranchers, veterinarians, and even pet owners have come out against it. Under this proposal, it would be illegal to spay or neuter a dog or cat, since spaying and neutering are about population control and are not about the specific health of the individual animal. It would be illegal for ranchers to check which of their cows are pregnant, since a pregnancy test involves physically feeling the calf’s head inside the mother. Lamb, which by definition must be slaughtered before the sheep is one year old, would become illegal to produce in Colorado. Beef production would simply move out of state, along with $7.1 billion from the Colorado economy. Farm-to-table markets for beef, pork, or lamb would disappear.

Prop 16 is what happens when people try to make laws about things they don’t know anything about. This proposal was written by animal rights activists, not veterinarians or ranchers. Had the authors of this proposal consulted people who actually work with animals, they would know that ranchers and veterinarians strongly oppose animal cruelty and are deeply concerned with the health and wellbeing of pets and livestock. They would understand that selective breeding of animals improves the health of the herd. They would understand the difference between a medical procedure and a sex act.

We all want animals to be treated as humanely as possible. Ranchers are acutely aware of the link between animal stress and disease and other problems in livestock. Prop 16, however, does not ensure humane treatment. Instead, animals would spend up to five years grazing and living in feedlots. This extended time makes the animals more vulnerable to diseases like mad cow disease and to other health complications that come with old age. The meat produced by these older animals would be of lower quality. Colorado’s current $800 million beef export business would simply move to Kansas or another state, as would the $200 million pork export business. This is the direct economic impact, but the damage does not stop there. Agriculture is the lifeblood of Colorado’s rural communities. These communities would die without agriculture.

Prop 16 has terrible consequences for everyone involved with raising animals in Colorado and for the animals themselves. It actually creates more suffering for animals. It will kill jobs and communities. Voters are urged to DECLINE TO SIGN the petition that would place Initiative 16 on the ballot in 2022.

Bob Seay
Lamar, CO

 

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