The state of Colorado is similar to Alberta in many ways: beautiful vistas and mountains, and a rich history in the cattle business. Colorado also holds a significant portion of the cattle market in the U.S., much like Alberta prides itself on being Canada’s beef capital.
While Colorado Governor Jared Polis isn’t advocating for a new animal rights bill, his previous support of reducing meat consumption in the state has spurred activists to put forward a new initiative that could cause serious problems for Colorado ranchers.
Shaun Haney was recently joined by Drovers editor Greg Henderson to discuss the subject, and why if the act ends up on a ballot, ranchers in the state will experience trouble.
Initiative #16, nicknamed the Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation (PAUSE) Act, contains some provisions that may make regular ranching practices outlawed. Henderson explains that if approved, “the PAUSE Act would redefine animal abuse and it would declare as illegal, sex acts on an animal; if you used artificial insemination, embryo transfer, or do bull soundness exams, for example.”
Procedures that are generally perceived as modern agriculture production practices would be declared illegal, which is an uneducated, unrealistic way to undermine agriculture in the state of Colorado, says Henderson.
Listen to the full interview between Henderson and Haney, story continues below player:
According to Governor Polis’ spokesperson, he has denounced the PAUSE act, citing that it would hurt Colorado and destroy jobs; but he seems to have made it very easy for radical groups to come to the state and move some of these initiatives forward.
Henderson’s article on Drovers also outlines that the act would mandate that food animals be allowed to live at least one quarter of their natural life, before going to harvest; defining cattle’s natural life span at 20 years, pigs at 15 years, chickens at eight, and rabbits at six years.
“Any steer or heifer that goes to slaughter must be five years old, if this is approved,” says Henderson, which will change the dynamic in terms of beef quality, not to mention the economics involved of raising an animal for five years.
Ranching and agriculture organizations like Farm Bureau and Colorado Cattlemen’s Association are up-in-arms over the act and pending it appearing on the ballot — with a low amount of signatures required, 124,632 — will have to spend their resources on educating the public on how damaging the act is, says Henderson. Furthermore, the act is not based on any scientific reasoning, he says.