Colorado Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Initiative (2008)
The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty initiative, or Initiative 64, would prohibit the confinement of farm animals in a manner that does not allow them to turn around freely, lie down, stand up, and fully extend their limbs.
With the passage of SB 201, which will implements most of the features of this measure, proponents have agreed to withdraw this measure. The bill was passed by both houses and sent to the governor on April 7, 2008, for his signature.
This measure was a citizen-initiated state statute.
The official ballot title reads:
An amendment to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning the prohibition of certain restrictive confinement practices for specified farm animals, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting, with certain exceptions, the confinement of a calf raised for veal, an egg-laying hen, or a pregnant pig in a manner that does not allow the animal to fully extend its limbs or wings and turn in a complete circle without impediment for the majority of any day; specifying that violations of this prohibition shall be misdemeanors and delaying the applicable effective dates to allow time to modify agricultural practices to conform with this law.
Holly Tarry of Littleton, Colorado, and Lisa Shapiro of Boulder, Colorado, are the sponsors of this ballot measure.
The measure is being supported by the Humane Society, but the group says they will withdraw the measure if Senate Bill 201 passes without unacceptable amendments. "We proceeded with the ballot initiative as a place holder in case negotiations went off the track," said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Washington D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.
Senate Bill 201, sponsored by Sen. Jim Isgar (D-Hesperus), would prohibit the confinement of gestating sows or calves raised for veal in a way that does not allow the animal to stand up, lie down, and turn around without touching the enclosure's sides.
There has been no official opposition identified to date, however, the threat of this ballot question has led Colorado lawmakers and state Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp to move forward on SB 201.
"My concern is to avert a ballot initiative, which I feel this does," Stulp said during testimony last week before the Senate Agriculture Committee. "This recognizes the need to address future husbandry issues and hopefully get out ahead of the curve." The bill does not include regulation of caged egg-laying hens, as this ballot measure does.
The Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved the bill, sending it to be debated by the full Senate.
Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, whose district contains several hog farms, said he reluctantly voted for the bill despite what he called "the interference of a bunch on animal rights do-gooders."
"I don’t like using the power of government to force people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be doing," said Brophy. "I would have preferred to let the marketplace dictate how we produce things in this country and not government."
The initiative's title has been set, but the petition form must be approved before circulating petitions for the measure. Pacelle, of the Humane Society, said a petition drive would remain on hold unless something happens to kill SB 201.
On April 7, 2008, SB 201 passed the House and was sent to Gov. Ritter for his signature. Pacelle has pledged to drop this initiative when that bill is signed.
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Colorado
- Laws governing the initiative process in Colorado
- Campaign finance requirements for Colorado ballot measures
- Colorado 2008 ballot measures
- Petition drive deadlines in 2008
- Colorado signature requirements