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Colorado Ballot Initiative: Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffer & Exploitation

Agriculture in Colorado is facing a battle of all battles. A ballot initiative proposed, currently known as Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation (PAUSE), is causing waves throughout the state. Proponents Alexander Sage of Broomfield, and Brent Johannes of Boulder, penned the proposed changes to the criminal cruelty to animal statutes. The initiative includes livestock and would criminalize some actions that are currently accepted animal husbandry practices.

In the comment and review hearing, proponents said the goal of the initiative is to raise the quality of life of all domesticated animals in the state by amending the statutes to ensure animals are ”treated with more dignity” by closing what they called a “loophole in the definition of a sexual act with an animal” and requiring livestock to reach 25 percent of the natural lifespan prior to slaughter.

Adding a new subsection (3.5) would define the “natural lifespan” of animal species as the following: “a cow lives to 20 years, a chicken lives to 8 years, a turkey lives to 10 years, a duck lives to 6 years, a pig lives to 15 years, a sheep lives to 15 years, a rabbit lives to 6 years.” Section 3 then goes on to incorporate this change by adding in another subsection (1.9) which reads as follows: “any person who slaughters livestock in accordance with accepted agricultural animal husbandry practices does not violate the provisions of subsection (1) of this section so long as the animal has lived one quarter of their natural lifespan based on species, breed, and type of animal and the animal is slaughtered in such a way that the animal does not needlessly suffer.” This would essentially mean that the age required for legal slaughter and harvest is greatly increased – which, in the case of cattle, would be a full five years according to the language in this proposed change.

The ballot initiative would read as this on the ballot: Shall there be a change to the Colorado Revised Statutes concerning expanding prohibitions against cruelty to animals, and, in connection therewith, expanding the definition of “livestock” to include fish; expanding the definition of “sexual act with an animal” to include intrusion or penetration into an animal’s anus or genitals with an object or part of a person’s body and allowing an exception only for care to improve the animal’s health and eliminating the existing exception for animal husbandry practices; defining the “natural lifespan” for certain species of livestock and providing that slaughtering those animals is not animal cruelty if done according to acceptable animal husbandry practices after the animal has lived 1/4 of the natural lifespan; removing several exceptions to the animal cruelty statutes, including exceptions for animal husbandry; and providing that, in case of a conflict, the cruelty to animals statutes supersede statutes concerning animal care.

KCA will conitnue to keep you informed on the initiaive.


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