By Michael Cox

If the PAUSE Act or Initiative 16 is something you would like to see defeated and you would like to know what to do, here is tip No. 1.

Do not call your legislators, county commissioners, the various ag-related trade groups (e.g., the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association), local Republican committees, your veterinarian, or anybody else who thinks like you do. Don’t rely on social media groups like Urban Allies Against Initiative 16. They already get it.

Senator Don Coram and Rep. Marc Catlin are already on your side and are already bending the ears of other legislators. Your Montrose County Board of Commissioners is already on your side. In fact, at last week’s regular meeting the commissioners minced no words as they introduced, read, and passed resolution No. 23-2021. Only a handful of the counties in our state are left to join the ranks.

Board chair, Sue Hansen, asked County Attorney Marti Whitmore to read the resolution into the meeting record. After she did, board members Keith Caddy and Roger Rash both sought the floor to roundly condemn the initiative, which is currently being distributed for signatures, even though the legality of the document being distributed remains under question by the Colorado Supreme Court. The court has not heard oral arguments yet and there are no indicators pointing to their decision regarding the constitutionality of the initiative’s title.

Meanwhile back in the Montrose chamber, both Rash and Caddy let fly with critiques that showed nothing but contempt for the utterly misguided dirty work in this vicious attack on the food chain and the perfectly legal livestock industry.

“This would be a killer for our ag industry in Western Colorado and Colorado (in general),” Caddy began. “We need to do all we can do to protect our economy here in Montrose County. “I think this was an ill-thought up initiative and I think the group behind it is out of touch with reality.”

Roger Rash said simply, “It is bad law.” He launched a rant that included, “We’ve got idiots over on the Eastern Slope and I will be the first one to say it folks. This is nothing more than these folks trying to bankrupt our farmers, ranchers, our producers. This is a government land grab … so they can force these people into either selling their properties or letting it go into conservation easements or whatever it’s called.

The panel, forthwith, voted unanimously to stand against Initiative No. 16.

For those who may have been on holiday in another galaxy, Initiative No. 16, also known as the PAUSE Act, is perhaps the cruelest, in-your-face, and demonstrably stupid attempt to damage the animal husbandry industry that I have ever seen. Anyone circulating this childish piece of trash for signature ought to be met with an icy shoulder and a lesson in what cruelty to animals really is. For example, they ought to be made to witness a cow with a breached birth calf trying her best to finish the birth without help from the rancher who cares for her. They need to be exposed to what happens when people have to rummage through trash dumps for morsels of food. They really don’t understand that they are meddling with a food chain on which millions of people depend.

The initiative, in the name of preventing animal cruelty, outlaws the multiple procedures used in production of food animals. Interestingly, the PAUSE idiocy goes so far as to create an atmosphere where pet care procedures would be a felony. Helping a farm animal through birthing would be considered sexual cruelty.

There is little known at this point about the signature collection. The actual collection seems to be taking place on the Front Range, in what we have come to know as the Boulder-Denver corridor. The authors of the initiative, Alexander Sage and Brent Johannes, have yet to show up in front of the cameras or at any press functions. The pair remain shadow figures. Sometimes I think that is out of pure cowardice, knowing full well that their work is tarnished and hated. The group’s website and every other public writing and uttering contains outright lies, capped off by this whopper by omission:

Here is a direct quote from their website:

Does this change the definition of animal cruelty in CO?

“This will not change the definition of what acts constitute abandonment, abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. It does: Remove the cruelty to animal’s exemption for livestock; add in an exemption to ensure slaughter is still legal once the animal enters adulthood; remove a loophole in the definition of sexual act with an animal.”

The fact is it does change the law. Removing the cruelty exemption, the slaughter age, and changing the definition of a sexual act are major changes in the law. Everything the PAUSE Act stands for is a well-aimed assault on the livestock and meat industry.

Now back to my original point. We need to not waste time ranting about Initiative No. 16 with friends and family and others already in our camp. We have to go into no man’s land. Wherever there is an individual trying to collect signatures, engage them in conversation. Whomever talks well of the PAUSE Act, ask them some of these questions (best in front of other people):

“Do you really believe in this or are you a paid signature collector?”

“Do you want meat gone from the market? If so, what will people eat?”

“What do you say to the thousands of families who will be forced into poverty by this proposal?”

“Would it be okay if we sold beef from other states or countries?”

“Have you ever been on a cattle ranch, pig farm or other livestock producing place?

The answers you will get (if you get any) will be silly and misguided. Most signature collectors will slink away.

Ask the same questions of other people who you come in contact with. Use social media to raise awareness. So far, the “fact checkers” are not onto the animal rights thing yet? Put a “NO on Initiative 16” sticker on your car, truck, big rig, tractor, or ATV. People got pretty creative during our Meat In campaign. Let’s put some of that creativity to work on this one.

We are still about 14 months away from the petition deadline, when these fools will have to show up with 124,000 signatures or admit defeat. My sense is that it is best not to wait, it is better to get ‘er done now.

Load comments