The Colorado Title Board, the traffic cop for the introduction of petitions to place matters on the election ballot, rebuffed requests by a broad coalition of livestock stakeholders and has said that Proposition 16, the so-called PAUSE Act, may proceed to the street. The vote came even though, Cattlemen’s Association members said, the board found the language of the petition difficult.
Now, the association and other producer associations are headed to court, asking the Colorado Supreme Court for a review of the proposed ballot measure, Proposition 16. The livestock organizations say the petition as it stands now will have deep and lasting effects on animal husbandry and the way of life of thousands of rural Colorado families.
“Coloradans for Animal Care, a coalition of Colorado-based agriculture and livestock organizations will request that the State Supreme Court review Wednesday’s decisions by the State Title Board as to the ballot title it set for Initiative 16. Initiative 16 would criminalize many routine animal-care practices that Colorado’s ranchers and farmers use to feed America,” said a spokesman for the group which includes Colorado Farm Bureau, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Dairy Farmers, Colorado Wool Growers Association, and Colorado Pork Producers Council.
Producers from all the organizations attended the second meeting of the Title Board on the Proposition 16 matter. They came away ready to fight.
Coloradans for Animal Care will ask the Colorado Supreme Court to find that this amalgamation of ideas does not meet the constitutional definition of a single subject and, alternatively, to correct the most misleading elements of the ballot title set.
The Title Board acknowledged that the need to fix some of its earlier errors in setting a title but failed to ensure that Colorado voters will be given a fair title that accurately reflects the measure opponents say is overreaching and will drive many agricultural producers from the industry.
Through a group spokesman, the coalition said: ”The Title Board was wrong in its decision today. Initiative 16 clearly has multiple subjects. The difficulty the Title Board had in setting the language of the title is clear evidence of that. There are at least three subjects in the initiative and the language of the title is still inaccurate and misleading and we hope the Supreme Court will agree.”
According to coalition attendees, the Title Board deliberated for more than two hours, calling the measure “ambiguous and incomplete” in describing the difficulty in setting a title for the measure. Comments from public also pointed to the difficulty that they had in interpreting what the measure would do, and would not do, based on the updated language of the title.
The initiative specifically removes all language from the current animal laws that allow acts such as artificial insemination, birth assistance, semen collection and other workaday procedures used in livestock management. The initiative also makes it illegal for a producer to slaughter livestock before a certain lifespan is lived. An example is that beef cattle could not go to processing before the end of their fifth year. Opponents say the collection of prohibitions in the petition would essentially end livestock production in Colorado. For more information, visit Coloradans for Animal Care at www.ColoradansForAnimalCare.com or contact the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association directly.