Election night was a good night for agriculture relative to the practice of ballot initiatives. The first victory was that there were fewer anti-agricultural initiatives than in the past. The big initiatives this election were Proposition 37 in California, and Measure 5 and Measure 3 in North Dakota.
▪ Passage of Proposition 37 would have mandated that genetically modified foods to be labeled as GMOs. It was defeated 53% to 47%.
▪ North Dakota’s Measure 5 was heavily supported by the Humane Society of the U.S. and would have created a felony penalty for malicious cruelty to a dog, cat or horse. It was defeated 67% to 33%.
▪ North Dakota’s Measure 3 also passed. It enshrines the right to farm in the state constitution, the first state to do so. According to AP, it guarantees the right of farmers to engage in "modern" agriculture and bars any law limiting their right "to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices."
The ballot initiative process remains one of the greatest dangers to animal agriculture and appears to be the route of choice for the Humane Society of the U.S. It’s always amazing to see what measures are proposed and what passes. My home state of Colorado, for example, shocked all the pundits on Tuesday by solidly voting for the legalization of marijuana.