On Nov. 6, U.S. voters will choose our nation’s leaders and hope those individuals will understand that agriculture is the backbone of the nation’s economy and that further regulations against farmers and ranchers will only weaken that backbone. On a state and local level, however, there are also battles to fight to protect the future of agriculture.
In North Dakota, there are two ballot measures related to animal care and food production that you should know about. Whether or not you live in North Dakota, similar versions of these two measures may be coming to your home state, so to better protect your interests in the future, it's important to understand the precedent being set now.
• Measure 5 (North Dakota Prevention of Animal Cruelty Initiative 2012) would make it a class C felony for an individual to maliciously harm a dog, cat or horse. At first glance, most would agree that abusing animals should be punishable by law; however, this initiative isn’t as clear-cut as it seems.
Measure 5 is funded by an out-of-state activist group, the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS), an organization known for its anti-agriculture, anti-hunting agenda. The measure would only apply to rare acts of heinous abuse, which rarely occur in the state, but many in North Dakota are concerned that passing this measure would set a precedent for future actions that would regulate ranchers out of business and drive up the cost of food.
According to the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA), “The measure only applies to dogs, cats and horses and leaves out all other species of animals. It will not improve animal treatment in North Dakota; in fact, without clear definitions, those doing right by animals could even be at risk of being charged with a felony. Your "no" vote does not mean you are an advocate of animal cruelty. Your no vote means you believe in a better solution for ALL animals. Visit ndanimalcare.com to read about the alternative solution -- legislation that gives clear definitions and solutions for cruelty for all animals.”
On the NDSA website, there are several links to editorials and supporting information against Measure 5, and there is also information on the North Dakota Animal Stewards, a growing coalition representing farmers, ranchers, veterinarians, pet owners, animal shelter workers and sportsmen. Check it out here.
• Measure 3 (North Dakota Farming and Ranching Amendment 2012), sponsored by the North Dakota Farm Bureau, calls for a constitutional amendment that would block any law "which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.
According to North Dakota Feeding Families, “Protect food choices for you and me, vote YES on Measure 3. To keep our food choices abundant, safe and secure, we need to do more to safeguard the practices our farmers and ranchers use to grow our food. That’s why we are encouraging North Dakota voters to vote YES on Measure 3, an amendment to North Dakota’s Constitution safeguarding modern farming and ranching practices. Measure 3 will be on the November 2012 ballot, and will read as follows: ‘The right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology, modern livestock production and ranching practices.’”
KFYR-TV reports, “If the measure is passed, a new section would be added to Article 11 of North Dakota Constitution to prohibit any law that abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to use agricultural technology, modern livestock, and ranching practices.”
Understand the key issues facing your state; be an informed citizen and vote. Your voice matters!
Where do you stand on these two measures? What issues are being voted on in your state? Let us know the challenges you face. Share your election updates in the comments section below.