From the editor’s desk: Ballot initiative would have grave implications

It’s not on the ballot yet, and wouldn’t be until next November (2022).ELECTION 2020 | Eleven ballot measures tempt Colorado's political spectrum | News ...

But if the current Initiative Petition 13 gets to voters and passes in 2022, it would radically change how animals can be handled statewide — and ruin many livelihoods in the process.

However, in reading the text, it needs to be looked at as one thing and one thing only: downright lunacy.

The initiative is described as an animal rights bill, and would revise Oregon law that it says “currently provide unnecessary exemptions to laws governing animal abuse, animal neglect, and animal sexual assault” and that changes would be made “in order to reduce the suffering of animals and improve their quality of life.”

Sound good on the surface? Keep reading.

In doing so, it makes actions such as good animal husbandry, rodeos, fishing, hunting and more illegal, with punishments ranging from a Class B misdemeanor up to a Class C felony.

In Oregon, a Class B misdemeanor is punishable with up to six months in prison, $2,500 fine, or both. A Class A misdemeanor can carry with it 364 days in jail, a fine of $6,250, or both. And a Class C felony can be punished by up to five years in prison, a fine of $125,000, or both.

If passed, it would make these changes by amending state laws to remove exemptions for a range of activities. This includes removing a good animal husbandry exemption from clauses on animal abuse, neglect and sexual assault. It means that any act under good animal husbandry could be considered animal abuse in the first degree or second degree, or even sexual assault. Causing the death of an animal — including when slaughtering it for food — would be considered first degree abuse, which is a Class A misdemeanor. The penalty upgrades to a Class C felony if done in the presence of a minor, or if a minor sees the action. Any action that causes injury or death to an animal, with the exception of self-defense, would fall under first or second degree animal abuse.

Breeding domestic animals, livestock, or horses would also be considered sexual assault of an animal, and would be a Class C felony, though an exemption is added for good veterinary practices.

ORS 167.335, which provides an exemption for numerous activities, would basically be gutted. Ten activities that are exempt from second-degree animal abuse or sexual assault of an animal that would no longer be exempt and, in essence, be made illegal, include (straight from the text of the measure):

• “The treatment of livestock being transported by owner or common carrier.

• Animals involved in rodeos or similar exhibitions.

• Commercially grown poultry.

• Animals subject to good animal husbandry practices.

• The killing of livestock according to the provisions of ORS 603.065 (slaughter methods).

• Lawful fishing, hunting and trapping activities.

• Wildlife management practices under color of law.

• Lawful scientific or agricultural research or teaching that involves the use of animals.

• Reasonable activities undertaken in connection with the control of vermin or pests.

• Reasonable handling and training techniques.”

It’s unclear in reading the text which penalty would be applied to these actions, but one thing is for certain: if this passes, life as we know it in Oregon would be drastically altered.

Picture this for a second: If I am understanding this correctly, it would be a criminal action, punishable by jail time and/or a major fine, to participate in a rodeo. To breed animals on a farm. To hunt and fish. To kill an animal for food.

Heck, I would be terrified to walk a dog on a leash for fear that would be seen as animal abuse.

The petition’s supporters are working to gather signatures of Oregon residents to put it on the ballot — they need 112,000 by next summer. I have a sick feeling they will find that many.

The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and other entities already have begun work to stop this madness. It’s unknown how many jobs this would destroy, but a safe guess would be tens of thousands. You could say goodbye to Chief Joseph Days, the Pendleton Round-up and your Saturday fishing trips if this passes.

And there would be a throng of people leaving Oregon (or reconsidering the Greater Idaho Movement).

I don’t think it goes without saying this needs to be stopped.

Read the whole thing yourself here: (http://oregonvotes.org/irr/2022/013text.pdf). It is just four pages. Then tell a friend about it.

The best thing would be to educate people so it doesn’t even gain the needed signatures. The next best thing would be to vote it down enthusiastically if it does make the ballot next year.

The livelihood of many Oregonians depends on this being stopped.

Posted at Wallowa County Chieftain by Ronald Bond, editor, on 6-30-21 

Note: this idea looks like a spinoff from a bill the legislature tried to pass this last session; HB 3008

Date: 2021-07-04 10:04

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