By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A recently proposed initiative that would basically criminalize the slaughter and breeding of farm animals in Oregon would never gain any traction in Wyoming, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association executive vice president said this week.
Jim Magagna told Cowboy State Daily on Monday that an initiative proposed for the Oregon ballot in 2022 that would classify animal slaughter as aggravated abuse and redefine artificial insemination and castration as sexual assault likely won’t pass in that state, either.
“I’ve never heard of an initiative like this ever popping up in Wyoming, but the chances of it ever passing here are exactly zero,” he said.
However, he was concerned that an initiative like this would even be proposed.
“It makes me wonder if there’s any common sense left in Oregon,” he joked. “Colorado proposed something similar to this, although not nearly as extreme, but it was thrown out by the courts. If something like this were to pass, it would effectively be the end of the ranching industry in Oregon, which saddens me.”
According to Farm Progress, Initiative Petition 13 would remove farmer exemptions from existing laws barring animal cruelty and specifically target practices used for “(b)reeding domestic, livestock, and equine animals.” A group called End Animal Cruelty is sponsoring the initiative.
The proposed Abuse, Neglect, and Assault Exemption Modification and Improvement Act would delete all references to “good animal husbandry” from state statute and only allow an animal to be injured in cases of a human’s self-defense.
A veterinarian’s spaying and neutering of household pets would still be exempt from cruelty laws.
While Magagna understood that there have been horror stories concerning the slaughter of animals for meat, he said the agriculture industry has taken major steps in recent years toward raising and slaughtering animals in an ethical and humane way.
Magagna said that if the proposed initiative were to pass, Oregon’s cattle would be sold off and go to other states, Wyoming likely being one of them, that have strong livestock production industries.
There could be a slight uptick in economic impact for Wyoming should the initiative pass in Oregon, but Magagna said it would be a hit for the ranching industry overall.
“Things like this are a sign of the direction a segment of our population is going,” he said. “If some of those ideas garner a lot of strength in Oregon or California, it could lead to some policies at the federal level that could be detrimental to Wyoming.”