Attack on Animal Owners Defeated in Colorado Supreme Court

In Colorado, we’ve experienced attacks on hunting, gun rights, and most recently agriculture. We’ve seen movements, bills, and propositions that are driven by emotion and ignorance rather than science or education. Make sure you are always learning and educating.

Last fall I shared about ballot-box biology; that is where I get to choose whether a landscape should have animals introduced rather than letting the experts at our state’s DNR do the work they’ve studied for years. With no degree, a citizen can say whether or not we have tigers, kudu or other wild animals put on the ground in our state. The result is that the public voted, and now wildlife officials are forced to make a natural migration of wolves into our state proceed in a rapid manner.

I mention last year’s vote because the citizens. of Colorado recently faced Initiative 16, which posed an attack on agriculture. Thankfully, some of the agricultural organizations, which I’m a member of joined forces and opposed this threat all the way to Colorado’s Supreme Court where it has been defeated.

Initiative 16 would have prevented every citizen from using practical animal care, criminalizing pet owners, farmers, ranchers and veterinarians who use accepted animal husbandry practices to care for animals. This would have included spaying and neutering, birthing assistance, reproductive practices (artificial insemination, pregnancy diagnosis, fertility testing), etc.

16 would have banned the slaughter for animals that have lived less than 25 percent of their “natural” lifespan, far longer than consumer taste, animal care standards and sustainability practices currently allow for. That would’ve meant that all 4-H livestock participants would possibly be required to feed and care for their animals for longer than they’re in high school. After which, they’d hope to recover their years of expenses in a higher-dollar than usual auction. If you consider this example, the price of beef from ag. producers will sky-rocket.

Additionally, if you don’t know, we use horses for our hunts and offer trail rides at ranches in our area. The Initiative would eliminate accepted animal care practices, opening the door to animal cruelty prosecution for common and basic animal activities such as rodeos, dog shows, livestock shows, trail rides, and other activities that involve animals.

Needless to say, we are greatly relieved to see that the anti-agriculture Initiative has been defeated in the Supreme Court. Read on to learn more.

Agriculture Coalition Applauds Initiative 16 Ruling

Colorado Supreme Court Unanimously Rules The Measure Doesn’t Meet Single Subject Requirement

Coloradans for Animal Care praised the Colorado Supreme Court for their 7-0 ruling against Initiative 16, determining it did not meet the single subject requirements for a citizen ballot initiative. 

“We thank the Supreme Court for their unanimous decision. Dairy production and livestock agriculture is critical to Colorado,” says Chris Kraft, chair of the board of Colorado Dairy Farmers. “We appreciate the decision and we appreciate those citizens of Colorado who followed our coalition and stood with us in support of our dairy producers and all farmers and ranchers.”

Coloradans for Animal Care is a coalition of state agriculture leaders and their organizations have formed to oppose Initiative 16, a recently 2022 ballot initiative that would ask voters to criminalize commonly accepted veterinary and animal care practices in Colorado. It would also ban the slaughter of livestock that have not yet lived more than one-quarter of their anticipated lifetime, a standard far longer than consumer and foreign markets demand.  

“The Colorado Wool Growers Association would like to thank our members and allied organizations at Coloradans for Animal Care that made this successful legal challenge possible,” said Bonnie Brown, executive director of the Colorado Woolgrowers Association. “Colorado’s farmers and ranchers produce high-quality food and fiber, and will continue to adhere to best management practices to provide humane care for our animals.”

The coalition challenged the Title Board’s ruling to approve the Initiative for signature collection, claiming it addressed multiple subjects and included inflammatory language. After losing the Title Board challenge, the group appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

“The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association appreciates and agrees with the Supreme Court’s ruling that Initiative 16 covered multiple subjects and should not advance to the ballot,” says Janie VanWinkle, president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “We appreciate the coalition and statewide support in opposing this measure. It would take away consumer choice and in the process hurt our environment, economy and the very animals the proponents claimed they wanted to protect.”

“The Colorado Livestock Association is pleased with the unanimous Supreme Court decision which denies the proponents ability to move forward with Initiative 16. This is the right result for all of Colorado,” celebrated Dwain Weinrich, president of the Colorado Livestock Association.

If the proponents wish to continue pursuing the measure, they will have to rewrite and file another title with the Title Board, beginning the process again. Any signatures that were collected are now void. 

“This sends a strong message to the supporters of this measure and anyone else who is interested in a responsible ballot initiative process,” said Carlyle Currier, a rancher from Molina and president of Colorado Farm Bureau. “This process has been abused for far too long, and this is yet another reminder that ambiguous language, bait-and-switch tactics, and attempts to conceal the real-world results of ballot initiatives are bad for our state and will not be allowed to stand.”

Coloradans for Animal Care was created to support any initiative that would protect safe, commonly accepted animal care practices and oppose any initiative that would lessen animal care. The coalition will continue to defend the agriculture industry from extreme measures like this one, whether it comes from these proponents or others. Support for the coalition grew throughout the challenge process and is expected to continue growing if other initiatives are filed. For more information visit: www.ColoradansforAnimalCare.com.

How Can You Help?

Membership Matters! Agriculture organizations rely on membership from supportive Coloradans to work hard at protecting our Colorado Way of Life. Click below to become a member today!  

Colorado Farm BureauColorado Livestock AssociationColorado Cattlemen’s AssociationColorado Wool Growers AssociationColorado Pork Producers CouncilColorado Horse CouncilRocky Mountain Farmers UnionColorado Egg ProducersLivestock Marketing AssociationFarm Credits of Colorado


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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and a range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast. 

Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.

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Mia Anstine
MAC Outdoors LLC
PO Box 31
Ignacio, CO 81137-0031