Voters in six states to make crucial decisions for animals on November ballot

By on October 6, 2016 with 24 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Our cause has made some of its most tangible gains by qualifying and passing ballot initiatives in the last quarter century, bringing issues directly to voters when lawmakers won’t take action on common-sense reforms. Since The HSUS and The Fund for Animals put their shoulders into direct democratic action in the states in 1990 – with voter approval of Prop 117 in California to outlaw the trophy hunting of mountain lions – we’ve racked up an incredible win rate on a wide range of issues.

The passage of Prop 2 in California – to ban the extreme confinement of veal calves, breeding sows, and laying hens – did more to propel the debate on farm animal protection in the United States than any other single action, setting the stage for the raft of corporate wins we’ve had in the last few years. Our series of three winning anti-cockfighting ballot measures – in Arizona, Missouri, and Oklahoma – stopped plenty of intentional cruelty and set us up to run the table with remaining states where the practice was legal. It also positioned us to enact a comprehensive national ban on cockfighting through our work in Congress. When voters swamped the NRA and overwhelmingly rejected the target shooting of mourning doves and the trophy hunting of wolves in Michigan, it revealed that certain forms of hunting simply don’t curry favor with the public, even in a Rust Belt state with major traditions of farming and hunting.

We’re now just about a month away from the general election, and The HSUS and its affiliates are actively supporting pro-animal measures in Massachusetts and Oregon. There are a series of other measures we also back and hope will pass. And of course, with our progress, there is always an inevitable political backlash, and that’s in evidence in Oklahoma, where lawmakers have referred a draconian measure to the ballot designed to stymie any future limits on the conduct of agriculture, including raising dogs on puppy mills or roosters for cockfighting.

Yes on Question 3 in Massachusetts: Massachusetts voters will decide Question 3, banning extreme confinement and stipulating that eggs, pork, and veal sold in the Bay State will have to be produced by cage-free operations, regardless of where they are. The agribusiness lobby sued to try to keep us off the ballot, but the Massachusetts Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously in our favor, allowing the measure to proceed. We’ve got 1,000 volunteers reaching out in Massachusetts through donor-knocking, and more than 1,000 people making phone calls to Massachusetts voters.

Yes on I-177 in Montana: In late June, grassroots advocates qualified a ballot measure to end commercial and recreational trapping on public lands in Montana to protect people, pets, and wildlife from indiscriminate, hidden, and baited traps. The initiative is based on the principle that Montana’s public lands, and the wildlife on them, are held in the public trust. Steel-jawed leghold traps and other body-gripping traps are indiscriminate, cruel, and dangerous, and make those public lands unsafe for pets and wildlife. Arizona passed a similar measure by a wide margin two decades ago, and several other western states, including California, Colorado, and Washington, have passed comprehensive anti-trapping measures.

Yes on Measure 100 in Oregon: Oregon has an opportunity to join the global movement to stop illegal wildlife trafficking and the barbaric methods poachers employ to kill elephants, rhinos, and other endangered animals teetering on extinction. Our team gathered more than 150,000 signatures to ensure Oregon voters have the opportunity to take a stand this November. Oregon is now poised to join Washington, Hawaii, and California as the last state on the West Coast to shut down local markets for those who seek to profit from this destructive wildlife trade. Washington voters approved a very similar ballot measure last November. Most of the state’s major newspapers, including The Oregonian, The East Oregonian, Portland Tribune, Register-Guard, and Mail-Tribune, have endorsed Measure 100.

No on State Question 777 in Oklahoma: This misleading measure — titled “Right to Farm” but more accurately characterized as “Right to Harm” – found its place on the ballot after the Oklahoma Farm Bureau and other agribusiness interests convinced state lawmakers to refer it there. This constitutional amendment would prevent voters and even legislators from making reforms that would benefit food safety animal welfare and the quality of Oklahoma’s land, air, and water. It is so broadly and vaguely written that anyone describing themselves as being involved in agricultural production and technology will be shielded from future oversight or accountability by the state, including puppy mills and cockfighting operations. Oklahoma University’s legendary coach Barry Switzer is urging a “no” on 777, as are cities and counties throughout the state. The Tulsa World, Norman Transcript, and Muskogee Phoenix are just a few of the state’s newspapers opposing this dangerous, overreaching measure.

No on 71 in Colorado: This measure also seeks to take power away from voters and consolidate it in the hands of state lawmakers, by making constitutional amendments in Colorado virtually impossible to conduct successfully. The existing requirements are already hard to meet, and the proposed language of this amendment requires a super-majority of 55 percent of voters to approve a proposed amendment, and it also requires signatures from all 35 state senate districts to qualify for the ballot. The HSUS opposes attempts like this to severely limit the citizen’s initiative process. In 1996, Coloradans voted in support of a constitutional ban on the use of steel-jawed leghold traps and other body-gripping traps for commerce in fur or recreation. Because lawmakers had tried to overturn a different and enormously popular wildlife protection measure four years earlier (it got 70 percent of the vote) – to ban spring bear hunting or any baiting or hounding of bears – we opted to pursue the anti-trapping constitutional amendment to prevent an unfair legislative attack on the measure. Amendment 71 is backed by special interests who already have a vise grip on state lawmakers, and don’t want uppity citizens taking policy-making into their own hands.

Yes on Proposition 67 in California: Californians will vote on Proposition 67 to protect the state’s ban on plastic grocery bags, which wash into our rivers, lakes, streams, and ocean, where they are ingested by or entangle sea turtles, otters, seals, fish, and birds. Some ocean animals mistake bags for food, fill their stomachs with plastic, and die of starvation.

More than ever, animal protection ideas are ascendant – as evidenced by gains in the corporate and political realms and a growing consciousness about animals and their intelligence. Yet our cause is tested with every battle, and we have some especially tough fights this year. There’s so much at stake with every one of these ballot measures. We hope you’ll join our efforts to pass the measures we favor and to defeat those that warrant opposition.

Farm Animals, Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Tanya Kasper says:

    Tax paying voters do want our wildlife killed, stop it.

    • Karen Loveless says:

      No we don’t!

    • Joy Louters says:

      And, you have personally spoken to all the taxpayers to know this? Who died and put you in charge of the universe? What right do you or anyone else have to kill any living thing? I am a taxpayer and I hate anyone who kills wildlife for any reason so I guess you forgot to ask my opinion.

      They have a right to live. They were here first!! We are to take care of them not starve them, shoot them, trap them, and take their habitat away. The days of slaughter are ending, Missy, you and those like you are outnumbered. We will fight for those who cannot protect themselves from the real animals which are people like you.

      • Lisa P.. says:

        You said it Joy..We shall all stand together against those who are heartlesss..

      • Reiner Goldring says:

        Wow, Joy, please take a bow, I love your passion, he or she is not a human being if they do not applaud and follow your message.

      • Ci ci says:

        I agree they have a right to live without being hunted, we are supposed to protect them . Sometimes I just don’t understand the human race

    • Laura says:

      I am a taxpayer and voter and don’t want wildlife trapped.

  2. Connie Burris says:

    Trapping should be banned and wolves should not be hunted

  3. Brianna DiLorenzo says:

    We should have evolved enough by now to know what is inhumane torture of animals and what isn’t.. we should of evolved past the point where these barbaric practices are allowed. It really says a lot about our species, that we treat other species in such horrible and cruel ways. We are NOT the only sentient beings on this planet. Other species also feel pain, sorrow happiness, love, fear and joy. It is past time to start treating the creatures of this Earth with the respect and kindness they deserve.

    • Mona says:

      You sound vegan?

      • Cy Hall says:

        Way worse abuse besides getting them ready for us to eat!!!! People that beat their pets and pit bull owners that train them to fight ought to get the same treatment! What all 50 States need is stronger laws. A man here just beat his dog to death with a baseball bat got 3 Months in jail!! Big Deal!!!!! The message above recognizes they feel and have emotions and dogs and cats are solely dependent on us! STRONGER LAWS PLEASE!!! And if you see abuse happening — don’t stand and watch REPORT IT! Remember God wiped out the people and saved the animals Duh!!!!!

  4. Susan Blair says:

    I commend. the.HSUS for publicizing these very important issues.

  5. Tom Silva says:

    A human Not able to understand such a suffering , is truly not from this Planet.. it must have been sent here from evil forces of beyond. Humans may had a chance to evolve from the savage creatures they were, but apparently that chance was missed or even discarded.. The question for any GOD, most people still believe in it, is Why ANY of such a violent form of living and surviving is still being witnessed by the vast universe of apparently Nothingness .. Why are our race is still walking toward Nowhere and quite possibly way more misery we haven’t seeing yet, as out brains grows to be more ferocious, but NEVER evolved?? ” Whoever you were, little soul , depicted in such a horrific picture above, I see you.. I lock into your eyes and I understand your soul.”

    • Tom Silva says:

      apologies for the small misspelled words and out of place.. while I could not edit after the fact, I hope it will be understood.

    • Makuye says:

      It’s really important for those who use the word evolution to understand that it merely means change (genetic, epigenetic, behavioral, for the purposes to which it has been put); change in relative frequency.

      Evolution does NOT mean that humans become more “humane”, but that within populations, different characteristics and responses increase or decrease.
      Natural and artificial selection are pressures, artificial meaning human-manipulated for limited purposes.

      Human populations continue to hold variations, and with this understanding, you can know it to be unlikely that cognitions and behaviors rarely disappear in large populations.
      I take some issue with the idea that cognitions or behaviors will evolve significantly within time periods to which most humans are concerned.

      Polling of public attitudes toward wolves in the extremely short period of wolf reoccupation of MI’s UP and WI, have shown that these attitudes became more negative as wolf numbers increased.
      In the UK, , which killed off all its wolves well over 200 years ago, carefully-worded polling has shown that schoolchildren are far more fearful of absent wolves than are children in places where the wolf either exists, or was extinguished more recently.
      So, we see that it is highly unlikely that humans can “evolve” toward tolerance. They are slaves to their imaginations.

      I’ve been studying some of the problems involved, and have found that cultural attitudes are woefully intertwined with those variables of familiarity/proximity, as well as social norms.
      The antipredator viewpoint is correlated with the keeping of domestic animals – it does not matter whether those animals are enslaved for personal/social comfort, or for economic exploitation. When you consider the former, pet “ownership”, you find exposed some important cognitions inherent in us primates: largely fear and consequent anxiety.

      Since humans form constantly changing social coalitions, they change beliefs easily in an effort to adapt to extremely variable social norms. This includes our variable acceptance of normative pressures.
      So, because neighbors in the upper Great Lakes states lose a domestic, their perceived community members can change from “we love the beauty of wild nature and self-willed wolves” very quickly to “we must lethally control or completely exclude these limiting factors.”

      Humans conflate their interaction with nature with the exclusively social concept of reciprocity, which they term “justice”, which is in actuality (due to processing sensory and imaginary information through limbic/emotional structures), reciprocal ideation; negative reciprocal interaction is thus just revenge, plain and simple.

      The whole mess can be sorted clearly with enough understanding of social, biological, and ecological sciences, but I have not encountered any nonscientists able to grasp more than a few extremely basic principles.

      Agriculturalists who immigrated to North America, brought with them technology able to kill at distances beyond those to which our inherent morality can kick in. They also were thus released from hierarchical cultures wherein they lusted for symbolic power only held by those higher in status.

      You read the term, “recreational” trapping, which should indicate to you that gratuitous killing remains inherent or rather, pleasurable. Those of you who kill arachnids and insects in your private territories can understand another, related emotion also expressed by armed antiwildlife enthusiasts.

      On political/moral differences that remain intractaby entrenched in a culture, you can think of the Fundamentalist LDS Bundys who have aroused a new coalition of antifederalist and rather anarchist followers.
      You must remember that they are themselves dominionists, blind adherents to unquestioned imaginary authority, followers of the cult of mormonism, which group emigrated west with the same sole intent, to remove competing secular governance by establishing their own cult as sole authority, ignoring and demeaning those indigenous or otherwise racially or otherwise outgrouped.
      This armed and violence-as-first-resort group mirrors the problem: Natives and any competitors for exloitable species (domestic sheep /cattle, edible wildlife) were automatically outgrouped, outside of “salvation”, and thus worthy only of extinction.
      The concept is called exclusion, and unfortunately humans have several technologies making that possible.

      During the period in India when both English and local rulers killed wildlife en masse, especially status-increasing trophy predators (they did regard themselves as performing a social good), the populace became unused to their native predators, and thus began leaving small offspring unattended.

      Draconian responses to present extremely rare taking of human offspring remain the social normeverywhere. In the case of dangerous herbivores like elephants, lethal response to “crop raiding” is a related norm. Reciprocal response to taking an economically small piece of domestic “property” arouses violent lethality toward any individual or group benefiting from, but not appearing to be capable of social inclusion or reciprocal benefit.

      This latter is why some states are pressured by agriculturalists to severely manage ungulates like elk to minimal sizes far below ecological carrying capacities. That practice combined with the continuing desire of the vast human population to imagine itself as novel “pioneer”, results in the craving in the US for bushmeat.
      This all entangles social status, fantasy, fear, anxiety, inextricably with wildlife, creating “management” and consequent policies.

      There are more variables, but understand that no evolution toward tolerance is involved. Only the disconnected urban population, the original indigenous, and a few others who are not involved with the culture and its highly disjunct symbols of status, are completely or sufficiently tolerant.

      Expect, in light of the faster evolutionary capacity of microorganisms, that the urban culture is perhaps the most ephemeral of the subcultures involved. Bacteria, viruses, misfolded prions, and fungi are evolving – emerging in epidemiological parlance – to take advantage of humans as prey and host, at accelerating rates.
      Speak to relevant microbiologists and parasitologists for greater insight on this. The species is vastly overbloomed, and will follow a typical trajectory, although probably not in time to save most vertebrate life from the human onslaught.

      Population ecology contains a concept, Evolutionarily Stable Strategy. Because we are in a period of ecological release of the human species, lifeforms will oscillate heavily (again, most oscillating to such low levels that they will easily become extinct) until all species significantly involved establish ESSes that reduce perturbations like us and the other alien species we constantly and increasingly introduce.

      This will be far beyond your lifetime. There is no hope that humans will create an ESS, unless and until their numbers fall to a point at which they do not overexploit their local habitats.

      I have material on such numbers and distributions, as well as the evolved social behaviors that still keep us striving to limit ourselves to such distributions, but they are so obviously unpopular that although anthropologists and sociobiologists/evolutionary psychologists/ecological economists recognize them, they have not been published coherently. Anything but continuing cancerous growth and exploitation is sociopolitically incorrect.
      Meanwhile many, many species will be extinguished.

      I happen to be a partisan of wolves and diverse natural ecosystems, and thus reject simplistic bioengineering philosophies, pretension to “ownership” of any organism or “property” outside oneself.

      The bears and vultures, the inquisitive sharks, and even the hunting spiders that have eyed me suspiciously in their foraging, these all are as worthy of individual life, as are capriciously lethal humans.

      The so-called “Anthropocene” present is merely an event, like a catastrophic asteroid strike, and is by NO means a geological era.

  6. hsus says:

    I’ll be glad to vote for the well being of all animals. Many forget the following: Do onto others as you’d like done to you. Animals matter a whole lot. They are included in my life. I became a vegan 40 years ago for them; in return, I have 0 calcium deposits in my arteries; heart is in superb shape. Keep them in your prayers. THANK YOU HSUS.

  7. Kathy schoolfield says:

    HSUS, we appreciate all you do and have done. Because of HSUS we’ve come a long way. A lot of animals have been saved, but there are a lot more that need rescuing. I know the puppy Mills are hard to find, but I’ll bet there is a pilot of an airplane or helicopter that would be willing to hire out for low flying surveillance.
    There are probably some as mad as us about the situation that would probably volunteer their time and equipment to find the people that put the helpless in more peril. Let”s all say an extra prayer for all the abused animals and pray God will show a way to stop all the cruelty. WE NEED MORE PRAYER.

  8. Gina piccolo says:

    If your afraid of the wild life stay in your house. Wow .they were here before all the non living wild people really wake the :-\ up

  9. denise bernitz says:

    leave the animals alone nothing else needs to be discussed and to the one that sounds vegan wonderful congratulations. There are some civilized people still on this damned planet

  10. RENEE says:


  11. marlene chavez says:

    I dont see why we are killing any wild life , We have so many fires here in California and where are these animsls suppose to go, but down to where people live. We forget they were here first and all little animals bears , cyotes are coming down for food. Stop killing and find ways to co exist. We humans are so selfish. I pray Jesus finds a way to to keep His animals alive, because we have to many people willing to kill them , and call it humane.

  12. Ivy Dearman says:

    The cruel individuals who harm animals were not raised by people of caring and kind hearts. Hurting an animal makes you a bully…and bullies are people lacking love and confidence, maybe you needed the same help as these animals do? SO, make the change…STOP being a bully!!! Be kind hearted instead. Studies show our environment and experiences shapes our personalities. Not genes alone that you inherited. You can change- join the Humane Society, pitch in and help animals in the many ways they list here on their website…make calls to raise funds, meet new friends while campaigning for animal rights, save helpless animals by bathing or grooming something furry with big warm eyes, raise awareness- feel good about yourself! Be HUMAN again. Have a heart. Be appreciated in ways you cannot imagine!

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