Voters say ‘no’ to factory farming, wildlife trafficking

By on November 9, 2016 with 40 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

On a day when our divisions have been lain bare by the results of the presidential election – where the two candidates evenly split the popular vote in a race characterized by extreme bitterness – we again demonstrated that promoting protections for animals is a cause that can unite our nation. In the three major ballot campaigns in which The HSUS and the Humane Society Legislative Fund invested time and energy, we won all three races by overwhelming margins.

In Massachusetts, voters approved Question 3 by an astonishing “yes” vote of 78 to 22 percent. It is the fourth anti-factory farming ballot measure we’ve waged, and, with each one, we’ve increased our margin of victory as well as the actual reach of the measure. The first anti-confinement ballot measure came in 2002 in Florida where we banned gestation crates with a very comfortable 55 percent majority. In 2006, we pushed an Arizona measure to ban gestation crates and veal crates, and won in a landslide with 62 percent. Two years later, in a high-water mark for our cause, we helped shepherd Prop 2 to passage in California, winning 63.5 percent of the vote, on a measure to ban extreme confinement of laying hens, breeding sows, and veal calves. The Massachusetts measure, which eclipsed our Prop 2 margin by more than 13 points, not only stops extreme confinement of those species, but applies the same standard of animal welfare to the sale of eggs, pork, or veal, no matter where they are produced.

In Oregon, we won another smashing ballot measure against wildlife trafficking, getting 70 percent of voters to favor a measure to restrict the intrastate trade in ivory, rhino horn, and the parts of 10 other species and taxa. Oregon voters replicated what Washington state voters did a year ago on the ballot, with a similarly high margin of the vote. This is part of our state, national, and international effort to combat wildlife trafficking. We worked with the Obama Administration on regulatory changes, including tighter restrictions on imports, exports, and interstate sales of ivory. We’ve also passed state bans in California, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York.

In Oklahoma, we crushed State Question 777, despite a multi-million-dollar campaign by the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, the Oklahoma Pork Producers Council, and other animal agriculture commodity groups. Their measure, referred to the ballot with the vast majority of state lawmakers favoring it, sought to amend the state constitution to bar future limitations on the conduct of agriculture in Oklahoma, unless there was “a compelling state interest.” Political observers didn’t give us much of a chance to prevail, but we secured a huge margin of victory, defeating it with a 60.3 percent “no” vote. We ran up the score in Tulsa and Oklahoma counties, but we also won in suburban and rural counties throughout the state. We worked to assemble a great coalition that included the Five Civilized Tribes, Save the Illinois River, the League of Women Voters, and so many others. We welcomed family farmers, local governments, and key politicians into our campaign, including the three prior governors – Republican Frank Keating and Democrats Brad Henry and David Walters. It was the second time we stopped the Farm Bureau from trying to erode the rights of Oklahoma voters. Twelve years ago, on the same ballot that we overcame their opposition and outlawed cockfighting, we defeated a constitutional amendment that would have essentially prevented any animal welfare reform from appearing on a statewide ballot. We take great hope from the fact that Oklahoma’s citizens saw through this measure.

We also endorsed a successful ballot measure in California to affirm a state ban on the sale of plastic bags – a measure we supported because so many ocean creatures die from ingesting this everlasting debris. The measure, Prop 67, passed 52-48, and a competing measure, Prop 65, failed 55-45, ensuring that the plastic bag ban passed by the legislature and signed by the governor stands.

On the downside, voters in Colorado approved a constitutional amendment to make it virtually impossible for a citizen group to qualify or pass any ballot initiative in that state, and Montana voters rejected a ballot measure to restrict trapping on its public lands. While we endorsed the pro-animal position, we didn’t conduct any meaningful spending, since we were fully occupied with the Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Oregon measures.

I am immensely grateful to our staff, members, volunteers, and voters who carried us to victory in key states last night. We materially advanced animal protection, and prevented an erosion of our rights to drive reform in the future. No matter how you feel about the broader election results, there’s reason to celebrate these vital outcomes for animals.

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

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  1. David Bernazani says:

    Thank God there’s some good news that came out of this election.

  2. Natalie e says:

    So proud of Massachusetts decision! This is can we go about introducing this idea in other areas????? I would love to take part in this.

  3. Jenefer Nielson says:

    No factory farming no wildlife trafgicking

  4. Ann Lourie says:

    There’s no need for this!

  5. Sally Palmer says:

    An excellent, inspiring demonstration that you can fight greed, corruption, lies, and ignorance and win. And the best thank you is for people to continue supporting The HSUS work to keep up the momentum and to weather the coming political storms.

  6. Mary Marchese says:

    I am so happy to hear that! I love all of God’s creatures and am all for doing what we can to help them in all ways. We have had so many issues of distinction and possible distinction of many amazing creatures that were put on this earth for a reason and man has destroyed so much do to greed!
    I understand that we have do do things to help us also but I believe that are better and more humane ways to accomplish this without taking away from Native Americans and our animals!!!

  7. Pam Clark says:

    Good news, but I can see so many advances being reversed: the endangered species act, trophy hunting laws, federal land sell offs, keystone pipeline or similar disastrous projects getting approval. Commercial development on national park land, what’s next, a golf course next to the Grand Canyon? I’m shell shocked and reality hasn’t sunk in. Once it does, we will have to go on the defensive if we are to stop all the progress made.

    • Jen Matthews says:

      Pam Clark: did you mean you can foresee the reversal of these acts and laws in the upcoming future, or have they already been reversed?? Say it isn’t so!

  8. Mindy Santo says:

    Thank you so much for sharing good news today, I needed this.

  9. Jody Riesberg says:

    I am so grateful that this issue is being talked about!
    Growing up , I knew nothing or even thought about what I was eating and I always thought of myself as an animal lover. But I ate meat!
    Now as a vegan, I just hope more and more people become aware and change the world.

  10. Dee Garmon says:

    Holocaust starts when you say these are only animals.

  11. Melissa Beck says:

    How do you vote? do you say yes or no in a comment? if so, I vote NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  12. DeWayne S Williams says:

    No to this

  13. DeWayne S Williams says:

    Stop all animal abuse…

  14. Chris cano says:

    What a great victory!!!

  15. Jayme Pilgram says:

    No to wildlife trafficking and no to factory farming !!!!!

  16. Jayme Pilgram says:

    No to wildlife trafficking and factory farming

  17. Gail Brady says:

    STOP IT!!!

  18. Robin says:

    Thank you, I am so proud! Yes, we need to keep fighting and be a voice.

  19. Gary Rogers says:

    Cant say enough bad things about people that let animals be miss treated.But that is not the answer.We need laws to help.I know we are all tired of laws but shooting them wont work.Shur would be fun.i hate amimal miss treatment…..

  20. Melissa Beck says:

    hello, I love you guys, you’re so cool!!!

  21. Jenna Miles says:

    Well great, but less bad doesnt mean good. No humane farming of animals exists or can ever exist.

  22. Gregory Karas says:

    lest do what ever we can to put these Scumbag Farmers out of business, Factory Farming, Cage Farming, Gas striation crates,this is all inhumane for these poor Animals,everyone that has a love for animals, lest stop buying any of there products,and lest stop the demand for there products, NO DEMAND, NO SUPPLY, NO BUSINESS.

  23. Mary says:

    Thank goodness that, in so many instances, when people understand issues, they choose to be more compassionate toward living creatures that, like us, can suffer and feel pain.

    Kindness is a noble goal, and great work HSUS on striving for these noble goals, and also for your success in achieving them. Thank you.

  24. Clarise Lyon says:

    I agree to say “no” to factory farming and wildlife trafficking. I hate greed–unfortunately. It goes on at the expense of these precious animals. Tell us the name of the companies selling these items and I will be sure to stop buying anything from them.

  25. Pierre says:

    NO NO NO

  26. Marilyn marilyn says:

    This gives some Hope to Animal Welfare on All Levels <3. I was so worried as to any "Unethical' changes that will happen, since Trump got in. I will still worry until I see a difference though for the Animal Kingdom <3

  27. Toni Hamilton says:

    Thank you for fighting for the rights of animals. Keep up the good work for them.

  28. anieda kovatto says:

    Anyone hear of rodeo abuse of animals…. Ban that too

  29. Beverly says:

    Thank You HSUSA…I can’t believe that people think its not cruel to put animals in small crates and cages (for their entire lives) for our benefit…people against this should be put in a cage for awhile…I bet they would change their mind…times are changing thanks to more informed people and companies…again, THANK YOU for all you do and speak up for all the animals who can’t defend themselves.

  30. PClarke says:

    Where are links for petitions so that we can make our feelings count?

  31. Brenda Ruvalcaba says:

    Detengan ya la producción masiva de animales de consumo! si las empresas no son lo suficientemente aptas para mantener en buenas condiciones a los animales, tampoco deben tener un permiso para tener una fabrica de matanza, a pesar de ser animales de consumo, ellos merecen tener una vida digna, y su espacio es una parte fundamental de ello.

  32. Scott Slocum says:

    Looks like the “right to hunt, fish & trap” amendments passed in Kansas and Indiana. Audubon executive director in Kansas warned that “the measure might prevent citizens from stepping in to prevent unsportsmanlike practices.”

  33. Tuffy says:

    A promising step forward, but we now have to acknowledge that the new president elect (I can’t bear to type/speak his name) that will probably veto all animal rights movements and campaigns. The same president that believes climate change is a hoax and wants to promote fracking. I fear for the future of our planet and I fear for the safeguarding of all animals. Sorry.

  34. Kirsten Wallace says:

    This great and encouraging. Just hope it can be enforced!

  35. Maricarmen says:

    Please, STOP abusing animals! They suffer pain and stress!

  36. Michael Fair says:

    Please provide, if at all possible, the email addresses of those to be praised or criticized for their treatment of animals.

  37. cathy figueroa says:

    Wayne, Thank you for helping with animals. Your one of a kind.

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