Thursday, March 20, 2008

Colorado Bill that would Increase Regulations on Confined Animals Raised for Pork and Veal (Pigs and Baby Cows) Moves Forward

Nice to see at least the start of a bill like this. Of course, it doesn’t go far enough, but it definitely sends a message and will educate people to the absolute hell that gestating pigs and of course, veal calves go through.

For proof as to the cruelty of veal (abused baby cows) including video proof see http://www.noveal.org

Here is a summary of the bill found in the writing below: “Senate Bill 201, sponsored by District 6 Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, would prohibit the confinement of gestating sows or calves raised for veal in a way that does not allow the animal to stand up, lie down and turn around without touching the enclosure’s sides.”

Article:

Farm animal confinement bill moves forward

http://www.journal-advocate.com/articles/2008/
03/19/news/local_news/local2.txt

Bill would cause suspension of initiative petition drive on issue

By K.C. Mason

Journal-Advocate Capitol correspondent

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 1:04 PM MDT

DENVER — Under threat of a petition drive for a ballot question, Colorado lawmakers and state Agriculture Commissioner John Stulp are moving forward with a bill to increase regulations on confined animals that are raised for pork and veal.

Senate Bill 201, sponsored by District 6 Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus, would prohibit the confinement of gestating sows or calves raised for veal in a way that does not allow the animal to stand up, lie down and turn around without touching the enclosure’s sides.

“My concern is to avert a ballot initiative, which I feel this does,” Stulp said during testimony last week before the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This recognizes the need ... to address future husbandry issues and hopefully get out ahead of the curve.”

Unlike the potential ballot measure, the bill does not include regulation of caged egg-laying hens.

Stulp said the bill also deals with confinement of milk calves, even though Colorado as yet has no veal production facilities. He said veal producers have expressed interest in moving to the state at the invitation of dairy farmers.

“The dairy industry has been involved in some of the discussions around how we will treat veal calves if that industry does come to Colorado,” Stulp said.

The committee, which Isgar chairs, unanimously approved the bill for full Senate debate.

Sen. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, whose eastern Colorado district contains several hog farms, said he reluctantly voted for the bill, despite what he called “the interference of a bunch on animal rights do-gooders.”

“I don’t like using the power of government to force people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise be doing,” said Brophy, who is a wheat and vegetable farmer. “I would have preferred to let the marketplace dictate how we produce things in this country and not government.”

The head of a national animal rights group said that as long as the bill moves forward without amendment, a petition drive for a ballot issue will be held in abeyance.

“We proceeded with the ballot initiative as a place holder in case negotiations went off the track” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Washington D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States.

HSUS recently received approval of a ballot title — Farm Animal Confinement — which clears the way to begin gathering petition signatures. Pacelle said a petition drive would remain on hold unless something happens to kill the bill.

While the legislation covers only pregnant sows and milk calves raised for veal, the ballot initiative also would prohibit confinement of egg-laying hens in battery cages.

“We certainly want to ban these inhumane battery cages that won’t allow birds to extend their wings,” Pacelle said. “We consider that a piece of unfinished business, but we will wait to see what happens with this (new regulation) first.”

Pacelle, noting his group was behind two successful ballot issues that banned bear baiting and steel-jawed leg-hold traps in Colorado, said he is confident a ballot issue on confined animals would pass.

“Colorado has a great tradition of Coloradans fighting to protect animals from these inhuman practices,” he said.

Brophy asked Stulp if horses could be next on the humane society’s list, given that legislation is being considered in Congress “that severely limits the ability of horse producers to deal with their animals.”

Brophy said rural residents already deal with unwanted cats and dogs being dumped on farms and ranches, and predicted horses similarly could be abandoned if their owners cannot find a way to get rid of them.

Stulp said his department is seeing an increase in horse rescues, adding that “the whole unwanted horse issue is something that we must address as a society.” He said SB 201 contains a process that would bring stakeholders together to fund solutions to such problems.

“People have big hearts to take care of these animals but may not have the financial resources to take care of them,” Stulp said.

The biggest impact of the bill will be on Colorado’s swine industry, which the Colorado Livestock Association’s Web site touts as the 15th largest in the nation.

“The swine industry will have an opportunity over a 10-year time frame to develop their criteria and standards for implementing the regulations,” Stulp said. “This bill will put into state statute a process that industry supports.”

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