An Oregon initiative to dramatically expand animal cruelty laws and which could be on the November 2022 ballot has hunting organizations redoubling warnings about the consequences if passed by voters.
Last month the Oregon Hunters Association stated that hunting as well as fishing and trapping would effectively be banned by Initiative Petition 13, and late this week OHA along with other local groups and national heavy hitters said that the draft ballot title and summary from the state Attorney General’s Office “(does) not adequately convey the initiative’s devastating impact” to those legal activities.
OHA, the Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Oregon Trappers Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation, Sportsmen’s Alliance and Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation filed their comments by today’s public input deadline after petition supporters had cleared a 1,000-signature threshold for the AG’s office to come up with the language.
“Under this initiative, it would be illegal to put a deer in the freezer, catch fish, or raise animals to offset a family’s grocery bill,” said Amy Patrick, OHA outreach coordinator in a press release. “While it prevents Oregonians from securing their own naturally raised or harvested food, it does not prohibit grocery stores from carrying animal proteins, meaning those items would be imported from states that do not have such outrageous regulations, effectively creating even more distance between Oregon families and their food.”
The petition is being pushed by Colorado transplant and Portland resident David Michelson, who openly explained during a podcast that it would remove exemptions to state animal abuse laws that shield farmers, hunters and researchers, among others, effectively making them subject to the same laws as those who wantonly hurt, neglect or sexually abuse animals.
According to the Oregon AG’s office, if enough people vote “yes” for the petition as written, the result “prohibits intentional injuring/killing of animals, including farming, hunting, fishing, research/teaching; self-defense exception. Redefines animal crimes, criminalizes most breeding practices.”
The AG now has two and a half weeks to consider comments made by OHA and others. They could change the petition’s wording or run with it, which could lead to a legal challenge, according to OHA.
Once the petition’s language is certified, 112,000 signatures would be needed to get it on the fall 2022 ballot.
“While we may think that it is impossible for such a far-fetched idea to make it to the 2022 ballot, let alone get passed, we must take this threat seriously,” OHA says on a special webpage set up to track the petition.
THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON HUNTERS ASSOCIATION ET AL
Several pro-hunting conservation organizations have challenged the draft language of the ballot title and summary for Initiative Petition 13, which they contend do not adequately convey the initiative’s devastating impact to legal hunting, fishing and trapping. The groups have submitted comments to the Oregon Attorney General’s office requesting clarification to the initiative’s draft ballot language.
The organizations, which include the Oregon Hunters Association, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Wild Sheep Foundation, Oregon Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Oregon Trappers Association, Sportsmen’s Alliance, and the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, also assert that the draft ballot title inappropriately uses the term “prohibits” rather than “criminalizes,” which they believe is more accurate.
IP 13 would criminalize killing an animal for any reason other than an immediate act of self-defense. It would criminalize good animal husbandry practices, animal breeding of both livestock and pets, training techniques, and even pest control. In keeping with the “no kill” directive, it would also criminalize any livestock slaughter practices, with the proponents stating that meat consumption would still be allowed from animals that have died of old age.
IP 13 effectively would outlaw a self-sufficient lifestyle, according to Oregon Hunters Association outreach coordinator Amy Patrick.
“Under this initiative, it would be illegal to put a deer in the freezer, catch fish, or raise animals to offset a family’s grocery bill,” Patrick said. “While it prevents Oregonians from securing their own naturally raised or harvested food, it does not prohibit grocery stores from carrying animal proteins, meaning those items would be imported from states that do not have such outrageous regulations, effectively creating even more distance between Oregon families and their food.”
Patrick said IP 13 would impact Oregonians who want to ensure natural, local food sources for their families through hunting, fishing, trapping, or raising their own livestock.
“I have cattle in my pasture, chickens in my coop, my husband hunts, and I like to fly fish,” she said. “IP 13 would make us criminals for our attempts to control our food sources and be less reliant on the mainstream food network.”
If the initiative language is certified by the AG’s office, the proponents will have until June 2022 to collect the more than 112,000 signatures required to place it on the November 2022 general election ballot.
The groups challenging the draft ballot language have stated that they will not rule out legal action if the current language is upheld.
“We will use all available avenues and resources to defeat this initiative,” Patrick said. “Too many Oregonians have too much at stake.”
OHA (www.oregonhunters.org) is the state’s largest Oregon-based pro-hunting organization, with 10,000 members and 26 chapters statewide. Its mission is “protecting Oregon’s wildlife, habitat and heritage.”