Letter: The PAUSE Act would be devastating for Routt County and Colorado | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: The PAUSE Act would be devastating for Routt County and Colorado

Note: The Colorado Supreme Court recently determined The PAUSE Act violates Colorado’s “single subject” rule and cannot proceed to the ballot as written. We encourage readers to carefully study any future version before signing.

The PAUSE Act is a citizen-led initiative that could be on the ballot in the future. This act would be nothing short of devastating for Routt County and Colorado. We hope you recognize that the interests of the groups signing this letter are rarely in such alignment — we all agree The PAUSE Act would be bad for Routt County, and we urge you to join us in our strong opposition to this initiative and to “decline to sign” the petition if you are asked.

What is it? The PAUSE Act seeks to prevent animal cruelty to animals in Colorado. While this is a worthy cause, the ways in which the definition of animal cruelty is expanded would criminalize actions widely used and necessary in both animal husbandry and veterinary medicine.

How would it impact pet owners? The act would replace the phrase “in accordance with accepted animal husbandry practices” in current law with the phrase “in the interest of improving that animal’s health.” This small change could cause a veterinarian who spays or neuters a cat or dog to be accused of animal cruelty because spaying and neutering pets is generally intended to control the population of animals, not for health reasons.

How would it affect agriculture, ranching and food production? The PAUSE Act would destroy ranching in Routt County. Artificial insemination is commonly used to expand genetic diversity of animals and prevent injury during breeding, but would be considered an illegal “sex act.” Zoos and dairies also frequently use artificial insemination.

The proposed law also sets minimum ages at which animals can be slaughtered for food — these ages are much older than the current practice. As one example, a steer could not be slaughtered before 5 years (60 months) of age — the current average age of a market steer is 12 to 20 months, which would make Colorado meat unpalatable, unmarketable and unprofitable. Even if you love supporting local agriculture, you won’t want to eat steak from a 5-year-old steer, and the market for local meat would be effectively destroyed.

We all agree animal cruelty is unacceptable, but the consequences of this initiative to pet owners, veterinarians and agriculture producers should also be unacceptable to our community. Please join us in opposing The PAUSE Act.

Community Agriculture Alliance board of directors and advisors; Hayden School District Board of Education; Northwest Colorado Farmers Union board of directors; NW Colorado Food Coalition; Routt County Cattlemen; Routt County Cattlewomen; Routt County Board of Commissioners; Routt County Democratic Party; Routt County Extension Advisory Committee; Routt County Fair Board; Routt County Farm Bureau board of directors; Routt County Humane Society board of directors; Routt County Republicans Central Committee; Soroco Board of Education; Steamboat Springs Chamber board of directors; Steamboat Springs City Council; Steamboat Springs School District RE-2 Board of Education; Town Board, town of Oak Creek; town of Yampa; town of Hayden

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