State Initiatives could Haunt the Pork Industry

It’s Halloween week and here are a couple of scary things to think about when it comes to the upcoming elections.


If you live in North Dakota, don’t forget about Measure 5, which deals with prevention of animal cruelty. If passed, Measure 5 would make it a class C felony for an individual to intentionally harm a living dog, cat or horse. What could be wrong with that?  The answer is, “a lot.”

The North Dakota Animal Stewards group explains that there may be quite a bit more to the story. In the group’s press release, Jason Schmidt,North Dakota Stockman’s Association president and a fourth-generation Medina, ND, farmer and rancher, explains, "North Dakota farmers, ranchers, veterinarians and others care for animals every day. We are committed to ensuring the proper care and treatment of dogs, cats, horses and all animals. It is the right thing to do and how we make our living."

Schmidt goes on to explain that Measure 5 is poorly worded by design to give animal rights groups, such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), a foothold in North Dakota to make more sweeping changes later. Similar efforts have been undertaken in Missouri, California and other states.He says the ballot initiative doles out blanket felonies and other penalties without clear definitions. 

"No one supports animal cruelty, but it is important that the penalties match the severity of the act and that the terms and conditions cannot be misinterpreted and used in ways they were not intended," Schmidt explains. "The ballot initiative language leaves much to interpretation and could spell trouble even for those who are doing right by animals.”

Campaign finance reports for the upcoming election were due Oct. 25 in North Dakota. Upon analysis of the reports, it appears 93.46% of the funds used to support the North Dakota ballot Measure 5 campaign effort came from out of state—with a significant amount of the money coming directly from the HSUS.  A pie chart illustrating this fact can be found on the North Dakota Animal Stewards Facebook page.  The campaign finance report is available on the North Dakota Secretary of State’s Web site or on the North Dakota Animal Stewards Web page here.

Turning our attention a bit further west, if you live in California, you’ve got the chance to give input on Proposition 37, which seeks to label genetically modified food. The Los Angeles Times provides an update on the status of that issue going into the election.  Yet another Los Angeles Times article explores a “foodie’s” suspicions that Proposition 37 may be based on “junk science.”

Ugh, the elections. Are you tired of it all yet? Referring to all of the political wrangling, partisanship and strong feelings being expressed, one of my Facebook friends noted that by the time the election is over it will be tough not to hate everyone but kittens, puppies and babies. So what do you think? Is there an issue that is motivating you to be the first one in line at the polls?  Which candidate do you think has the best ideas for the future of the pork industry?  Click on the Comment button to post your views in the Comments Section here, or email me at


Happy Halloween!


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