Odd Lauren Osteroos, Burlington
This is an appeal to voters to vote "no" on Measure 5 on Election Day. Few times in our history have we had such a presumptuous attempt on the part of out-of-state special interests to impose their philosophy on North Dakotans.
Even though the wording of the measure indicates its concern as the treatment of traditional house pets, the measure is so vaguely worded that it leaves room for expansion into areas not included in the measure itself. Further, it is the stated desire of Persons for Ethical Treatment of Animals, one of the out-of-state groups giving rise to the measure, to bring an end to animal agriculture in the United States.
The crimes of cruelty to animals covered in Measure 5 are already punishable under current law by a fine of $2,000 and a year in prison. Indeed, those involved in animal agriculture are the greatest advocates for humane treatment of animals. Any rancher can tell you that the animals providing greatest return on investment are those treated in a humane manner. Highly stressed and mistreated animals do not perform well in terms of weight gain for meat consumption, or in a manner consistent with their training, as in the case of horses.
Although I would like to believe the sponsors of this measure are simply people who are simply misguided or desire that animals be treated with the kindness and deference any animal deserves, their PETA track record shows the motive of some of them to be more pernicious and far reaching. Even the Humane Society of Fargo, Moorhead, and Bismarck is against it and is publicly urging North Dakotans to vote "no."
As a constitutional measure, changes cannot be made legislatively to correct unforeseen consequences for seven years. Much better is to allow our own elected legislators to make laws rather than bending to the radical agenda of groups clearly not in touch with the roots and lifeblood of North Dakota. The measure is also opposed by the North Dakota Veterinary Association, and the North Dakota Cattlemen's Association.
Under this law, you can possibly be charged with a felony for things like using hunting collars, bark collars, electronic fences for your dogs and cats, for using electric fences for your horses, or for the process of " breaking" a green horse. Ranchers could be stopped from putting down these animals or other sick or injured animals without a veterinarian present. The bottom line is that inhumane treatment becomes subjective to the opinion and political agenda of a charging party.
A felony conviction can prevent you from voting, obtaining a hunting, or fishing license, being in possession of firearms, obtaining a CCW, and may even keep you from getting a job where a background check is used.
This type of lunacy is tolerated in some states but isn't needed in ours. You may not think that the law would be extended to such a ridiculous extreme but in reality, haven't we seen radical groups stretch the boundary of disbelief before? If we have a problem needing correction in our state, we will fix it. Don't be fooled by this cynical and poorly disguised attempt to control what we do in North Dakota. Vote no on 5.