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Monday, October 29, 2012

No Form of Animal Abuse that Ag Groups Find Intolerable

It’s just about one week left before Election Day, and one of the battleground states for animal protection is North Dakota. Measure 5 would make it a felony to maliciously and intentionally harm a dog, cat or horse, and would bring North Dakota’s cruelty law in line with those of 48 other states that previously adopted felony penalties for extreme animal abusers.

Shockingly, state and national agribusiness groups have launched a scorched-earth campaign opposing the measure, and are fighting to keep penalties weak for extreme acts of cruelty against pets in North Dakota. It’s more proof that they have no credibility on animal welfare, since they don’t think it’s important to have felony penalties for malicious acts of cruelty—acts that have occurred in North Dakota, such as slicing a cat’s throat with a box cutter, or beating a Chihuahua to death during a home invasion.

The opposition campaign is funded in considerable part by Forrest Lucas, a millionaire from Indiana who owns Lucas Oil and who also put in hundreds of thousands of dollars in his failed effort to defeat Prop B, to crack down on large-scale puppy mill abuses, in Missouri in the 2010 election. And their opposition coalition has received donations from defenders of animal abuse from all over the country, including recently from the Missouri Farmers Care PAC, which also emerged in the Prop B fight over puppy mills. The Indiana and Missouri state legislatures both established felony penalties for animal cruelty in the 1990’s, so why do these folks want to prevent North Dakota from doing the same thing nearly two decades later? Is there no form of animal abuse that these people find intolerable?

North Dakotans to Stop Animal Cruelty, the coalition group urging a YES! vote on Measure 5, has just released a new TV ad featuring North Dakota veterinarian Dr. Shelley Lenz. She sets the record straight on the ballot measure, and tells voters that the law will help animals now, and has nothing to do with hunting or agriculture. The opponents of Measure 5 have been the very forces to urge the legislature to kill proposals to establish felony penalties for malicious abuse. They now claim they are converts to the cause and want to see an anti-cruelty bill enacted in Bismarck. If that’s true, then we’ll join them, but it’s no argument to kill a very modest effort on the ballot next week.

Please share this ad with your friends and family in North Dakota, and help fight back against the national agribusiness interests that want to leave North Dakota’s pets to fend for themselves. If you would like to help out and support the YES! on Measure 5 campaign, please email me and I’ll put you in touch with the campaign staff.

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