Stand Up For Animal Ag: Policies Loom That Could Impact Your Farm
Attempting to use the legislative process to make things more difficult for animal agriculture is far from a new tactic for animal rights activist organizations, but things seem to be heating up in this area – likely inspired by the beginning of a new presidential administration that is viewed as potentially more sympathetic to their perspective.
While the Animal Agriculture Alliance does not lobby, we do closely track different pieces of legislation proposed at the federal or state level that could impact the future of animal agriculture. Unfortunately, 2021 is proving to be a busy year in this regard and there are several concerning issues in different states that we’d encourage everyone in the animal agriculture community to be following closely.
Over the past two decades, activists have worked to introduce legislation in different states calling for certain production practices (ones used extensively in large-scale, modern production) to be outlawed. Their intention in doing this is to force farmers and the entire supply chain to undergo costly operational changes in order to comply with a patchwork of different regulations in different states. This will of course drive up the costs of production and reduce efficiency, driving up costs for consumers (therefore limiting their ability to purchase as much meat, dairy, poultry and eggs).
These types of bills are being considered right now in Arizona (a ballot initiative sponsored by World Animal Protection seeks to restrict housing methods for veal calves, breeding pigs and egg-laying hens), Colorado (a proposed ballot initiative would only allow livestock that have lived 25 percent of their natural lifespan to be processed as well as criminalize artificial insemination and other practices as “sexual acts with an animal”) and New Mexico (proposed bill would restrict housing methods for laying hens).
We’re also seeing proposed legislation pop up involving restrictions on farms of a certain size. These bills are being called “factory farm bans” by some activist proponents. Such bills have been introduced in Iowa (a proposed bill would prohibit the construction or expansion of confinement feeding operations), Oregon (proposed temporary ban on the construction of large dairies) and Rhode Island (the “Family Farm Protection Act” would prohibit “industrial sized factory farming”).
Despite efforts by groups like Direct Action Everywhere, no similar bills have been introduced in California, though we are following a bill introduced in the state to establish a “Climate Smart Agriculture Program” incentivizing farmers to transition from raising livestock or growing feed crops to “plant-based agriculture.”
With all of this going on, it is more important than ever for all of us to take action and make sure the perspective of animal agriculture is heard at every level of elected officials, starting with local government. Our future depends on it.
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