Animal rights activists are currently collecting signatures in Oregon to place a measure on the 2022 ballot that would have a detrimental impact on hunting, many breeding procedures, and other animal husbandry practices in the state.
Oregon Initiative Petition 13 claims to be stopping animal cruelty practices in the state, but instead would essentially ban all hunting and all artificial insemination, among many other essential and humane practices in the state – including potentially ear cropping, tail docking, and similar procedures, as well as some methods of training.
Current Oregon law establishes the crime of animal abuse if someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes physical injury to an animal. Exemptions are included for “any practice of good animal husbandry”. In addition, exemptions are made for numerous agriculture and other animal activities and practices including lawful hunting, fishing and trapping; and reasonable training techniques.
Initiative Petition 13, known as the “Abuse, Neglect, and Assault Exemption Modification and Improvement Act”, claims that the exemptions contained in current Oregon law “permit unnecessary and inhumane harm to animals.” The proposal would remove all current exemptions except veterinary practice (defined in current law as treatment, surgery, dental procedures, anesthesia, embryo transfer, and fertility evaluations). The only other exemption would be for self-defense against immediate violence.
By removing virtually all exemptions, standard husbandry practices and hunting would be considered acts of cruelty. It is unclear if veterinary treatments and surgery would protect procedures such as ear cropping and tail docking. Further, the proposal specifically states that collection for purposes of artificial insemination and breeding practices would be considered sexual assault.
In early July, the state Attorney General ruled at the request of several sporting and agriculture groups that the ballot title must be changed to better clarify to voters what the measure would do. The official title is now “Criminalizes injuring/ killing animals, including killing for food, hunting, fishing; criminalizes most breeding practices.”
AKC strongly believes that no animal should be treated in a cruel manner, and we emphatically support strong enforcement of current state laws that hold those accountable who cruelly harm animals. However, the exemptions in current law are essential for caring for animals and breed and wildlife preservation, among many other essential purposes. AKC has joined a broad coalition of agriculture groups, sportsmen, fishermen, farmers, and other animal owners to oppose Initiative Petition 13.
What You Can Do:
Supporters must collect 112,020 signatures from registered Oregon voters to place this initiative on the 2022 ballot. You can help fight this by taking the following actions:
1) If you are approached, do not sign the petition.
2) Ask your friends and colleagues to not sign the petition. Consider also reminding exhibitors at Oregon dog shows and events, students in training and CGC classes, owners who have purchased a dog from you, etc. to not sign the petition.
3) If you notice a business distributing petitions and collecting signatures, respectfully express your concerns and ask them to not collect signatures for this ballot measure.
AKC Government Relations will continue to provide more information on the ballot measure as it is available.