Stock Show board calls Denver ballot issues ‘direct attack on agriculture’ – Sterling Journal-Advocate

Stock Show board calls Denver ballot issues ‘direct attack on agriculture’ – Sterling Journal-Advocate
Stock Show board calls Denver ballot issues ‘direct attack on agriculture’ – Sterling Journal-Advocate

Protesters watch truckloads of lambs arrive at Superior Farms, Inc., in Denver in this photo from the Pro-Animal Future website.

A pair of ballot initiatives that could have better implications for agriculture in Colorado have been made onto November’s ballot in Denver.

According to an article by Greg Henderson in Drovers Magazine on Friday, the measures “(represent) the extreme ideologies of animal rights activists.”

One measure, if approved, could cripple retail sales of vendors at the National Western Stock Show. Another would shut down a 70-year-old business and put 170 workers out of work.

The first measure would prohibit slaughterhouses in the city of Denver beginning in January 2026. That initiative seems targeted at Superior Farms, Inc., an employee-owned lamb processing plant that has been in business for 70 years in the city and employs 160 to 170 workers. Superior’s website emphasizes the sustainability of its rancher-suppliers and that its workers all are invested in the business.

Superior Farms is the only slaughterhouse inside the city, although several further processing plants for beef and pork are operating inside the city.

In a statement, the National Western Stock Show board of directors says the proposed ban is a direct attack on agriculture, “not only statewide but nationally, and we are deeply concerned that this is a ‘beachhead’ for the industry. The ripple effect could embolden a similar statewide effort.”

In an August 2023 opinion piece in Westword, Alaina Sigler, a self-described “ordained interspecies and interspiritual animal chaplain,” made it clear that the ballot initiative is part of a larger effort to eventually end livestock agriculture.

“Individuals with Pro-Animal Future (gathered) signatures for a ballot initiative that would do precisely that, as part of a larger effort to evolve away from (using) animals for food,” Sigler wrote.

A second ballot measure would ban fur in the city of Denver. Also led by Pro-Animal Future, the measure would prohibit the manufacture and sale of new fur in the city. The potential law would go into effect in 2025 and give exemptions for second-hand fur and Indigenous fur trading. Boulder passed a similar measure in 2021.

The fur ballot initiative would only “target the continued factory-farming and trapping of animals for luxury fashion sales,” Pro-Animal Future spokesperson Phoenix Huber said in a statement.

But the National Western Stock Show says the no-fur initiative would affect a broad range of products, including “coats, handbags, wallets, shoes, gloves, rugs, and cowboy hats. As a result, many of our Stock Show vendors would be unable to attend and sell their goods at our show, or anywhere in Denver.”

The Board of the National Western Stock Show has authorized funds to be invested into stopping both ballot measures this November.

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