News Releases

Statement by Mark McHargue, President, Regarding the Colorado Supreme Court Blocking Ballot Measure to Criminalize Common Animal Care Practices

LINCOLN, NEB. – “Farmers and ranchers take great pride in caring for their livestock and are proud to play a major role in supporting our nation’s food supply. That’s why we are pleased to see the Colorado Supreme Court reject a ballot measure (Initiative 16) that would have effectively ended livestock production and processing in Colorado, and in the process criminalize veterinarians and pet and livestock owners for using commonly accepted animal care practices. The Court’s finding that Initiative 16 violates the state’s single-subject requirement is a win not just for the people of Colorado, but for farmers, ranchers, and pet owners across the country.”

“This proposal reflected a new level of opposition from animal rights activists. This proposal was not about animal welfare, but about erasing the livestock industry, as well as animal byproducts industries, entirely. Nebraska Farm Bureau has actively supported Colorado livestock interests in their fight against this proposal.” 

“While the proponents still have time to file a new initiative with a narrower title, we must continue to fight these kinds of proposals and protect our nation’s ability to produce food. It’s important that people know and understand where their food comes from, but equally important they know that extreme animal activists are working against them.”


Initiative 16 would have gone on the 2022 ballot in Colorado. Its goal was to add livestock and fish to the state’s animal cruelty law and redefine what constitutes a “sexual act with an animal,” including practices often used in breeding and animal husbandry. Initiative 16 would also have required livestock to be processed only after an animal lived a quarter of its natural lifespan — estimated at 20 years for cattle or eight years for a chicken — which would vastly change current practices, considering cattle are often processed for their meat at a younger age.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau is a grassroots, state-wide organization dedicated to supporting farm and ranch families and working for the benefit of all Nebraskans through a wide variety of educational, service, and advocacy efforts. More than 58,000 families across Nebraska are Farm Bureau members, working together to achieve rural and urban prosperity as agriculture is a key fuel to Nebraska’s economy. For more information about Nebraska Farm Bureau and agriculture, visit

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