Cattle group to back felony animal cruelty law in Idaho

Slight indication of a changing tide in Idaho

A couple of days ago I was pleasantly surprised when my neighbor approached me asking whether I’d be willing to sign a ballot initiative.  “What’s is about ?” I asked.  “Did you know that Idaho is one of only three states without a felony charge for animal cruelty ?” she asked, rhetorically.  Go figure.

The ballot initiative petition I enthusiastically signed seeks to amend  Section 25-3502 of Idaho Code and it looks to be rapidly gaining support – so much so that Idaho livestock associations are scrambling to get out in front:

Cattle group to back felony animal cruelty law AP

A phone call to the Idaho Cattle Association wasn’t returned. But according to the newsletter, “Members felt as though it was important for the ICA to take initiative on the matter so that the association can control the outcome of the bill.”

Stories of animal cruelty in feedlots and on public lands in Idaho are pervasive.  Whether it be the common practices of branding and/or dewlap mutilation (or slicing a “neck waddle“) to easily identify livestock, or the ubiquitous neglect that takes place on the open range creating conditions of cruelty in any number of ways;  Idaho livestock producers are smart to get out in front of this one.

It’ll likely mean they’ll be in a position to leverage some sort of agricultural exemption to the law – much like the Livestock Exceptionalism endemic to our great state’s political order exempts livestock producers from just about every other rule, tax, and/or baseline expectation the rest of us are made to play by.

Regardless, the Livestock Elite’s fear of these changes to law as crafted by Idaho citizens no doubt indicates an incremental change in demographic and general sentiment in our state.  A welcome and tangibly identifiable rising tide.



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Brian Ertz