March 22, 2021

RMBA Statement: Opposition to Colorado Ballot Initiative 16 || PAUSE Act

Monday, March 22, 2021 – The Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Bison Association (RMBA), representing 135 members throughout the region, voted unanimously on Friday to strongly oppose Colorado Ballot Initiative 16, also referred to as the PAUSE Act, stressing that the proposal would negatively impact animal welfare and increase the cost of food. This initiative would amend Colorado Revised Statutes, 18-9-201.

Of the many reasons the PAUSE Act is unrealistic, and would in fact devastate the meat industry, the board would like to offer their experienced perspective on few major points:

  • Promoters of this initiative claim this act will improve animal welfare by restricting certain medical procedures. Based on the extensive experience of our industry members, the changes would actually limit and prevent basic treatment of animals necessary for their overall health and wellbeing.
  • The initiative would not allow livestock to be harvested until they reach at least a quarter of their natural lifespan. If passed, this regulation would dramatically increase the amount of acreage and forage needed, and therefore the cost for the rancher to raise livestock. Meat prices for the end consumer would rise significantly, making this regulation both impractical and an economic calamity.
  • This bill would ruin the Colorado economy and the rural lifestyle in our state. If passed, tens of thousands of Coloradoans would lose their jobs, rural towns would struggle to replace their lost industry, and Colorado would lose millions of dollars in tax revenue.

This initiative would be so restrictive, it would demolish the Colorado livestock industry and it would decimate the bison industry not just in Colorado, but across the United States and Canada. While Colorado ranks sixth in the total number of bison in the state, more than 75% of all bison harvested each year are harvested in Colorado.

RMBA supports following industry best practices related to animal husbandry, as well as following humane animal handling guidelines. The association supports the advice and procedures of licensed Veterinarians when it comes to the treatment and care of all animals, whether the animal is sick, injured, or for routine inspection and care.

RMBA joins a growing chorus of voices within Colorado’s agriculture community opposing the proposed initiative. Current organizations opposing this initiative include the Colorado Farm Bureau, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Colorado Cattleman’s Association, Colorado Livestock Association, Colorado Dairy Farmers, Colorado Wool Growers, and Colorado Pork Producers, as well as Colorado Governor Jared Polis.

RMBA strongly urges Colorado residents to contact their elected official today and encourage them to voice their opposition to this initiative as well.

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The Rocky Mountain Bison Association (RMBA) represents the bison ranchers, producers, and marketers located in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah. RMBA’s mission is to promote and preserve bison through education, research, and marketing.