Frequently Asked Questions
Pro-Animal Future (PAF) is made up of dozens of dedicated campaigners who volunteer their time to gather signatures in Denver and otherwise help the cause. We’ll be setting up a Team page soon with many of our profiles, but for now, see us in action over on Instagram!
Pro-Animal Future is a 501(c)(4) political organization that was incubated by Pax Fauna, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on research. Pax Fauna is known in the animal rights community for its studies on public attitudes regarding the use of animals for food, and narratives that can increase support for pro-animal initiatives. These findings play a central role in PAF’s strategy. About a half dozen full-time Pax Fauna employees support the Pro-Animal pilot campaigns and continuing research.
Seeded with funding from the Phauna Foundation as well as numerous small donations, Pro-Animal Future is working to build a movement powered by small donations. We warmly invite you to join us as a donor, petition signer, canvasser, or engaged citizen for the cause of animal freedom.
If you like meat and also care about animals, you are in good company! Current norms can make it difficult to leave animal meat behind on one’s own. Pro-Animal Future strives to transform this individual burden into a group effort. That is, rather than asking individuals to make a big change all at once, we believe change can happen when we all come together to take steps as a city or as a nation. People have literally signed our petition while eating a cheeseburger or pepperoni pizza! Whatever you eat, if you envision a more peaceful future and recognize the need for our society to transition away from factory farms and slaughterhouses, then we warmly invite you to support our cause.
Think of it this way. Even if you drive a car, you can support efforts to help our environment. Similarly, meat eaters are vital in supporting the animal rights movement. In fact, research has shown that those who still eat meat are among the most persuasive pro-animal messengers. They’re living proof that we don’t have to model perfection in order to passionately support a better future for our fellow earthlings. None of us are hypocrites, but simply human with a lot on our plates.
We of course encourage people to boycott slaughterhouses by leaving meat and dairy products behind. But if that transition seems daunting right now, it won’t in the coming decades as we replace our antiquated food system with something more just, sustainable, and accessible. Note that the proposed ban on slaughterhouses will not affect the sale of animal products or cause any drastic changes. Instead, it will help to accelerate a gradual transition—one that is already underway in the rise of plant-based options and consumer trends towards flexitarianism.
Denver citizens won’t be giving up meat just yet. What we will be doing is proclaiming to the world, “Denver stands with animals. Denver stands for a better future that protects them.”
Signature gatherers must be U.S. citizens and at least 16 years old on the day that they gather signatures. (Source: 5.7.1 of the Denver Election Rules.) Click here if you are interested in volunteering with us!
Signers must be residents who are registered to vote in the City of Denver. When they sign, they must write legibly and list the full name and Denver, CO address under which they are registered to vote.
It’s no secret animals don’t want to die and suffer greatly in slaughterhouses. Many Americans feel deep misgivings about killing animals for food, especially because of the horrors of modern factory farming and the increasing availability of alternatives. Yet, we’ve felt powerless to create change just as individuals. By acting together as citizens and voters, we can accelerate society’s transition to a more humane food system, one that protects humans and animals alike.
Slaughterhouses are not only bad for animals, but bad for workers, bad for neighborhoods, and bad for our environment:
- The psychological impact of slaughterhouse employment includes higher rates of depression, PTSD, substance abuse, and low self-esteem. Injuries and amputations are alarmingly high. Slaughterhouse workers sell their soul so that we don’t have to think about the animals our meat comes from. No one should have to kill innocent lambs all day just to pay the bills.
- Slaughterhouses are disproportionately staffed by people of color and found in lower-income neighborhoods, such as the historically immigrant and mostly Latino neighborhood of Globeville that is home to Denver’s slaughterhouse. Globeville residents have suffered a lot from industrial pollution and unequal city planning. Our early conversations with community representatives suggest there will be a lot of support for swapping the slaughterhouse with greener, more community-friendly use of the land.
- Raising animals for food greatly contributes to climate change, with animal-free meats emitting 30 to 90% fewer greenhouse gases than traditional meats. The UN has declared a climate emergency, and we need to do everything in our power to mitigate global warming and extreme weather events before things get worse. Closing Denver’s lamb slaughterhouse is a way we can unite as voters in support of a more sustainable future.
Banning slaughterhouses in our city will be a groundbreaking step in the right direction. We will send a strong message across the nation that slaughterhouses do not have a place in the peaceful future we are creating.
Denver once had many slaughterhouses, but now there is just Superior Farms. Slaughtering over 1,000 baby lambs per day or 500,000 a year according to a 2016 industry source, Superior Farms in Denver is among the country’s two largest lamb slaughterhouses. It’s located in 80216, which has been rated the most polluted residential zip code in the United States.
According to OSHA reports, there have been multiple serious injuries, including amputation, at the Denver slaughterhouse in recent years. This is the gruesome reality of the slaughter industry. The Guardian has reported there being two amputations a week nationwide.
Superior Farms has been sued for violating the Humane Slaughter Act. Animal Outlook’s undercover investigation at their other location in Dixon, California revealed lambs being kicked and thrown. Others struggled in pain long before they died. Superior Farms’ claims of being “humane” are hollow, as no animal consents to having their throat slit and the Denver public has no way of seeing what goes on inside.
It’s time we evolve away from allowing such routine cruelty to exist in our food system. If Denver passes the proposed law to close down slaughterhouses, Superior Farms would cease operations by January 1, 2026.
Yes! There is a provision in the proposed legislation directing the City to prioritize any affected workers in its employment assistance programs, including those provisioned by the Climate Protection Fund. This means people who currently work at the slaughterhouse should have access to training programs meant to help them transition into green industries. These green jobs are safer, healthier, and offer more long-term security.
For animal agricultural workers who want to move into other empowering careers, the Brave New Life Project exists exactly for this purpose. The local Denver nonprofit gives 1-on-1 support and employment assistance in solidarity with both workers and animals.
If the slaughterhouse lot becomes vacant, any developer who buys it would be expected to develop it according to Blueprint Denver, the City’s long-term plan. The plan designates that by 2040, the area of 80216 where the slaughterhouse is will become a “Community Center.” This means it would satisfy a mix of housing, employment, and/or dining & shopping uses and have bike, rail, or bus-friendly streets. Community Centers typically include open spaces with trees, plants, and greenery to give relief.
Blueprint Denver is a guiding document, not set in stone. But Globeville residents we’ve spoken with generally favor this transition from industrial uses to a mixed-use community center. Globeville is a neighborhood whose historically immigrant and largely Latino residents have been horribly mistreated by industrial pollution and unequal city planning. Those who live here need to be given the steering wheel to self-determine how their neighborhood evolves. Based on positive feedback we got from Globeville representatives when considering this ballot measure, we believe it gives a step forward for both animal rights and community health.
We wish there were language in our ballot measure to ensure the parcel of land now occupied by Superior Farms becomes affordable housing or something else in line with the aspirations of the community. Unfortunately, legal limitations on ballot measures prevented us from doing so. After this measure passes, we hope to work with community organizations and Denver City Council to ensure the land is used appropriately.
We would love to hear from residents or local advocacy groups with your thoughts, concerns, or opportunities to unite for a better Denver. We want clean air and affordable houses, not slaughterhouses!
Plant-based populations have longer lifespans with less heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, but eating animal-free comes with special nutritional considerations. The American Dietetic Association calls well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets healthful and nutritionally adequate for all life stages, citing the data on how a balanced lifestyle with supplementation can provide plenty of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B12. There are many different plant-based eating styles to find what works best for the individual, and we recommend resources like VeganHealth.org and NutritionFacts.org for evidence-based advice. If you or someone you know struggled to eat animal-free in today’s world, it’s not their fault, and it doesn’t mean that they couldn’t thrive in a pro-animal future. Imagine how much easier health will be when:
- Eating animal-free is the normal, common-sense, and celebrated thing people do. It is no longer a learning curve or a separate identity, but uniting. A sense of community and normalcy is important for our health!
- Medical professionals are well-educated on whole-food, plant-based nutrition. The knowledge is far more advanced and customized than it was before.
- Restaurants, groceries, and family feasts overflow with culturally diverse, tasty, and nutritious foods made from every kind of fruit, vegetable, legume, grain, nut, seed, mushroom, herb, and spice.
- Instead of subsidizing animal ag, the government helps healthy animal-free nutrition be affordable and accessible for all communities. No more food deserts! No more paying extra to avoid eating a friend!
- Transitioning to a more plant-based food system has significantly cut emissions and helped us survive the climate crisis—saving the health of our planet on which all of our individual health depends.
It is also possible that cultivating meat from animal cells, now in its baby stages, will let future generations eat animal flesh without having to butcher anyone. By opposing slaughterhouses, we can accelerate society’s investment in a future that respects our fellow earthlings. Animals suffering in factory farms and slaughterhouses can’t wait. They need our political support now so we can commit to innovating a nonviolent food system for all.
Banning a cruel practice in Denver won’t defeat the industry immediately, but it can catalyze larger-scale change. Take, for example, the 2011 fur ban in West Hollywood. The industry could not count on simply moving sales to Los Angeles, for it was banned there too in 2018, and a year later, the whole state of California voted to phase out fur. Research by Faunalytics suggests that passing local laws helps to sway state legislators. We invite other cities and states to consider how slaughterhouses may go against their community’s values and needs, and to pass similar laws as needed.
Closing the lamb slaughterhouse in Denver would likely result in those animals being sent to other slaughterhouses in Colorado, rather than cause a new facility to be built. Shutting down the largest lamb slaughterhouse in the country would be a major disruption for a company and industry that are profiting off harm to animals, workers, and our environment. It would add to the mounting pressure that they feel to leave animal farming behind and transition towards a more humane food system.
It is essential to respect our cultures and family histories. And it is equally important we adapt our traditions to be more humane for all. Between the urgency of the climate crisis and the horrendous suffering animals endure, the best way we can respect our ancestors now is by creating a world where we don’t have to hurt each other as much as we historically have. That includes evolving beyond meat.
Hunting, fishing, and farming animals have contained beautiful elements—they are a form of connection with nature, the skill involved is extraordinary, and it’s how we have fed our communities and survived. However, the suffering that animals go through each time is very ugly and urgent for them. We have long recognized that these sensitive beings, like us, have their own life stories and a need to avoid suffering. In a thought piece on intergenerational trauma, Eva Hamer suggests that the past hardship of having to hurt animals may feed into the attachment we still feel towards meat. With empathy for both ourselves and the animals, we can evolve together.
To give an example of the pro-animal transformation we seek, take Gary Paulsen, the celebrated American novelist. His novel Hatchet tells the story of a 13-year-old who has to learn survival skills, including hunting, after crash-landing in the wilderness. In one of his novels’ epilogues and on NPR, Gary explained that he wrote from his own experience hunting as a boy. However, he eventually quit, and he even stopped eating meat. Killing animals no longer felt correct to him.
We invite our fellow Americans, like Gary Paulsen did, to honor the lived experiences of subsistence hunters (and farmers) while also seeing things from the animals’ point of view. In today’s world, we can support a future of abundant harvest, where we refrain from unnecessarily harming animals. A shift to a plant-based food system is now more important than ever, because our large world population requires factory farming, overfishing, or an unsustainable amount of grazing for us to routinely eat animals.
If you have a personal connection to hunting, trapping, or animal farming, and desire a world beyond slaughterhouses and fur, we would love to hear from you. You may also be interested in resources like the Rancher Advocacy Program, started by former cattle ranchers who had a change of heart about animals and now operate Rowdy Girl Sanctuary.
Fur is an extremely cruel and unnecessary industry, killing dozens of animals to make a single coat. At least 80% of fur products come from fur factory farms, where animals like minks, foxes, and chinchillas live their whole lives in small cages, unable to engage in their natural behaviors. Investigations repeatedly find sick animals harming themselves and each other from the stress of confinement. Once grown, they are killed cheaply using methods like suffocation, electrocution, gas, or poison to keep their fur from getting bloody. For more info, check out FurFreeAlliance.com, including their exposés on “WelFur” and other welfare schemes that try to portray factory farms as humane.
A minority of fur comes from trapping, which causes tremendous suffering as well. Victims can remain struggling for days until the trapper returns to beat or choke them. Endangered animals, companion animals, and other unintended victims get trapped by mistake, adding to the needless toll. One type of trap, the steel-jaw leghold, is a common method in the U.S. despite being banned in over 100 other countries and causing some animals to chew their own leg off trying to get free.
With every fashion alternative today, fur is increasingly seen as a luxury item that causes unnecessary suffering. Its production is now banned or restricted in 25 countries. Already in 2020, 71% of Americans were opposed to killing animals for fur, and in 2021, Boulder became the first Coloradan city to ban fur’s sale, joining cities in Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, and all of California. By closing fur sales in Denver next, we can promote humane values and propel this movement to the national level.
Are there places that currently sell or make fur products in Denver, and how would they be affected?
There are at least 5 stores in Denver that sell a significant amount of fur products: Overland Sheepskin, ML Furs and Luxury Ski Wear, A Tsagas Furs and Leathers, Jonval Leathers and Furs, and Dan Sharp Luxury Outerwear. We encourage these businesses to go fur-free and transition to other clothing options. If the proposed ban is signed into law after the 2024 election, these stores would need to phase out their selling of fur by July 1st, 2025. There are plenty of alternative products that can meet demand for winter clothing.
We do not know of any fur manufacturers or fur farms in Denver.
Yes, there is! We included this exemption because reuse should be encouraged. We only oppose the sale of new fur items that fund the continued hurting of animals.
The proposed legislation states, “This prohibition does not extend to:
- A Used Fur Product bought, sold, donated or owned by a person not in the primary business of selling Fur Products, including a Non-Profit Organization, second hand store, or pawn shop; or
- The manufacture for sale of a Fur Product using Fur sourced exclusively from a Used Fur Product.”
What kinds of fur products would no longer be sold? Would this apply to things like wool or leather?
This policy would not apply to wool, leather, sheepskin, cowhides, taxidermy, or any fur product from an animal defined as “Livestock” under the Colorado Revised Statutes. This policy is designed to target fur products from animals used primarily for their fur and who have had more limited domestication than typical farmed animals. It would protect Minks, Chinchillas, Foxes, Rabbits, Raccoon Dogs, Lynxes, Beavers, Coyotes, and others.
The policy would apply to any type of product made from new fur, including clothes, accessories, and furniture. See the full text of the legislation here.
Echoing fur-free laws that have passed in other cities, this initiative focuses on leaving fur behind as an achievable step towards animal-free fashion. Eventually, we want all animals to be protected from being killed or abused for clothing.
We encourage the use of natural, plant-based clothing, clothing made from recycled materials, and secondhand clothes. For many people today, fur of any kind feels unnecessary. But for those craving the look-feel of fur, Eluxe Magazine has highlighted 10 eco-friendly faux fur brands that use materials like hemp, denim, straw, cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and upcycled fabrics. While these products are relatively upscale, clothes made from animal fur are an expensive luxury item to begin with. Sustainable faux furs like these are hands-down the best “fur” option for our environment and for animals!
Conventional faux fur is bad for the environment because, like so much of fast fashion today, it’s made from plastics. These use fossil fuels, don’t biodegrade, and end up polluting our environment as microplastics, harming human and animal health. Yet, real fur is harder on our environment in other ways, and real fur appears to have an even worse overall impact. A 2013 life cycle analysis compared mink fur production with cotton, acrylic, and polyester. It found that the other textiles scored better in 17 out of 18 environmental measures, with the mink fur having a 3x bigger environmental footprint.
Fur farms require a lot of food that must be grown to feed the animals. They dump animal waste into soils and waterways, and later, pollute the air as animals are mass-incinerated. Toxic chemicals are commonly used to preserve fur. The fur industry also threatens biodiversity, because animals who escape from fur farms have become invasive, and because trappers trap many unintended animals including endangered ones.
Faux fur is the clear winner in terms of not directly victimizing animals and reducing impact on our environment. A fur-free future will look even brighter when we reform the fashion industry to make eco-friendly materials and strong workers’ rights the norm. Leaving fur behind is one of many important moves we must make to protect animals, humans, and Earth.
This policy exempts fur products purchased for traditional tribal, cultural, or spiritual purposes by a member of a federally recognized or state-recognized Native American tribe. Tribal members will be free to trade fur products, such as when Indigenous craftspeople sell wares at the annual Denver Powwow.
Indigenous Americans and their communities have been severely targeted in every way by colonialism. We hope this exemption will avoid imposing further restrictions or oppression against them. Native Americans, like the broader population, hold diverse opinions about the use of animals for clothing and food. There are many who want to move away from harming animals while simultaneously protecting tribal sovereignty and culture, such as the authors recently featured in Sentient Media’s Indigenous Voices for Saving Animals and Earth.
We welcome further information, especially if you are Indigenous and have thoughts on the fur or slaughterhouse ban.
Sadly, yes! In 2020 the CDC reported that COVID-19 had infected 11 U.S. mink farms. The issue was even more serious in northern Europe, where Denmark “culled” its entire mink population and killed a staggering 17 million animals. COVID broke out on Dutch mink farms as well and prompted the Netherlands—whose citizens had already voted to ban mink farming by 2024— to close the industry early in 2021 instead.
A report by ProVeg makes the case that intensive animal farming is the “single most risky human behaviour” for pandemics. That’s because 75% of emerging human diseases come from our handling of animals, both wild and domesticated. Musonda Mumba of the UN Environment Programme endorsed the report, saying it “clearly demonstrates the connection between industrial animal production and the increased risk of pandemics. Never before have so many opportunities existed for pathogens to jump from wild and domestic animals to people.”
If you feel disgust about the idea of farming animals only to mass-kill them when disease spreads, listen to that feeling. We should be offended by the amount of suffering involved. Let’s seek to leave fur and slaughterhouses behind, both for our human health and security, and for theirs.
Even a promo video for “WelFur”—an industry project that certifies fur farms—shows the inspector entering a warehouse full of endless small cages. (Let us know if you find any case of wild fur-bearing animals being farmed in any other way than in small cages.) When Open Cages investigated a WelFur-certified fur farm in Bulgaria, their footage painted a very different picture of just how “humane” these places are. Many of the minks there had ghastly untreated wounds. Others were forced to live with dead cagemates.
Another way to see how poorly fur farms treat animals is is to notice what has happened after countries passed fur regulations requiring better conditions. In 2017, a German law required that minks get bigger cages with swimming basins to satisfy their semi-aquatic nature. By 2019, all German mink farms closed.
Similarly, Swedish welfare laws that recognized foxes’ need to dig and socialize (2005) and chinchillas’ need to jump (2014) ended fur farming of these animals in Sweden. They became too costly to raise.
Switzerland provides another example. Fur-Free Alliance reports that the 2008 Swiss law “allowed animals to be kept captive only in conditions that are equivalent to modern zoos. Fur farming under such rules was deemed to be unprofitable and no longer takes place in the country.”
Not included in our country’s Humane Slaughter Act, fur-bearing animals are electrocuted, gassed, or suffocated because bloodstained coats would be harder to sell.