On the Heels of SCOTUS Ruling, Pro-Animal Ballot Initiatives Seek to Close Slaughterhouses and Ban Fur Sales in Denver

Photos available for use here.

Following a momentous ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court upholding California’s landmark animal welfare legislation, Proposition 12, a group of animal advocates in Denver, CO, announced two ballot initiatives aimed at banning slaughterhouses and fur. The group Pro-Animal Colorado will begin gathering signatures this weekend.

The group invites Denver to join a growing number of cities and states across the country that have taken steps to protect animals from cruelty. For instance, Proposition 12, which was upheld today by the U.S. Supreme Court, banned the sale of eggs, pork, or veal from animals raised in cages. These initiatives take a further step as part of a larger effort to evolve away from fur and meat societally, leaving slaughterhouses behind for a more compassionate future.

The first initiative would ban slaughterhouses in Denver by 2026 and close Superior Farms, a lamb slaughterhouse in the Globeville neighborhood that slaughters 500,000 animals per year. (The sale of meat in the city would not be affected.) Campaigners say they are driven by the impacts that slaughterhouses have on people in addition to animals. “We know that slaughterhouses subject workers to unsafe working conditions and mental health risks, and they increase crime and pollution in surrounding communities,” said Brent Johannes, a spokesperson for Pro-Animal Colorado. “It is time for our society to begin the transition away from factory farms and slaughterhouses, toward a more humane food system.”

The second initiative would ban the sale of fur in Denver by June 2025. It aims to protect animals used for clothing, such as mink, foxes, and coyotes. The initiative would follow recent successful fur bans in the neighboring city of Boulder, the State of California, and elsewhere. “Animals in fur factory farms are denied their natural behavior, often having to live their whole lives in cages,” said Johannes. “Between the pain of slaughter and the overuse of antibiotics in animal farming, we have more than enough reason to leave meat and fur behind and move toward a future based on compassion. It’s not going to happen overnight and it’s going to take hard work. But it’s the right thing for us to do for our own humanity and for those we share this planet with.”

Animal-free products have risen in popularity in recent years, as the public grows more concerned about a range of related issues including climate and health, and especially animal welfare. “If you have an emotional reaction to seeing footage of animals suffering inside slaughterhouses, that’s a good sign that you’re a human being,” said Aidan Kankyoku, an organizer for Pro-Animal Colorado. “Feeling anguish about what these animals go through, that’s useful information. We should listen to that. These initiatives are on the right side of history and are a great place to start.”

The volunteer-run group will collect signatures over the coming months to qualify the initiatives for the ballot. In order to qualify, each initiative will need a minimum of 8,940 valid signatures in 180 days. “We’re confident that we can gather the necessary signatures to get these initiatives on the ballot,” said Johannes. “We know that the people of Denver care about animals and we believe that these initiatives will be widely supported.”

Photos available for use are here, courtesy of Pro-Animal Future.

Denverites sign petitions for two pro-animal city ballot measures. (Photo credit: Pro-Animal Future)