Slaughterhouse Ballot Initiative Denver — Official Legislation Text

Ballot Title:

Shall the voters of the City and County of Denver adopt an ordinance prohibiting slaughterhouses, and, in connection, beginning January 1, 2026, prohibiting the construction, maintenance, or use of slaughterhouses within the City; and requiring the City to prioritize residents whose employment is affected by the ordinance in workforce training or employment assistance programs? 

Proposed Ordinance:

Be it enacted by the City and County of Denver, 

Chapter 24 of the D.R.M.C. is amended by the addition of Article XV as follows:


Sec. 24-703. – Legislative Intent

  1. The People of the City and County of Denver find that:
    1. Slaughterhouses are nuisances upon the neighborhoods in which they operate, due to the foul odors which they produce, their unsightly industrial facades, and the disagreeable nature of their operations;
    2. Employment in slaughterhouses is associated with exceptionally high rates of workplace injury, including dismemberment and exposure to toxicity, as well as mental illness and addiction due to the unique psychological harms experienced by slaughterhouse workers;
    3. Emissions from industrial animal agricultural operations are a significant cause of climate change, with livestock contributing 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization;
    4. Actions are required at every level of government in order to address the climate crisis, and policies that promote the transition to a more sustainable, plant-based food system, are recommended as a strategy to address climate change by the UN Environment Programme, a transition on which Denver can be a leader; and
    5. Eliminating slaughterhouses in Denver will promote community awareness of animal welfare, bolster the City’s stance against animal cruelty, and, in turn, foster a more humane environment in Denver.

Sec. 24-704. – Definitions

When used in this article:

  1. “Slaughterhouse” means any building, facility, or establishment where livestock animals, as defined by C.R.S. §§ 18-9-201(2.9), are killed for the production of food and intended for sale to consumers, or livestock animals are killed for food for a fee or other compensation of an animal not owned by the person performing the killing and not intended for sale by the owner of the animal.

Sec. 24-705. – Unlawful to operate a slaughterhouse

  1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code to the contrary, beginning January 1, 2026, it shall be unlawful for any person to construct, maintain or use, or cause or permit to be constructed, maintained or used, a slaughterhouse within the City and County of Denver.

Sec. 24-706. – Assistance for former slaughterhouse employees

  1. The City shall prioritize any resident whose employment is affected by this article in any workforce training or employment assistance programs operated by the City, including those provisioned by the Climate Protection Fund.