Tuesday, February 7, 2012

IFBF Annual Legislative Leadership Conference

Idaho Cattle Association talks Animal Welfare Legislation

Boise--Wyatt Prescott of the Idaho Cattle Association addressed the Idaho Farm Bureau Legislative Leadership Conference concerning ICA’s effort to add a felony provision to the state's animal welfare law during the 2012 legislative session.

After consulting with other producer groups in Idaho, ICA members passed a resolution last Nov. 15th during their annual meeting in Sun Valley.

The ICA thinks that adding the felony provision to Idaho statute would eliminate the need for the ballot initiative and make the state less of a target for the Humane Society of the United States.

Farm Bureau members grilled Prescott asking about normal livestock practices like branding, removing horning and castration are exempt from the state's animal cruelty provisions, but ICA officials are concerned that if the HSUS gets involved in the ballot initiative, it would be much more severe and could seek to redefine animal welfare.

Prescott told Farm Bureau members that there are no guarantees, "we believe (the legislation) will take a significant amount of attention away from out state."

That’s because Idaho is just one of only three states that doesn't have a felony provision for animal cruelty, Idaho is ranked 50th of 51 states and the District of Columbia on the HSUS hit list of those most friendly toward animal rights.

The Idaho Farm Bureau did not take a stand on the issue during their annual meeting in December opting to see the language of the legislation before making a stand.

The resolution was printed this week with a hearing scheduled next week, according Prescott.

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