Interview: Humane Society Of The United States Looking For Legislature To Pass Animal Cruelty Reforms


On the general election ballot this year voters shot down Measure 5 by a roughly 2 – 1 margin. That ballot measure, if passed, would have expanded the state’s animal cruelty laws.

Now the backers of the measure, the Humane Society of the United States, are asking the legislature to do what the voters wouldn’t. I interviewed Karen Thunshelle, the North Dakota state director of the group, about what she’s looking for from the legislature.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

Related posts

  • Tom

    Same message we heard along. They want the law simply because they want it.No data to back them up. Other states have law so ND should have or also. I still don’t trust them no matter what they say.

    • Rob

      That’s the part I have trouble with. I’m not for cruelty to animals, but I don’t think they’ve demonstrated how the state’s existing laws are insufficient.

      What I worry about is that the goal here is to elevate animal cruelty to a crime as serious as harming a human, at which point they can start peeling back exceptions for ag/hunting activities.

      • Tom

        Until they change their mission to end animal agriculture and support only vegetarianism they can’t be trusted. Definition creep is certainly part of their agenda.

    • ObservingTheProcess

      I for one will be very diligent in reminding my local legislatures and other legislatures that I know that the people of ND soundly said no and it is the legislature’s responsibility to represent the people.

  • Lianne

    What I gathered from that interview is that ‘no’ from the people does not mean ‘no’. That we need this legislation because we want all animals protected and their measure didn’t do that. There is no evidence that cruelty exists, but it is there because every one working with animals has seen it. But,it hasn’t been documented. If they had seen so many cases, they would have started documenting so there would be visable proof. She said nothing that proves that there is a problem. Show me the statistics. show me the pictures of all the acts of cruelty. OH, that’s right. all the ‘evidence’ was destroyed before it could ever be documented. They have a lot of work gathering evidence before they waste our legislators time over this.

    No means yes? I thought we have had it drilled into our heads that no means no. She brought up domestic violence. What has that got to do with animals?

    I hope this bill is never even brought to committee, much less the floor.

    • Rob

      I think you’re right. This issue is a tough sell after the voters rejected it.

  • badlands4

    I have zero trust in anything that comes out of this group. This isn’t my local shelter or my local vet proposing this. I am glad that voters were able to differentiate local animal advocates from the Humane Society of America.

    • Rob

      You’re right. This group is only slightly less obnoxious than PETA

  • Captornado

    This lady comes off as looney as an elevator in an outhouse.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    At least through the legislature, someone is accountable. This is the approach they should have taken all along. As a ballot measure, if it works out badly, nobody is accountable for it.

    I don’t see the legislature in this state passing it, especially now that it failed on the ballot. I was more worried about it on the ballot, but the people of North Dakota showed sense.

    • Rob

      I’m still convinced that this is a solution in search of a problem.

      • Waski_the_Squirrel

        I totally agree with you, but at least this is the right approach to making it law.

        • Rob

          I agree.

          I’m beginning to sour on the initiated measure process.