Guest Post: Animal Cruelty Legislation Has Been In The Works For Years


A Dec. 10 post on regarding proposed legislation dealing with inhumane treatment of animals may have inadvertently left some listeners confused.

The proposed legislation to enhance and clarify North Dakota’s animal treatment laws was developed over several years by North Dakotans for Responsible Animal Care (NDRAC), a group of individuals and organizations that have the responsibility of caring for animals in North Dakota.

Members include the Central Dakota Humane Society, Dakota Zoo, Humane Society of Fargo-Moorhead, North Dakota Farm Bureau, North Dakota Farmers Union, North Dakota Stockmen’s Association, North Dakota Veterinary Medical Association, North Dakota Department of Agriculture, and North Dakota State Board of Animal Health.

The legislation is comprehensive, addressing all animals and all types of mistreatment – from the most common to the most unusual and provides an array of penalties to match the severity of the crime.

As legislation, it will be debated with opportunity for the public to be heard through testimony and contact with their legislators. Moreover, it will be fully open to amendment in the future unlike language in a successful ballot measure that requires a two-thirds majority.

And unlike Measure 5, which was defeated in the November election, the proposed legislation was developed without the participation of out-of-state interests, most notably the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), an organization with a distinct, anti-animal agriculture agenda. NDRAC members felt that a victory for the initiated measure would embolden HSUS to introduce anti-agriculture measures in North Dakota, as it has done in other states.

The proposed legislation has already drawn the support and sponsorship of a bipartisan group of legislators who represent both rural and urban districts.

The legislative solution devised by North Dakotans who care for animals every day takes into account all aspects of animal care and use in North Dakota. It is the right way to improve animal welfare in our state without threatening our agricultural and hunting heritage. We urge all North Dakotans, regardless of how they voted on Measure 5, to contact their local legislators and urge them to pass the legislation proposed by NDRAC.

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