Colorado's livestock could be spending more time on Earth if a proposed ballot measure goes through.

Raising the quality of life for the state's domesticated animals is the goal of the measure known as Protect Animals from Unnecessary Suffering and Exploitation. The initiative has been filed with the Colorado Secretary of State and will go before the title board. The measure would amend the current state statute regarding animal cruelty.

What's In the Initiative?

Simply put, according to, the measure would require livestock to reach 25% of their expected natural life span prior to slaughter. That would be a significant change in regards to cattle.

Currently, cattle are slaughtered at around 24 months, but with a life expectancy of about 20 years, they would have to live another three years before going to market. The implications are substantial for the livestock industry as well as consumers. Just think about the cost of feeding cattle for an additional three years, not to mention vaccinations, water consumption, labor, and transportation. A Colorado State University Livestock Extension agent, Travis Taylor, says consumers could expect to pay an additional $2 per pound for beef. He says Colorado could lose $5 billion in livestock sales.

Damage to Exports

Extending the life of Colorado cattle would impact the state's export markets as well because some countries like Japan, don't accept cattle more than 30  months old. In 2018, Colorado exported $50 million worth of beef to Japan.

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What About Other Animals?

The initiative defines the life expectancy of other animals as well, including eight years for chickens, 10 years for turkeys, 15 years for pigs and sheep, and six years for rabbits. These industries could also be significantly impacted.

It's a Long Way From Passing

In order for the measure to get on the 2022 Colorado ballot, the measure would need more than 124,000 signatures. At that point, it would be up to the voters of Colorado to decide if they want to keep our state's wildlife around a little longer.

From my perspective, it looks like there are a  lot of negative ramifications connected to this proposed ballot initiative. If It does make it onto the Colorado ballot next year we all will need to do some extensive research to determine if it's good for Colorado.


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